When people refer to buzzed driving, they generally mean that someone has been consuming some amount of alcohol, and they can slightly feel the effects, but they are not yet intoxicated. They may believe that they are not impaired and that their blood alcohol content is below the legal limit of a BAC of 0.08%. The number of drinks required to reach this “buzzed” state is different for everyone.
For example, someone who goes out to dinner with their family and has two glasses of wine may feel buzzed, but not drunk. If they decide to drive home in that condition, could they get pulled over and arrested on DWI charges? The short answer to this is that yes, someone can be arrested for drunk driving, even if they were under the legal limit and claim that they are only buzzed.
Why you can face charges if your BAC is under the legal limit
For one thing, what the police are really looking for is any sign of impairment. At just 0.02% BAC, people begin to struggle with multitasking and can have visual impairments. At 0.05%, coordination is impacted, as is a person’s ability to easily track a moving object – such as another car on the road.
If the police have seen you make driving mistakes, such as causing a car accident, having a near miss or doing something else that suggests impairment, they may arrest you. They can take this action even if they give you a breath test that shows that your BAC is under the legal limit. The mere fact that you had alcohol in your system and were demonstrating impairment is enough.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many people who believe they are buzzed do not actually take a breath test reading to find out what their BAC level is at that moment. It could be that someone doesn’t think they are drunk when they actually are over the legal limit. Things like tolerance levels and standard drinking habits will play a role in the feeling of buzzed vs. drunk.
What options do you have?
A DWI can be expensive and losing your license can impact work and your personal life. If you have been arrested on DWI charges, it’s important to quickly research whatever defense options you may have.