How the Law Determines What Is too Drunk To Drive

If you are like most people, you understand that DUI laws are very strict, but you do not really understand just how drunk or high you have to be to be arrested. How do the police determine how drunk is too drunk? These are common questions with relatively simple answers and it is very important to understand the law so you can always avoid being accused of a DUI.

The Legal Limit

The law uses something called blood alcohol content to determine how drunk someone is. The law states that no one is allowed to drive with a blood alcohol content level above 0.08. If you take a breathalyzer, blood, or urine sobriety test, your exact blood alcohol content level will be determined, so it is simple to know whether someone has a level above the legal limit of 0.08.

At this point, you may be wondering about non-alcohol substances that still alter the mind. Isn’t it illegal to drive while high? You are absolutely correct that it is illegal to drive while on any mind-altering substance, and you can easily receive a DUI for doing so. Usually, these kinds of charges are categorized as a DWI instead, however. There is a second law that relates to these kinds of charges.

The Laws

There are actually two DUI laws, and you should know both of them:

  • It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content level at or above 0.08
  • It is illegal to drive while too impaired to drive safely

It is this second law that catches all the unusual cases, such as driving while high. This second law also catches cases where someone is too drunk to drive safely, but technically does not have a blood alcohol content level exceeding 0.08.

The second law is subjective in nature. This may seem unfair at first, but this is actually a deliberate choice. It allows the law to have the flexibility needed to make loopholes impossible. The only thing that matters is safety. It is the arresting police officer that has to decide whether someone can or cannot drive safely in their current state.It is also quite common for both laws to be used to charge someone. If someone does have a blood alcohol content level above 0.08, the second law will almost certainly create a second charge in order to increase the chances of conviction. An attorney who specializes in DUI, like a DUI lawyer in San Francisco, CA from the Morales Law Firm, law can tell you more and answer your questions.

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