Can You Still Get Cited for a BAC Under .08 While Driving?

Can You Still Get Cited for a BAC Under .08 While Driving?

January 7, 2019

There are plenty of people who go out, enjoy a meal with a drink or two and then intend to drive right home afterward. Most people do not worry about getting pulled over for a traffic stop after they’ve had just one or two drinks. After all, for most people that’s not going to be nearly enough to put you over the legal BAC limit of .08.

However, you may not realize that you can in fact still be arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas even if you’re actually under the legal limit at the time of the arrest.

Here’s what an experienced criminal lawyer in Lubbock, TX believes you should know about this situation.

Consequences for DWI arrests under .08

Technically, in the eyes of the law, there is no BAC under which it is guaranteed to be completely safe to drive. Therefore, if a police officer stops you and believes you have been impaired either physically or mentally, you can be charged and convicted of driving while intoxicated in accordance with Texas law even if your BAC measures below the .08 threshold.

That note about impairment is important—you cannot be convicted of a DWI when your BAC measures below .08 if your physical or mental faculties have not been impaired in any way.

It really comes down to a judgment call on the part of the officer who makes the stop. As such, you could potentially be arrested even if you are below the .08 mark, and then potentially still not be convicted. Police must provide evidence proving your faculties were impaired. Evidence could include erratic driving, suspicious behavior or poor performance in field sobriety tests.

If you are charged and convicted for driving with a BAC under the legal limit, you can still potentially lose your license for up to a year if convicted as a first-time offender. If it’s a second or third offense, you can lose your driver’s license for up to two years. Other potential penalties include jail time, community service, fines of up to $10,000 and some additional license surcharges each year for three years after your conviction.

Your options

So what options do you have?

The simplest choice is to not get behind the wheel at all if you’re going to be drinking—even if you’re just having one or two drinks. Have a designated driver, get a taxi, use public transportation or use a ride-sharing app. That will completely eliminate the possibility of you being pulled over on suspicion of DWI.

Otherwise, exercising control is always a good idea. Limit yourself to a single drink, and make sure it’s a drink without an extremely high alcohol content.

If you believe you have been unfairly targeted for DWI or that there is insufficient evidence to prove you were intoxicated or impaired at the time you were pulled over, you can choose to fight the charges. For more information about how best to proceed with your case, contact a criminal lawyer in Lubbock, TX at the Law Office of Rob Biggers today.

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