The current legal limit for blood alcohol content in Georgia is 0.08%. Most people are shocked when they've given a blood test and the results are 0.1% or 0.2%. Often we hear them say, “I only had two drinks. How did this happen?” The limit is lower than you might think, and it can be confusing to understand as a result. In this blog post, we'll discuss the legal limit and what it means for DUI cases.
Understanding the Blood Alcohol Content Limit in Georgia
The BAC limit used to be higher than 0.08%. In 1988, the BAC limit started out at 0.12% for adults. From 1992 to 1997, it dropped to 0.10%. The limit dropped again to 0.08% in 2001. If you're wondering how this stacks up to other states, the entire U.S. operates under this 0.08% limit as of 2004, and it has held steady since then.
Why 0.08%? For most drivers, research has shown that they face moderate impairment of driving skills. Drivers who reach a BAC level of 0.12% or higher face severe driving impairments. However, it is important to keep in mind that individual tolerances to alcohol may change these effects. Some drivers that are under the 0.08% limit may still have impaired driving. In these cases, you can still be charged with a less safe DUI.
Can I Exceed the BAC Limit Without Drinking?
For the breathalyzer test particularly, it is actually possible to get a positive result without drinking. This is usually due to an improperly administered test. Usually, officers are supposed to wait 15 minutes before giving a breathalyzer to avoid false positives from things like alcohol-based mouthwash. In some cases, though, gastrointestinal conditions, certain medications, and other factors can lead to a false positive. Sometimes improperly calibrated breathalyzers can also cause you to exceed the BAC limit without drinking.
Can I Be Charged for a DUI Without Reaching the BAC Limit?
In Georgia, there are two types of DUI charges: per se and less safe. Per se DUIs always involve a test result that shows you're over the legal limit, whether it's a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test. In the absence of test results, or in cases where you're under the legal limit but the officer still observes impairment, you will be charged with a less safe DUI. Less safe DUIs are more difficult to prove, but it is still possible to get convicted of one. While they won't use test results, they can use footage from field sobriety tests (if available) and witness testimony to establish your guilt. This is when it's vital to have an experienced DUI lawyer on your side who can vouch for your innocence.
Is There a BAC Limit Equivalent for Drugs?
The BAC limit only applies to alcohol, and there is no equivalent measure for drug use. Any amount of drugs found in your system that appears to impair your driving will lead to a DUI charge. The only things they need to prove in this case is whether they found it in your system and they can prove it actually made you a less safe driver.
Have More Questions About Blood Alcohol Content? Contact Us Today
If you've been charged with a DUI already, we understand there may be many questions running through your mind. At Brett Willis Law, we're here to ease your worries with expert legal knowledge. If you'd like more information on blood alcohol content or anything else related to DUIs, contact us today for a free consultation.