DUI Q&A Series - Can You Get a DUI Under .08 Limit?

a row of liquor


Operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol may affect your ability to drive. The legislature decided that a .08 or above is the level where you're affected as a matter of law - but can you be charged with a BAC lower than .08? The short answer is yes, if the prosecutor can prove that your ability to drive was impaired, a jury could convict you of a DUI. Whether or not you were below .08, it is crucial to speak with or hire the right lawyer to mitigate a potential DUI conviction.


You can get a DUI even if you're below 0.08. How's that possible?

Because the definition of DUI has nothing to do with numbers.

The definition of DUI in Washington is driving a motor vehicle while your ability to drive
is affected by alcohol.

At what level are you affected?

I didn't hear any numbers in there.

The law can't have that level of uncertainty.

We need a standard guideline, so the legislature decided that at 0.08, you are affected by alcohol, as a matter of law.

That doesn't mean that at a 0.07, you're not affected by alcohol.

It means that below 0.08, you might be affected by alcohol.

You can even be charged or convicted of a DUI if the prosecutor's office can prove that your ability to drive was affected, even below 0.08.

They would observe your driving, observe your field sobriety tests, observe your demeanor, and the things you said and did in front of the arresting officer.

The officer would testify, and they would attempt to convince a jury that your ability to drive was affected, whether it was or not.

If you found yourself arrested for DUI below 0.08, don't automatically think you're in the clear.

You might still be charged, and if it's not handled properly, you could even be convicted of a DUI below 0.08.