The state of California often measures blood alcohol content (BAC) to determine if a driver should be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The state has set limits for BAC that can determine whether or not you face criminal charges after being stopped by a law enforcement officer.
So, what’s the highest BAC you can have without being charged with a DUI in California? Go over regulations on BAC levels here with the Simmrin Law Group.
California’s Regulations on BAC Levels
Per California’s legal codes, drivers over the age of 21 are required to keep their BAC below 0.08% when operating a vehicle. Technically, this means that you could have a BAC of 0.07% and avoid a DUI in the state of California.
However, in practical terms you can face criminal charges even if your BAC is under 0.08%. California does not use the 0.08% BAC limit for all drivers. For example, you can face criminal charges if you are:
- A commercial driver with a BAC at or above 0.04%
- A driver under 21 with a BAC at or above 0.01%
In these situations, then, your maximum BAC level might be 0.03% or zero.
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Charges for Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol
You should also be aware that you can be prosecuted for driving under the influence of alcohol under Vehicle Code Section 23152(a). This charge allows police officers to arrest you if you appear to be intoxicated, even if your BAC is below the legal limit.
This charge may be used to address situations where:
- A driver refuses a chemical BAC test
- A law enforcement officer is waiting on the results of a BAC test
Additionally, you can face charges under VC 23152(a) because not everyone has the same tolerance for alcohol. Prosecutors in California could argue that you are more affected by alcohol than other people, asserting that you should face DUI charges even if you kept your BAC below the legal limit.
This means that it can be very difficult to definitively decide on the highest BAC you can have without being charged with a DUI in California.
Measuring BAC in the State of California
We have been discussing legally acceptable BAC levels in the state of California. You may be wondering how police officers measure your BAC during a traffic stop. Your BAC may be measured using chemical:
- Breath tests
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
Breath and blood tests are the first choices for BAC testing. In fact, you should only be asked to complete a urine test if breath and blood tests are unavailable for some reason. These tests report your BAC, which can then be used to bring charges against you.
Disputing BAC Test Results with a Lawyer
You may be unsure about your legal options if your BAC is reported at above the legal limit, or even below the legal limit in some circumstances. Fortunately, you can get help dealing with this situation by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles.
The team at the Simmrin Law Group may be able to dispute the results of BAC tests in some circumstances. We could be able to argue that:
- A law enforcement officer did not properly administer the tests
- The tests were not processed properly by laboratory technicians
- The testing material was not maintained or stored properly
Disputing the results of your BAC test can help strengthen your defense if you are charged with a DUI.
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Get Help if You’ve Been Charged with a DUI
You can face DUI charges in California if your BAC exceeds the limits set by the state. In some circumstances, you can face charges even if your BAC was below the legal limit. In either situation, a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can help you.
Get the assistance you need to develop a strong defense by reaching out to the Simmrin Law Group for help. We’re ready to take steps to get your charges reduced or dismissed now. We can even stand up for you in court.
Speak to a DUI Lawyer if Your BAC Was Over the Legal Limit
Considering the highest BAC you can have without being charged with a DUI in California can lead to a complicated answer. Make sure you get professional assistance anytime you are charged with a DUI by working with the Simmrin Law Group. Fill out our online contact form or call (310) 896-2723 to get started.
You can get a FREE consultation from our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles right now.