The police pull you over and give you a breath test. You know you've been drinking, so you're relieved when you blow a .07 percent. That's under the legal limit of .08 percent, so now you get to go home, right?
Not quite. You can absolutely get a DUI even though you did not break the legal limit of .08 percent. Don't think that simply "passing" the test means there are no ramifications.
One of the main ways that this happens is when police officers claim that you showed noticeable impairment while driving. That is to say that the alcohol made you a more dangerous driver, who was not in full control of his or her car, no matter how much you consumed.
What is noticeable impairment? It may simply be the reason for the stop. Maybe you ran a red light and then told officers that you never saw it. They can't fathom how you missed it, but they decide it was because you were intoxicated. Other signs may include causing an accident, driving off of the road or swerving around within the lane.
Think of it this way: If you hit the .08 percent mark, police do not need another reason to arrest you for a DUI. But, if they do have another reason, they can still arrest you for impairment even if you do not hit that mark.
Regardless, it is very important to know your legal defense options when facing DUI charges. This is especially true if you think that you were not impaired and you should never have been arrested in the first place.