When a new client meets with one of our DUI lawyers in Ashville, they assume that we can get their DUI charges dismissed simply because their blood alcohol concentration was below the legal limit. What many of our clients don’t understand is the legal limit is different for some drivers.
What Does a Person’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Tell the Police?
When people refer to their BAC, they are referring to their blood alcohol concentration. Your blood alcohol concentration tells the officers and the court what percentage of your blood contains alcohol at the time of testing.
For the most part, the DUI laws in North Carolina are based on a person’s BAC. However, the legal limit is different depending on two things. First, if you are a commercial driver, the legal limit is much lower.
If you happen to be an underage driver, anything above 0.0 can result in your arrest and conviction for DUI.
You must also recognize that you can still be charged and convicted of DUI even if you are below the legal limit. If you come across as impaired to the point where the officers do not think you can safely operate a vehicle, you can be arrested as well.
BAC Tells the Cops the Percent of Alcohol in the Driver’s Blood
When the police pull you over on suspicion of drunk driving, they almost always ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. This test is what will tell the officers what your BAC is at the current time.
Depending on how long it’s been since you had your last alcoholic beverage, this number can go up or down by the time you reach the police station. If your first test reveals a BAC of .07 or .09, you will likely be retested.
Your Asheville DUI Attorney Knows the BAC Doesn’t Prove How Much You Drank
One thing that DUI lawyers in Asheville know is that your BAC does not tell the whole story. Sometimes the portable breathalyzer test the officers administer is not even accurate. This gives your Asheville DUI attorney the opportunity to challenge the officer’s findings.
Your DUI lawyer Ashville also knows that you can be convicted of DUI regardless of your blood alcohol concentration. If the police believe that you are impaired due to alcohol or drugs, they will arrest you and charge you with a DUI.
Most People Assume That a BAC of 0.08 is the Legal Limit for Everybody
When our Asheville DUI attorneys meet with a client for the first time, the client may complain that the breathalyzer test was not accurate. They insist that they only had one or two drinks and were not intoxicated.
When we explain to our client that the legal limit is different depending on the type of license you hold, they seem surprised. For example, if you are under the legal drinking age, a blood alcohol concentration of .01 is all it will take for you to be arrested for DUI.
A BAC of 0.08 is Considered the Legal Limit for Most Drivers
Most people assume that 0.08 is the legal limit across the board because it is the legal limit for most drivers. However, in North Carolina, as in most other states, the legal limit is different for commercial drivers and underage drivers. This is something we will discuss in detail below.
A BAC of 0.04 is the Legal Limit for Commercial Drivers
If you hold your commercial driver’s license (CDL), the legal limit is much lower at just 0.04. This means, theoretically, that commercial drivers can only drink half the number of alcoholic beverages as another driver.
What your DUI lawyer in Asheville will explain is that the legal limit does not always depend on the number of drinks you had. People who drink more often than others tend to have a much higher tolerance for alcohol. The same is true for men and people whose BMI is greater than average.
Does This Lower BAC Apply if the Commercial Driver is in Their Personal Vehicle?
One question many of our clients ask is whether the reduced legal limit of .04 applies to commercial drivers who are in their personal vehicles. This tends to be a confusing issue even for experienced DUI lawyers in Asheville.
If you are in your personal vehicle, you will be held to the legal limit of 08. This is because the increased scrutiny for commercial drivers only applies when they are in a commercial vehicle.
The best way to explain it is that the legal limit follows the vehicle and not the driver.
Our DUI Lawyers in Asheville May Be Able to Help Commercial Drivers Keep Their CDL
If you are a commercial driver and are charged with DUI, your livelihood will be In jeopardy. If anyone with their CDL is convicted of drunk driving for the first time, their commercial driving license will be suspended for a period of one year.
If you happen to get convicted of DUI a second time, your commercial driving license will be permanently revoked. This means that you will not be able to drive as a commercial driver at any point in the future.
For People Under the Age of 21, a BAC Over Zero Will Result in a Conviction for DUI
When parents come to our office along with their teenage son or daughter, they don’t seem to understand how the DUI laws work in North Carolina. They naturally assume that, because their child’s blood alcohol concentration was below the legal limit of 08, the charges must be dropped.
Unfortunately, if you are underage and you are caught drinking and driving, you will be charged just like any other driver. The two major differences are as follows:
- The legal limit for underage drivers is .00, not .08. This means that if your teenage child, or 20-year-old child, has a single drink, they can be convicted of DUI.
- The penalties for DUI for anybody under the legal drinking age in North Carolina are very serious. Not only will they face penalties and fines, but their driver’s license will also be revoked or suspended until they turn 21.
Your Asheville DUI attorney will do their best to negotiate a favorable plea with the prosecutor’s office. As long as your child has a clean driving record and no criminal history, this may be a possibility.
An Experienced DUI Lawyer in Asheville Provides You with the Best Chance of a Favorable Outcome
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Asheville, you’ll be facing serious penalties. While there is no law stating that you must hire a DUI lawyer in Asheville to handle your case, it may be in your best interest to do so.
Whether you are a commercial driver or not, there is a lot at stake if you’ve been charged with drunk driving. In fact, if you do hold your CDL, you could lose it once and for all if you’re convicted of DUI.