Robert S. Muir, Attorney at Law
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If I blew under .08, am I off the hook?

As many Indiana, Pennsylvania, residents and students who attend school in the area know, .08 blood alcohol content, or BAC, is what is referred to as a legal limit in this state for drunk driving purposes.

However, the term legal limit can be a bit misleading, as it is possible for a person to blow under .08 BAC, or not be tested at all, and still face a DUI charge.

To explain further, when a valid blood or breath sample indicates a person was at or above .08 BAC, then they are facing what is called a per se charge. This means that the prosecutor handling the case need only prove that the sample is valid and was validly obtained; at that point, the accused can be convicted of drunk driving even if his or her driving was otherwise fine.

However, in some circumstances, police may not want to rely on the sample obtained, or there may be some technical or legal problem with using it in a court case. In this situation, a prosecutor can still pursue a DUI case, but the case will be based on an officer's overall impressions of the person's driving and level of intoxication.

While these sorts of cases are in many respects easier to defend, the bad news is that they still carry with them the potential for significant penalties, such as license suspensions, probation, fines and even jail time. This is true even for first-time offenders who have no special circumstances.

Where one is charged with DUI per se or a DUI based on all the circumstances, one should consider seeking out the assistance of an experienced defense attorney.

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