It is important for every driver to know the laws surrounding driving and to understand what his or her rights are. One of the areas where this is especially important is the DUI. Many people do not fully understand how drunk someone has to be to receive a DUI. This issue is compounded by the fact that the laws vary slightly from one state to the next. For the most part, however, the answer is the same across the entire country. This guide will answer this question.
The Legal Limit
You may be surprised to learn that there are actually two legal limits you need to be aware of. This is the reason why those accused of a DUI usually face two separate charges. To be more likely to successfully convict, the courts charge the accused with exceeding both of the limits. These two limits are:
- Having a blood alcohol content too high
- Being too impaired to drive safely
The first limit is the one most people are familiar with. For adults, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content above 0.08%. For minors, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content above 0.00%. However, it is the second limit that most people are unaware of.
The law simply states that you cannot be drunk to a point where you cannot drive safely. Surprisingly, what counts as “unsafe” is an inherently subjective matter. It is up to the officer who pulled you over to decide whether you are capable of driving safely in your current mental state. Even if your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit, you can still receive a DUI. This is because alcohol affects everyone differently. Some people become too impaired to drive safely even with a blood alcohol content of 0.05%. It is also important to note that non-alcohol substances can also impair your ability to drive and can result in a DUI.
The Sobriety Test
The subjective nature of the law is the reason you should never take a sobriety test. It is up to the officer to interpret the results of the test, which may result in a conviction. A sobriety test cannot prove your innocence, but it can prove your guilt. You are only required to take a sobriety test if you are under the legal drinking age, on probation for a DUI, or under arrest. If you think you were wrongfully accused of driving drunk, speak to an attorney immediately.