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One too Many: What Happens When You Are Caught Driving Over the Legal Limit

Since the legal limit of blood alcohol content when driving was reduced to .08 percent, it is not difficult to exceed such a slim margin if you are not careful. While there is no definitive answer to how many drinks are too many, it is wise to understand what happens if you find you have been caught driving over the legal limit.

Alcohol Consumption and the Many Variables

There are factors that can affect a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) such as:

  • The driver’s weight and sex
  • The level of alcohol consumed in the drinks and the size of the drinks
  • Food and/or water intake
  • The weather and the time of day
  • Medical conditions and if any medications are on board

There are even charts that have been produced that attempt to provide an estimate for a driver’s BAC based upon some of these criteria.

The Initial Encounter

Regardless of the charts or counting drinks or trying to determine sobriety based on how one feels, none of these conditions or considerations will help when stopped by law enforcement for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Under the Implied Consent Law, the mere act of driving a car is sufficient for officers to accept that the driver has consented to take a chemical test for the purpose of determining BAC.

You may be asked to perform sobriety tests at the roadside, including a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). The PBT is the first calculable step to determining whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol. Refusal to take this test in the field could result in being charged with a civil infraction plus fines and court costs. In addition to the PBT, the driver must take an evidentiary chemical test of either the blood, breath, or urine.

Challenging the Chemical Test Results

Most people presume their own guilt based upon what the test results produce. A driver may not feel they have had too much to drink, but the test seems to say otherwise. However, it has been proven time and again that these tests are not always accurate.

There are protocols to follow when science is involved. Professionals such as Mark Caldwell Attorney at Law can attest to the fact that if officers have not followed the protocols such as proper machine calibration or proper handling of the samples, the inaccuracies occurring, as a result, may be challenged in court. It is important to seek legal help to ensure that any errors are properly identified so that your case is handled fairly. Consider speaking with an expert who has handled cases like yours.


As drunk driving offenses have become more serious, so has the response to the charges. Going it alone without the help of a lawyer is ill-advised. A first offense, meaning no prior convictions within the last seven years results in a fine and restrictions on the driver’s license. There could even be jail time or the imposition of community service.

Further, there is the risk of a vehicle loss due to immobilization for a period of time or complete forfeiture for more serious convictions. Enhanced penalties may be imposed if the offense involves a passenger under the age of 16. Being convicted of driving while intoxicated means license suspension. Drivers need to be aware that after 30 days of such a suspension, there is the opportunity to apply for a restricted license for limited use along with an ignition interlock device.

For these reasons and for the potential for heavier penalties when the BAC is excessive, it only makes sense to have someone in your corner fighting for you. There is the whorl of fear, regret, and embarrassment already that is enough to keep someone off their game.

Attending to the details in the timeliest fashion is what is called for after an arrest for DUI. Legal consultations are typically free and certainly confidential. A word to the wise in what to expect when caught over the legal limit is to be prepared to consult with a qualified attorney.

Ana Hoffman
Anna Hoffman is a part-time blogger who writes on Business, Technology, Digital Marketing, Real Estate, Lifestyle, and Educational topics.
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