Over the past several decades, advocacy groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have waged a campaign to raise awareness to the dangers of drinking and driving – and that campaign has been extremely successful. States across the nation have strengthened their driving under the influence (DUI) laws and increased penalties for violating those laws. In addition, the “legal limit” has been dropped from 0.10 or higher to 0.08 percent in the states. Motorists are more worried than ever about getting arrested for drunk driving, leading many of them to ask the question “How do I know if I’m over the legal limit?” A Nebraska DUI lawyer offers some guidance to help you determine if you are over the limit.
What Is the Legal Limit?
By now, just about everyone who drives in the U.S. thinks they understand the meaning of the “legal limit.” It helps, however, to clarify Nebraska’s DUI laws to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the law. Nebraska Revised Code Section 60-6,196 governs driving under the influence, reading as follows:
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or be in the actual physical control of any motor vehicle:
(a) While under the influence of alcoholic liquor or of any drug;
(b) When such person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of his or her blood; or
(c) When such person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of his or her breath.
The important thing to note about the above DUI statute is that a motorist could be convicted of driving under the influence with, or without, the results of a chemical test. Therefore, while it is important to have some idea when you are over the “legal limit,” keep in mind that you could be convicted with a test result below the limit or without a test result entirely.
What Is Your BAC?
When someone asks “How do I know if I am over the legal limit,” what they really want to know is what their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is. The problem with figuring out what your BAC level is at any given point in time is that everyone absorbs and metabolizes alcohol at different rates under normal circumstances. Moreover, several factors can impact the rate at which your body metabolizes alcohol. A man who weighs 250 pounds, for example, will not have the same BAC level as a woman who weighs in at 130 pounds after the two consumed the same amount of alcohol. The only sure fire way to know your BAC level is to avoid consuming alcohol entirely. Beyond that, there are guidelines you can use; however, they are just that – guidelines. For instance, our 130-pound woman would likely be able to consume no more than three drinks (1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 12 ounces of beer, or five ounces of wine) in an hour before her BAC level exceeds the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Her 250-pound male counterpart, however, could be expected to be able to consume five drinks before exceeding the legal limit.
Tool, Charts, and Apps
The increased focus on drinking and driving has created a corresponding increase in products aimed at helping consumers avoid a DUI arrest. Are any of these products helpful? Some may be helpful; however, none can be relied on completely. A simple internet search will produce a chart aimed at giving you an idea, based on your sex and weight, how many drinks you can consume before exceeding the limit. Small, portable breath test machines are also available; however, none are as accurate or reliable as the breath test machines used by law enforcement agencies. Finally, you can also download an app for your phone that allows you to input a variety of information and purports to provide you with your BAC level based on the information you input. Once again, the results you receive from an app may provide you with an estimate of your BAC level, but do not rely on that estimate to keep you out of jail.
Contact Nebraska DUI Lawyers at Petersen Law Office
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Nebraska, it is always in your best interest to consult directly with a DUI defense attorney about the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Contact the Nebraska DUI lawyers at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.