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Is Buzzed Driving Illegal?

When it comes to mixing alcohol and driving, how much is too much? A number of public service announcements recently have been pushing the message that "Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving" but what is buzzed driving really and is it against the law?

Most people define "buzzed driving" as intoxication that doesn't quite reach the legal .08 percent BAC limit. Having a buzz is enough to affect your driving, and possibly cause slight impairment, but not enough to warrant a DUI.

In all U.S. states, the legal intoxication limit is:

  • .08 percent
  • .04 percent for commercial drivers
  • .02 / zero tolerance for under 21 drivers

California's primary DUI law is contained in § 23152 of the Vehicle Code. It not only says that it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol at a concentration of .08 percent or more, it says it is "unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle."

For this reason, drivers can be pulled over and arrested for drunk driving even if they are buzzed. If this has happened to you, there is the possibility that you could plead "wet reckless." This type of plea deal essentially says that yes, you had alcohol in your system while driving, but you were not under the influence of alcohol. You were driving recklessly with alcohol in your system.

Many people arrested for buzzed driving can plead wet reckless to get their DUI reduced. There are still penalties for wet reckless, but they are in no way as severe as DUI penalties. If you would like to learn more about your defense options after a drunk driving arrest, contact an Orange County DUI lawyer at The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry today.