Is the Legal BAC Limit an Actual Limit at all?

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Almost everyone is aware of the “legal Limit” for drinking and driving of 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). This limit refers to one of the following:

  • 0.08 grams of ethyl alcohol for every 210 liters of breath; and
  • 0.08 grams of ethyl alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood.

Every state in the U.S. Including Colorado has passed a law stating that 0.08 is the legal limit for DUI. Such laws often lead people to believe that they will not be arrested or charged with DUI if a breath or blood test shows their BAC is under 0.08. This, unfortunately, is far from the case and many people find themselves behind bars and facing criminal charges when their BAC was below the legal limit.

DWAI in Colorado

While most people with a BAC of over 0.08 percent may face charges of driving under the influence (DUI), individuals in Colorado may also face criminal charges if their BAC is over 0.05. For BAC levels between 0.05 and 0.08, Colorado law allows a prosecutor to charge an individual with the offense of driving while ability impaired (DWAI). While the potential penalties for DWAI are less severe than for DUI cases, the consequences may still include fines, probation, license suspension, and jail time. A DWAI may also serve as a prior offense if you face additional alcohol-related charges in the future, which can trigger much stricter sentences. For these reasons, DWAI charges should always be taken just as seriously as DUI or any other criminal charge.

Appearance of Impairment

At 0.05 BAC, you are presumed under the law to be impaired, while at 0.08 BAC, you are presumed to be under the influence. This does not mean, however, that you may never be arrested or charged with a BAC under 0.05. Even if your BAC is lower, an officer may place you under arrest if he or she has probable cause to believe you are impaired to the point at which your driving ability is affected. In such cases, a prosecutor will not rely on evidence of BAC to prove that you were impaired, but while instead rely on testimony from the arresting officer. Such testimony often includes noticing bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, the odor of alcohol, erratic behavior, poor performance on field sobriety tests, and more. In such cases, there are numerous ways a quality defense attorney can challenge the officer’s testimony to fight the charges.

Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Denver for Help Today

The most important thing in a DUI case is to have representation by a DUI defense attorney who understands the relevant laws in Colorado. Whether your BAC was below or above the legal limit, an attorney at the Tiftickjian Law Firm in Denver will know which defenses are available in your case and how to fight your charges and limit the penalties you face. If you have been arrested for DUI, call our office as soon as possible to discuss how we can help in your case.

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