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You can be legally drunk without any signs of impairment

| Sep 13, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

People who frequently drink may feel confident getting behind the wheel after a couple of drinks. They probably believe that because they have a higher alcohol tolerance due to their frequent drinking, they won’t get in trouble with the law. 

However, in North Carolina, you do not need to have obvious signs of impairment for the state to charge you with a driving while impaired (DWI) offense. Despite what the name implies, you only have to exceed the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), even if you don’t feel impaired at that point. 

Breaking the purse a limit is a crime on its own

Per se is a Latin phrase that means “by itself.” The limit to your BAC established in North Carolina is a per se limit. As you might guess, that means that exceeding the limit is against the law regardless of the practical consequences. The results of a chemical test could overshadow your driving performance if there is any question about your sobriety.

Once your BAC reaches 0.08%, it is illegal for you to get behind the wheel of a car. A BAC of 0.04% is illegal for those driving a commercial vehicle, and any detectable BAC is illegal for those not yet 21 years of age. 

Even if you feel perfectly fine, you could fail a breath test. Your lack of impairment likely will not be a defense if you do, as your BAC alone is grounds for charges. Thankfully, there are other options available for defending yourself. Learning more about the evidence against you can help you plan to fight DWI charges in North Carolina.