You know that it’s illegal to drive if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. However, did you know that your ability to safely drive can be altered when you’re well below that level? It’s possible for adults to get a DUI even if they’re below the legal BAC if their ability to drive is impaired. Further, if you’re under 21, you can receive a DUI if any amount of alcohol is found in your system under zero tolerance laws.
Of course, you’re likely not going to get pulled over unless you’ve been driving erratically or committed some other traffic violation. That’s why it’s essential to know how you can be impacted by alcohol, even if your BAC is under .08 percent.
For example, at just .02 percent BAC, which you need about two drinks to attain, your judgment and mood may be impacted. You may also experience a decline in visual acuity and the ability to multi-task.
At .05 percent BAC, which takes about three drinks to get to, you may have trouble focusing as well as tracking moving objects. Your alertness may be compromised. You could have reduced coordination, which could impact your ability to steer or hit the brakes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers a “drink” to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or a shot (1.5 ounces) of hard liquor like whiskey, vodka or gin. Of course, how quickly people reach a particular BAC will depend on a number of factors, including their size and weight. The information above is based on the potential impact on a 160-pound man.
Naturally, if you are also taking any sort of medication (whether prescription, nonprescription, legal or illegal), your ability to drive after even one or two drinks could become substantially impaired.
Regardless of the situation, if you have been arrested for suspicion of DUI, you shouldn’t try to fight the charges on your own. An experienced Maryland DUI attorney can provide essential guidance.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “What are the effects of blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?,” accessed April 10, 2018