Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): What Is The Legal Limit?

Nov 15, 2015 — by James E. Novak Attorney PLLC
Tags: Dui Bac

A cop holding a breathalyzer testThe Law Office of James Novak has a record of excellence, helping clients through the state of Arizona with their legal needs. We have years of experience with DUI defense law, helping drunk drivers in their time of legal need. In a number of cases, we've helped get charges reduced and dropped, allowing people who've made mistakes or were wrongfully charged with drunk driving to move forward.

An important component of drunk driving cases is blood alcohol concentration. Let's go over the basics and legal limits of BAC right now.

Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) refers to the percentage of alcohol present in a person's blood. It's a standard way for law enforcement to assess the intoxication level of a motorist.

Basic Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in the State of Arizona

The BAC legal limit in Arizona is 0.08. This is the federal legal limit as well. A BAC in excess of 0.08 means that a motorist is legally intoxicated.

Keep in mind that a BAC under 0.08 may also be grounds for a drunk driving arrest if a motorist is driving recklessly or erratically regardless.

What is the BAC for aggravated DUI charges?

Some states issue more serious penalties when a motorist is operating a vehicle while severely intoxicated. Arizona is such a state, issuing aggravated DUI charges for severe levels of intoxication.

The legal limit for an aggravated DUI charge is 0.15.

Commercial Drivers Have a Different BAC Legal Limit

Given their duties and amount of time on the road, commercial drivers are held to a different standard when it comes to BAC. The legal limit for commercial drivers is 0.04, just half the legal limit of non-commercial motorists.

Zero Tolerance for Minors Drinking and Driving

If you are a minor, there is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving. This means that your BAC should be 0.00 or around that percentage. If a minor is caught intoxicated while operating a vehicle, he or she will be charged with a DUI, even if the BAC measured is well within the legal limit.

Are measures of BAC always accurate?

Not always.

Field sobriety tests only measure coordination and certain kinds of cognitive tasks, not the actual amount of alcohol in someone's bloodstream.

To measure BAC, law enforcement often uses breathalyzer tests, blood tests, or urine tests. Each of these methods presents their own potential drawbacks links to poorly calibrated equipment, human error, or a mixture of both. False positives are not unheard of, and they are ultimately unacceptable.

How a Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Can Help You

If you are charged with drunk driving, partnering with a skilled defense attorney will help ensure that you receive a fair hearing an that all of your legal options are properly explored. An attorney well versed in drunk driving defense strategies can note irregularities or inaccuracies in testing, and may even point to violations of a motorist's Constitutional protections during a traffic stop. It pays to have that kind of expertise on your side, and additional guidance moving forward.

Learn More About Drunk Driving Laws in Arizona

For more information about your legal rights, be sure to contact a skilled defense attorney about your drunk driving charge. At The Law Office of James Novak, we will fight diligently on your behalf to ensure your receive a fair shake from the law.

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