Did you ever wonder why it’s important for law enforcement to establish that a driver they pulled over on suspicion of DUI has a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08 percent? Aside from being the legal limit in practically all states, a BAC of .08 percent is all authorities would need to charge that driver with a DUI, thanks to “per se” laws. Here are some things you need to know about per se laws.
No further evidence needed with a per se DUI charge
The Latin phrase “per se” means “by itself,” which means that by itself, a 0.08 BAC is enough to prove that you are guilty of a DUI. No further evidence would be required to prove that you were intoxicated while behind the wheel.
All states have per se DUI laws
Per se laws are now in effect in every state in the U.S. as well as the District of Columbia. With their per se laws, these states no longer have to prove impairment or present that the driver failed a field sobriety test to charge him or her with a DUI.
Why were per se laws created?
Many individuals stopped on suspicion of drunk driving often feel and claim to be sober. With per se laws in place, drivers can claim to be as sober as can be, and none of that would matter if their BAC is at or over .08 percent. In a way, per se laws were created and implemented to make it easier for the state to convict people of a DUI.
Per se laws do not address drugged driving
The .08 percent BAC limit is confined to alcohol, so the per se laws, in general, don’t cover drugged DUI cases per se. Some states, however, have taken steps to ensure that their per se laws address drugged driving. Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia, for example, have established specific limits for the presence of drugs in a driver’s system. Then there’s the zero tolerance policy espoused by Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin, where detectable levels of certain drugs in your body can get you charged and possibly convicted of drugged driving.
You can challenge a per se DUI charge
A .08 BAC or higher does not necessarily mean an automatic DUI conviction. If you find yourself facing per se DUI charges, take comfort in the fact that you can challenge your test result’s validity. You can also question the procedures used to establish your BAC or even the machines used to process the samples collected from you.
Get the services of an experienced DUI attorney, and you can be sure he or she knows many other ways to defend your DUI case in court.
Michelle White currently works as the Marketing & Communications specialist at Law Offices of Brian Sloan. Her experiences with DUI cases in the past have inspired her to spread awareness about DUI laws in the United States.