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BAC levels provide approximate guideposts to measure alcohol affects, but are not necessarily determinative of when police may arrest a person for drunk driving. Whether you have been arrested for DUI based on a BAC reading or for any other cause, you will require a legal defense that is both knowledgeable in how to represent clients in your position as well as aggressive in conducting that defense.

Blood-alcohol concentration levels are one of the most widely recognized means of determining whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol, particularly the .08 percent level which is used in New York as the threshold for police to make an arrest for DUI. But what is the significance of the various BAC levels? 

The effects of blood-alcohol concentration have been the subject of considerable study, not only on their specific effects on driving ability but also with regard to their emotional and psychological influences. These can be broken down as follows:

  • BAC .02 percent: The effects of alcohol on driving ability at this level are not yet pronounced. The driver may have a harder time tracking moving objects or performing tasks that require divided attention.
  • BAC .05 percent: At this level, specific effects on driving are reduced coordination, trouble with steering and decreased ability to respond to sudden and unexpected events.
  • BAC .08 percent: Problems with judgment, reasoning ability and self-control, mixed with degraded coordination and concentration ability contribute to difficulty in governing vehicle speed, reduced visual perception and a reduction in the ability to respond properly to things like changes in traffic signals. These effects are pronounced enough to make a person anywhere from 10 to more than 50 times more likely to be involved in an accident, which largely explains why this percentage level constitutes grounds for a DUI arrest.
  • BAC .10 percent: Muscle coordination, visual acuity and reaction times continue to deteriorate, manifesting themselves in difficulty keeping the car in its lane. Problems with speed control now combine with lowered ability to apply the brakes in a timely manner making the driver even more dangerous to himself and others.
  • BAC .15 percent: At this level of intoxication, about twice the legal limit, muscle control becomes so poor that simply maintaining balance becomes problematic. Driving problems will affect virtually all aspects of vehicle operation – coordination, sensory perception, judgment, attention span and concentration. 

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