Having a couple of drinks with friends may be something you look forward to every Friday or Saturday night. In fact, if you are a social drinker, you may have a pretty good idea of your limits for alcohol consumption, when to cut yourself off and when you have had too much to drive home safely. If you base these things on how you feel, you may not have an accurate idea of your risks.
In Missouri and most other states, police can arrest you for driving under the influence of alcohol solely based on your blood alcohol concentration. In other words, you may feel fine and demonstrate no impairment to your driving, but you BAC may say otherwise.
Challenging your BAC
If your BAC is .08 or higher, you may be subject to Missouri’s per se laws. This means that police do not need additional evidence of your intoxication or impairment. You may pass all the roadside sobriety tests and speak without slurring your words, but if your BAC is .08, police can still arrest you for driving while impaired.
Per se laws may make it easier for prosecutors to make a case against you in court, but this does not mean you have no reason to fight the charges. In many cases across the country, investigators have found that the devices used to test a driver’s BAC are not always reliable. Police departments do not regularly calibrate or maintain the tests, and some officers who collect the samples are not well trained in using the devices. It is always wise to seek legal advice about challenging DUI charges.
Underage Per Se laws
If you are under the legal drinking age of 21, your BAC limit may be much lower than .08. In some states, zero tolerance laws mean that even a trace amount of alcohol in your system can lead to DUI charges. Others, like Missouri and some neighboring states, consider .02 the legal limit for underage drivers, which means driving after drinking one beer can result in a DUI arrest.
An arrest for DUI is just the beginning of your troubles. You will likely lose your license and have to deal with a long legal process. A conviction for DUI can mean thousands in fines and other expenses, the potential for jail time, and other penalties that can put your future at risk. Seeking the representation of an experienced attorney as soon as possible can improve your chances of avoiding some of these consequences.