Arrested for a DUI Blowing Under the Limit
The police can arrest you and charge you with a DUI even if you tested below the legal limit. This is known as a DUI “Less Safe.” In a regular DUI, evidence of the driver's blood-alcohol level can be used to show that the driver is per se in violation of Georgia's DUI laws. For most drivers, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.8% or greater is over the legal limit. For commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04%. For drivers under the age of 21, Georgia has a zero tolerance policy towards underage drinking, and any BAC over 0.02% is unlawful.
During a traffic stop, if the police or State Patrol officer suspects alcohol or drug impairment, they will try and gather additional information that can be used to justify arresting the driver on suspicion of driving under the influence. This usually involves observing the car on the road; recording what the driver said and did; evidence of impairment like slurred speech or the smell of alcohol; field sobriety tests; and a field breathalyzer test. Taken together, the police and prosecutors can charge you with a DUI regardless of any chemical testing.
Breathalyzer Test Under 0.08 BAC
A blood alcohol level of 0.08% can be used as evidence against you in court, but it is not necessary to charge you with a DUI. The 0.08 limit is a legal construct that is treated like a line in the sand for the police to say that you are intoxicated. However, impairment really varies on a case by case basis. Some people can be at 0.08% BAC, and not show any signs of impairment, while others can be impaired at half that rate. This is the basis for a less-safe DUI.
Under Georgia law, you can be charged with a DUI less safe if you were under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it was less safe for you to drive. The proof of this would come from circumstantial evidence, such as the officer's subjective observations. This could involve police claims that the car was swerving, or straddling lanes. It could also include police statements that the driver had slurred speech or failed standardardized field sobriety tests.
Field sobriety tests are subject to error. None of the NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests are 100% accurate. However, the police will usually not give you the benefit of the doubt, or inform you about the failures of SFSTs. This is a compelling reason to contact an Atlanta DUI lawyer who understands the science and law behind field sobriety tests and DUIs less safe.
The police may also arrest you for a less safe DUI if they suspect you may be under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Police are not able test for drugs during a roadside stop as easily as they are able to for alcohol, so they may err on the side of arrest, and wait for a blood test or urine test at the station. Even if you test clean, the police face little to no repercussions for falsely arresting a person for DUI while you are placed on the defensive, and forced to pay the price of a false arrest.
Atlanta Lawyer For Under the Limit DUI
If you were arrested for driving under the influence in the Atlanta area, and your BAC tested under the legal limit, you have a good case to have your charges dismissed. Just because the police arrested you for a DUI does not mean you have to be convicted of a DUI, and have your life ruined. Call me today, so we can discuss exactly what happened in your case, and I will fight for you to keep your license to drive, and keep your record clear.