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Can police arrest drivers with a BAC lower than 0.08?

It was fairly recently that the United States adopted the blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 for determining if a driver operates a vehicle under the influence. However, some politicians are presently moving to make the limit even lower. While it may seem harsh, many countries have already adopted lower BAC limits for drivers. 

While the BAC limit for drunk driving in the United States still stands at 0.08 for most people, there are instances where police can arrest individuals with a BAC lower than 0.08. It is for this reason that it is always recommended for drivers to operate a car with a BAC of 0.00. 

Teenagers and commercial drivers

There are specific demographics who must always drive with no alcohol in their bloodstream. A zero-tolerance policy is in place for anyone under the age of 21. Since it is not legal for teenagers to purchase alcohol, they cannot drive a car with any alcohol in their system even if it is lower than 0.08. Similarly, people who operate commercial vehicles, such as truck drivers, cannot drive with a BAC higher than 0.04. Occasionally, one drink is all it takes for someone to have a BAC higher than 0.04, so when people are on the job, they should never consume alcohol before driving. 

Drivers who pose a danger to others

For drivers who do not fall within one of the above categories, they can still face a DUI even with a BAC under the legal limit. This most often occurs when the driver clearly poses a threat to others. For example, if a police officer pulls over a driver who has a child in the backseat, then the officer may arrest the driver if he or she has consumed any alcohol recently. Another example would be an office noticing a driver swerving severely between lanes. Alcohol affects everyone differently, so someone with a BAC of 0.05 could still feel intoxicated and not be in any condition to drive. 

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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