Drunk driving is never a good idea, and it’s never a safe situation to get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking. But sometimes mistakes happen — even to the most responsible and caring people — and it doesn’t necessarily mean that one small mistake should ruin the rest of your life. Here are a few important facts that you should know about drunk driving laws and how DWI convictions can have some pretty serious consequences if you aren’t careful:
- First off, it’s important to note that every state has its own legislation for traffic offenses, but when it comes to laws about drunk driving, the legal limit is .08% BAC. This is a measurement of how much alcohol is in your system, and it can be measured on the roadside (with a breathalyzer) or in a medical facility (through a urine test or blood draw test). If you get pulled over under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated and your BAC measures .08% or higher, the police officer can (and will) issue a DWI arrest.
- It’s important to be aware that the .08% limit isn’t always the maximum limit; in extenuating circumstances, you could be charged with drunk driving if your BAC is even lower. For drivers of commercial vehicles, the legal limit is .04%. For underage drivers and for drivers with previous DWI convictions, many states have Zero Tolerance Policies which make it illegal for these individuals to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system.
- Last but not least, all states have something called an Implied Consent Law. This is something that every driver agrees to when he/she receives a driver’s license, and it states that the driver agrees to have a chemical test if a police officer suspects that person is driving while intoxicated. Drivers can choose which type of test they would like to have, but it’s technically illegal to refuse a chemical test altogether — and the officer can request a warrant to have a test administered if a driver does refuse.