Understanding your BAC and DWI charges

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2019 | Criminal Defense |

If you are charged with a DWI in North Carolina, you must take your defense seriously. You could face fines, the suspension of your license, jail time and other consequences depending on how many times you were previously convicted of a DWI. At Frasier & Griffin, PLLC, we defend the rights of clients who are charged with a DWI and work to protect their freedom and future.

The most critical aspect of protecting your future is to understand what can cause a police officer to charge you with a DWI. North Carolina law specifies that for adults aged 21 or older, it is illegal to operate a vehicle if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Even if you are not exhibiting signs of impairment, you may still be charged with a DWI if your BAC is shown to be over this legal limit. If you refuse to have your BAC tested, you may have your license suspended for up to 1 year with no opportunity to obtain driving privileges for the first 6 months. Because of this limit and the serious consequences of a DWI, you must understand some basic facts about what influences your BAC.

BAC is dependent on a variety of factors

Your BAC can be hard to predict, and your physical characteristics will make a difference when trying to determine how many alcoholic beverages must be consumed to reach the 0.08 percent limit. Three factors to consider when attempting to calculate your BAC are your weight, gender and drinks per hour. For example, if you are a woman who weighs 137 pounds, it can take just three standard drinks (drinks that have 10 grams/12.5 milliliters of alcohol) in one hour to reach the legal limit of 0.08 percent. If you are a man who weighs 170 pounds, it can take only three-and-a-half standard drinks in one hour to reach the limit.

Note, these BAC calculations are only estimates and a multitude of other circumstances can affect your BAC. If you drink on an empty stomach, your BAC will be higher than someone who has recently eaten a meal. Certain medications can also interact with alcohol to raise a person’s BAC beyond the expected level. Because of these factors, it can be challenging to calculate your BAC without the use of specialized tools. Unfortunately, these tools, such as a Breathalyzer or blood test, may produce flawed results if the tester misused them or did not calibrate them before testing.

A few exceptions to the 0.08 BAC limit

Although the legal limit for most adults is 0.08 percent, there are a few circumstances that can lead to DWI charges at a lower BAC. For example, drivers under the age of 21 and school bus drivers must maintain a BAC of 0.00 percent when operating their vehicles. People who have a commercial driver’s license have a lower legal limit of 0.04 percent. You can also be charged with a DWI if a drug impairs your ability to drive. These drugs include prescription medications and controlled substances, such as marijuana.

Get help if you are charged with a DWI

Many factors can affect your DWI charges and potential defense strategies. Because of the variety of issues that may be at play in your case, you should contact Frasier & Griffin PLLC as soon as possible. The experienced defense attorneys at Frasier & Griffin, PLLC, will take immediate action to defend your rights if you are charged with a DWI.