Is it always safe to drive with blood alcohol content under .08%?

According to the law, a person driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08% or greater is considered intoxicated, resulting in a DWI ticket, a fine, time in jail or more, if caught. People may look at a standardized chart, determine how many drinks they might be able to have before reaching that level, not knowing the effects even one drink can have on their driving and ability to drive. Is it safe to drive with a BAC lower than .08% according to a Minneapolis DWI lawyer?

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Understanding Blood Alcohol Content

Alcohol is absorbed directly into our bloodstream, creating a mixture. The alcohol mixture in the blood, when measured, is known as the Blood Alcohol Content (or Concentration), showing how much alcohol is flowing through the blood. BAC is a standard tool for setting a legal limit of intoxication, particularly used for driving. In the US, a BAC of .08 is too drunk to drive. This is the law for all fifty states. While most women get to a higher BAC than men, almost everyone shows impairment in driving when they reach a BAC of .04 and most people who go over .50 die.

How do different BACs affect the body and driving?

Looking at the different Blood Alcohol Content levels, there are stages of impairment The stages of impairment associate with varying BAC levels are:

  • BAC of .02; typically affects judgement, relaxes and warms the body, and alters mood. When driving, visual functions can decline as well as the ability to multi-task.
  • BAC of .05-may cause exaggerated behavior, loss of small muscle control, and impaired judgement; cause the person to “feel good”, lowers alertness and releases inhibitions. When a person drives at this level, coordination, the ability to track moving objects, and response to an emergent driving situation can all be reduced. It can also cause difficulty in steering.
  • BAC of .08- muscle coordination is poor, and judgement, self-control and memory is impaired. When driving, there may be a loss of concentration and short-term memory, an inability to control speed, reduced ability to process information and impaired perception

Driving under the influence of alcohol, regardless of the BAC, is not safe. If there has been an accident involving someone driving under the influence, a Minneapolis DWI lawyer can help the victim understand how alcohol affects driving.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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