If you meet up with some friends at a local restaurant or club and happen to have a couple alcoholic beverages during your social time, you are not necessarily breaking the law if you then operate a motor vehicle. As a licensed driver in North Carolina, you are obligated to adhere to all laws related to drinking and driving. It is also your civic duty to make responsible choices.
The more you know about alcohol's potential effects on your body, the better able you are to make informed decisions. The fact is that every drunk driving arrest is not warranted. Many sober people have faced drunk driving charges in criminal court. This is why it's also important to know where to seek legal support if you need it. In this state and all others, if your blood alcohol content level registers .08 or higher, you are legally prohibited from driving a motor vehicle.
Your body at .08 BAC
While there's really not much difference between drinking beer, wine or whiskey, the way each type of alcohol affects your body might be quite different from how it affects another person. The following list shows common effects of alcohol when the average person's BAC measures .08:
- Your cognitive skills may be impaired, in particular your reasoning ability. This could be why some people think they're perfectly capable of driving a car when they are already at or beyond the legal limit for motor vehicle operation.
- Your ability to process information might suffer at this point, as well. If a police officer administers a field sobriety test, you might have trouble following a series of simple instructions.
- Muscle coordination tends to relax a lot when your BAC reaches .08. This can make otherwise simple tasks, such as walking straight, quite challenging.
Drunk driving is a criminal offense, not a traffic violation. If you're convicted, you might face jail time or substantial fines. If you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, you will likely incur an automatic administrative penalty that includes driver's license suspension.
If a North Carolina police officer arrests you for DUI
If a cop pulls you over, it's understandable you'd feel nervous or afraid. However, it's best to try to remain as calm as possible and to politely cooperate with the police officer's instructions. If he or she asks you to step out of your vehicle, it's almost certain that the reason is suspected driving impairment or that you've committed some other crime. You may exercise your civil rights by requesting legal representation at any time.