What exactly is a “per se” DUI?

For some, facing drunk driving charges can be a shock. Perhaps they felt fine when they got behind the wheel, or they only had a few drinks at the bar. They did not think they were intoxicated at all.

Yet, the blood test indicated a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This is a “per se” DUI.

It is all in the BAC

There are two critical elements to understand a per se DUI charge:

  • Per se: This is a Latin term that means “in and of itself” or “by nature.”
  • BAC: It is well known that in Tennessee – as well as most other states in the nation – the legal limit is 0.08% BAC.

Combining these two factors, a BAC of 0.08% brings the assumption that you are under the influence or impaired. As Medline Plus states, reaching this BAC means you are “legally impaired.”

So, if a blood test reveals a BAC of 0.08%, that in and of itself could lead to a drunk driving charge – or a per se DUI. This is regardless of whether or not the driver showed signs of being impaired.

So, what if you did not feel impaired?

Alcohol affects everyone differently, and that effect can depend on age, weight, if you take certain medications, if you had had anything to eat, how often you drink, and many other factors. There are many people who claim they can “hold their liquor,” and even seem sober on the outside.

The law does not take that into consideration. Even if you did not feel impaired, 0.08% BAC is the legal limit. It can lead to a drunk driving arrest and charges.

You can fight DUI charges

A 0.08% BAC or per se DUI charge is not the end of the road. It is still possible to fight drunk driving charges.

You do not want a DUI charge to derail your personal or professional life. So, in these stressful situations, it is important to understand the details of the situation and your options to defend yourself.  You should contact an attorney at Summers, Rufolo, & Rodgers, with extensive experience in DUI defense.

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