Thanks to a lot of PSAs (public service announcements), television shows, and other assorted media, it has been drilled into the public consciousness that if you're caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or over, you will be arrested for a DUI. Unfortunately, many people take this to mean they won't get in trouble if their BACs are lower than the legal limit, but this is not true. Here are two ways you can still be convicted of driving under the influence even with a low BAC.
Essentially every state in the union has zero-tolerance laws where the offender will be arrested and charged with a DUI regardless of the BAC levels. In all cases, though, these laws only apply to underage drinkers. So if you're under the age of 21 (even by one day) and drive under the influence, you'll face legal consequences if a cop pulls you over and you test positive for any alcohol consumption.
It should be noted that some states actually set the zero-tolerance limit at .02 BAC, because putting it at zero doesn't really make any sense. However, this is just a formality since a 240-pound person of either gender can hit that limit with just one drink, and the less you weigh, the higher you BAC will be when tested.
You should also know the penalties for underage drinking is often more severe than those for legal drinkers who drive. Therefore, it's even more important that you get an attorney as soon as you can after you're arrested.
You Have a CDL License
Another way you can be charged with DUI while under the legal limit is if you have a CDL license. For those licensed to drive commercial vehicles, such as busses and private motor coaches, the maximum BAC level is .04. Additionally, you may be charged with a DUI regardless of the results of a breathalyzer or blood test if you're caught driving under the influence in a commercial vehicle, especially if there are passengers.
This is another situation where the consequences of a DUI may be more severe for those with CDLs than those without. CDL drivers may have their licenses suspended for longer periods of time and may be stripped of that license for multiple or severe offenses (e.g. you killed someone while driving drunk). Since commercial driving jobs require employees to have valid CDLs, you may end up losing your employment as a result.
There are other situations where you can still suffer the consequences of a DUI even with a lower BAC level. Contact a law firm, such as Thomas & Associates, PC, for more information about this issue and help with your DUI case.