B.A.C. – What does your level mean?

B.A.C. – What does your level mean?

Anyone who has had the misfortune of being charged with Driving under the Influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania or New Jersey has learned quickly that your Blood Alcohol Content (B.A.C.) plays a big role in the outcome of your case.  Your Blood Alcohol Content is used to define intoxication and provides a rough measure for the court of your degree of impairment.  Although the exact degree of impairment may vary among individuals with the same blood alcohol content; it can be measured objectively and is therefore legally admissible in a court of law.

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey the legal limit for blood alcohol content is  0.08.  If you are stopped driving with a B.A.C. higher than 0.08 it is almost a guarantee that you will be charged with drunk driving.   But what happens if your Blood alcohol content comes back under 0.08? Are you automatically safe from being charged with drunk driving?  The answer is no, having a B.A.C. under 0.08 will not automatically save you from a DUI charge.

If you are underage there is a zero tolerance policy with alcohol and any level of alcohol in your system will land you a charge for driving under the influence.  And for those individuals of drinking age you also may still find yourself with a charge for DUI even if your blood comes back under the legal limit based on the officer’s observations of you.

The DUI law of Pennsylvania and New Jersey allows a police officer to charge an individual with drunk driving based on “General Impairment” determined by the officer’s observations.  With many DUI stops Police Officers’ are building their case before the stop even occurs.  The Officer will note in his report that he observed erratic driving and then upon stopping the car made physical observations of the operator of the vehicle which may include glassy blood shot eyes and slurred speech.  The officer will then further explore his observations through the implementation of “Field Sobriety Tests.”  If after conducting these tests, the officer feels in his opinion, based on his experience and training that you are unable to safely operate a motor vehicle on the highways of Pennsylvania or New Jersey he is able to charge you with driving under the influence even though your B.A.C.  is under the legal limit.

If you or your loved one finds himself in this situation it is important that you hire a DUI defense attorney that has the experience in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to challenge the officer’s opinion and advocate on your behalf.  At the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss, Jr., P.L.L.C., located in Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, we have been defending individuals charged with DUI for the past 30 years; Contact us today for a free consultation!


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