Can I Get a DUI at 0.07 BAC?
Just because your blood alcohol level was below 0.08 doesn't mean you're off the hook.
Yes. There are several situations where you could be found guilty of a DUI, even though your blood alcohol level was below the legal limit. Whenever you are looking at a borderline alcohol level (such as a .07 or .08), it is very important to have the help of an experienced DUI attorney on your side to avoid a DUI conviction.
Driving While Impaired
One situation where you could be charged with a DUI with a blood alcohol level at 0.07 is where the prosecutor (District Attorney or City Attorney) goes after you for driving while 'impaired', regardless of a chemical test result. The prosecutor usually tries to prove this kind of case using the driving pattern (how you were driving, swerving, accident, etc.), field sobriety tests (walk the line, stand on one foot, etc.), your statements (“I had two beers”) and the cops’ observations (red watery eyes, slurred speech, odor of alcohol, etc.). Although more difficult for the prosecutor to prove, a straight driving under the influence case with a chemical test result below the legal limit is a real possibility. Fortunately, there are a lot of good defenses to a 0.07 or below charge.
Another situation where you could get a DUI, even though you were below the legal blood alcohol limit, is where drugs are involved. This could be a combination of drugs and alcohol, or just drugs. When we are talking about drugs, for DUI purposes it does not matter if they are legal or illegal drugs. If you are under the influence of anything that prevents you from driving in the same or similar fashion as a sober person, you could be convicted of a DUI.
If the cops suspect drug use, they will usually require a blood test. A blood test can be checked for the specific presence of alcohol and drugs. However, when it comes to drugs it is more difficult to quantify or get a specific number that shows impairment. Accordingly, the prosecutors need the help of expert witnesses to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were indeed impaired by drugs, or by a combination of drugs and alcohol.
Many people drink and use prescription drugs or medication (or sometimes illegal drugs) every day without negative side effects. These people can drive the same as or similar to a sober person, and they should not be convicted of a DUI. Cops often make mistakes and arrest innocent people because they are being overly enthusiastic in their enforcement role, and they cannot really tell if a person is impaired.
DUI Arrest Does Not Mean Guilt
Being arrested for a DUI does not mean you are guilty of a DUI. Cops and prosecutors are zealous in their role of catching and prosecuting people suspected of driving under the influence. Cops and prosecutors get extra pay, awards, recognition, and sometimes celebrity for their efforts… regardless of the guilt or innocence of the defendant involved. You can get a DUI at 0.07; but you should not. The best way to avoid a DUI is to fight the government with the help of a skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney who knows the law, science and facts of your case.
To learn more, see DUI and the Effect of Alcohol.