In general, the legal limit is .08% BAC (blood alcohol concentration). This refers to the amount of alcohol in your blood at the time you were driving.
However, there are exceptions to this:
- For drivers under legal drinking age (21), any amount of alcohol in the system is grounds for DUI Even .01% BAC is considered drunk driving.
- If you were driving a vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license, the legal limit is lower than usual—only .04%.
- If your BAC was .15% or higher, you will face a sentence enhancement. This means the penalties for your DUI are steeper than normal.
- Repeat DUI offenders can be arrested for DUI with a BAC as low as .01%.
However, you can be convicted of DUI even if you are within the legal limit. The California Vehicle Code gives two definitions of drunk driving:
- Driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
Only the first one requires proof you were over the legal limit. The second definition is more subjective. It’s often used to prosecute a DUI when there was clear evidence you were driving dangerously or in an unusual manner, but not clear evidence you were over the BAC limit. The prosecutor will make the case that even though your blood alcohol was not that high, it clearly affected your driving.
The best way to fight any form of DUI charge is to have a good lawyer on your side. We can match you with a dedicated DUI lawyer who has the right experience for your case—and you’ll get a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to your right and get your free consultation today.