The “legal limit” for a driver who has been drinking is .08%. At that blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the court assumes that the person was drunk enough for their driving to be impaired.
That’s all true, but it’s given rise to a certain myth, which is that you cannot get a DUI as long as you do not blow a .08%. People who have been drinking may think they can avoid legal charges — and may think that they have actually not broken the law — if they blow a .07%.
It’s important to break this myth. Impaired driving is illegal. If you are impaired at .07%, you can potentially still get a DUI. Do not assume that your BAC protects you in some sense just because you didn’t meet the legal limit.
The key just lies in proving impairment. At or after .08%, the officer who arrests you has nothing more to prove. The court assumes anyone with that high of a BAC is impaired. Your only option is to fight the charges on other grounds, such as a faulty test.
Below .08%, then the officer has to prove, using other means, that you still felt impaired while driving. They can do this in various ways, such as giving you field sobriety tests and using the failure of these tests as proof that you should not have gotten behind the wheel in your condition.
Misconceptions about the law can be very problematic if you get arrested. Make sure you are well aware of what rights you have and what defense tactics you can use.