You may think the only way the police can arrest you for driving while intoxicated is if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 0.08 percent. The truth is that any kind of negligent driving that is a result of any level of intoxication could result in a DUI.
Even if you're only driving buzzed, it still isn't okay if that buzz is making you a danger to others. Noticeable impairment puts you at risk of a DUI. Why? You could have combined prescription drugs with alcohol, for example, which would be enough for a charge for driving under the influence of drugs if you were intoxicated and clearly impaired. Your BAC doesn't have to be over 0.08 for that charge to stick.
How can the prosecution pursue a charge if you weren't over the limit?
Of course, if your BAC was not over 0.08, it is harder for the prosecution to make a case stick. If your BAC was close, however, the prosecution may argue that you were illegally above the limit but that the passage of time during the stop was enough to drop your BAC to under 0.08.
The judge and jury couldn't penalize you if you were under the limit, right?
Even when your BAC is below the limit, the judge and jury may still penalize you. Drunk or drugged driving holds a heavy stigma in the state, so it's important that you protect yourself and your reputation. Your attorney can help you define a solid defense against the charges, so you can focus on your future and not on unfounded allegations.
Source: FindLaw, "BAC Below 0.08%? It Can Still Be a DUI," Aditi Mukherji, JD, accessed June 02, 2017