Can I Be Convicted of a DUI with a BAC of Lower than .08?

Posted On: April 24th, 2015 by Bradley J. Groene

We all know what an uphill battle it can be to fight a DUI charge when your BAC registers above the legal limit of .08, even with a decent DUI attorney. What does it mean for you if you have a BAC of lower than .08 though? Most people assume that if you are arrested for a DUI, but your BAC turns out to be below the legal limit in the mandatory chemical test that the charges will be dropped. Unfortunately, this is not always true.

Even though the law assumes that a blood alcohol content above .08 measured in urine, blood, or breath automatically means that you are impaired, a lower BAC does not automatically rule out possible impairment. A prosecutor can still argue that an Ohio OVI charge is valid under the circumstances of your arrest. The law still prohibits driving while “noticeably impaired,” so while it may be harder to prove when you are below the legal limit, it is still possible.

They can argue that the arresting officer noticed obvious signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech or difficulty walking straight. If a prescription medication or over-the-counter drug was found in your system during the chemical test, a prosecutor may be able to show that the combination led to an unsafe level of impairment. The amount of time that passed between the arrest and your BAC test also matters. If your BAC is measured close to the 0.08 percent limit, but just below (like at .07 or .06), the prosecutor could argue that your BAC was actually above the legal limit when you were still driving, but fell below in the time that passed in the interim.

Is an OVI Conviction Likely If My BAC Was Below the Legal Limit?

Although definitely possible, a conviction for an OVI in Ohio is much less likely when your BAC is measured below the legal limit. Judges and juries do not have much sympathy for people arrested for drunk driving above the limit, but they can be much more open to listening to arguments of innocence if your BAC was not in direct violation of any law. A skilled DUI attorney can show that the likelihood of your driving ability being affected with a BAC of less than 0.08 is very slim. The farther below 0.08 your BAC was, the better your chances are of an acquittal or a good plea bargain.

The key to these cases often is an experienced OVI lawyer. They know how to build a credible case to demonstrate your innocence. A good DUI lawyer may even be able to get the charges dropped in these cases completely if they can show that they are willing to fight for your innocence and there is not enough other evidence to warrant a conviction. If you have been arrested for an OVI in the Cincinnati area call the DUI attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates at (513) 338-1890 right away for a free consultation on your case. We will be with you every step of the way and vigorously fight for your rights.