The People’s Lawyer

What does the legal blood alcohol concentration limit really mean? 

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2021 | Drunk Driving Charges

Almost every conversation about drunk driving in a driver’s ed course is going to mention the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. For non-commercial drivers who are 21 years of age or older, it’s almost always a BAC of 0.08%. 

The way people sometimes take the limit is like this: Hitting 0.08% — or going over it, of course — is going to give you a DUI. The law says you can’t break that limit. If you’re under it, though, then you haven’t broken the law. You’re not going to get a DUI. 

But is this actually how it works? There are some things to know. 

Understanding the intricacies of the legal limit

First off, you can definitely get a DUI even when you’re under the limit. If you’re impaired and the police can show it in other ways — like failed field sobriety tests or evidence that you caused a car crash — they can still charge you at a lower BAC level. West Virginia specifically notes that you could be charged at 0.05%, for instance. 

Plus, as noted above, the limit isn’t the same for everyone. If you’re under 21 years of age, you are then subjected to the state’s zero-tolerance law. Anything more than 0.01% can lead to a DUI. When a minor has been drinking, which is already illegal on its own, it’s far easier for them to get a DUI. You could hit 0.02% without even having an entire drink. 

Are you facing DUI charges?

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you’re worried about the future. The ramifications are serious. You need to know what legal defense options you have.