As most every driver knows, it’s illegal in North Carolina and across the country to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. You can be arrested for DWI/DUI if a Breathalyzer test puts you over the limit even if you’ve exhibited no other indication that you’re under the influence and haven’t been swerving, speeding or committing other traffic violations. Under the law, this is called “per se intoxicated.”
However, in some situations, a person with a BAC of under .08 percent can still be arrested for DWI/DUI. One example is if you are noticeably impaired. This can happen when someone combines alcohol with certain medications. One glass of wine paired with a Xanax or even cold medicine could make you noticeably impaired. You might be well under the legal limit for drunk driving, but you could still face DWI/DUI charges.
If you’re under 21 and in some other circumstances, North Carolina’s zero tolerance laws may apply. That means you could be arrested if you have any alcohol in your system. In addition to those under 21, these laws apply to commercial vehicle drivers or anyone who is driving children in a school bus, day care van or similar vehicle.
If you’re facing DWI/DUI charges, don’t assume that because you were under the legal limit, the charges will be dropped. Even if you have a BAC of .07 percent, a prosecutor could argue that you were likely driving while at a .08 percent BAC or higher and that it had dropped slightly by the time police administered the Breathalyzer test.
Regardless of the circumstances, an arrest for drunk driving is nothing to take lightly. An experienced North Carolina DWI/DUI defense attorney can work to protect your rights and try to mitigate the consequences on your life.