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California DUI: Low Blood Alcohol Concentration

If you’re like a LOT of California drivers, you may think, “I can’t get a DUI if my blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit.” We hate to break it to you, but that is not necessarily the case. Under Vehicle Code Section 23152(b), it says, “It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle,” but under VC 23152(f), it says it is “unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.” Simply put, you can get a DUI, even if your BAC is less than 0.08%.

Essentially, if the prosecution can prove that your ability to drive safely was impaired by alcohol, you can be charged with DUI under VC 23152(f). So, under what circumstances is someone charged with DUI when they have a BAC below 0.08%?

Here are some examples:

  • The driver combined alcohol with a prescription medication that interacted with alcohol. This means the alcohol increased the effects of the drug, such as dizziness, slurred speech, slowed reaction time, loss of coordination, etc.
  • The driver was not used to alcohol, and a small amount affected him or her enough to impair their driving ability.
  • The driver was a small person, with little body fat and a few drinks affected them more than a heavier person.
  • The driver combined alcohol with an over-the-counter drug or supplement, such as melatonin or Benadryl, which enhanced the sedating effects of the drug or supplement.

Can a DUI Be Reduced?

Suppose you were arrested for DUI in Orange County, but you had a BAC that was below the 0.08% legal limit. Can you get your charge reduced? It is possible that you may be able to get your DUI reduced to a California “wet reckless” through a plea deal. There are many advantages to a wet reckless plea; the fines and penalties are lower and sometimes it doesn’t trigger a license suspension to name a few.

To learn more about fighting your DUI charges and wet reckless plea bargains, reach out to our Orange County DUI defense firm for a free consultation!