The Investigators

Jul 2, 2012 9:00 PM

Driving with less than .08 BAC can still mean a DUI citation

TUCSON - Here's a word of caution as we approach the July 4th holiday weekend.

Did you know that you can be arrested for driving under the influence even if your blood alcohol level is well below the legal limit of .08?

More and more drivers are finding this out the hard way. And that can happen after you drink what many consider a modest amount of alcohol.

Sgt. Chris Widmer with the Tucson Police Department says a DUI citation doesn't necessarily focus on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). "What you're being arrested for when you're arrested for this crime is for being impaired, in this case to the slightest degree."

Did you know that you can be cited for dui with a level as low as .02 or .03?

"Actually--unfortunately--I did," says Joe Fonte a driver we spoke with. "I just went to traffic survival school yesterday, and that was part of what they taught us. Fonte was in traffic school on a red light citation.

"No," replies Yvonne Ervin another driver we spoke with. "Well, I wouldn't know what .02 meant, is that like one drink or half a drink? Or depends on the person, I suppose"

Exactly. It depends on your weight, tolerance for alcohol how much sleep you've had and several other factors.

For example at 180 pounds scientific charts say two beers would put an average male at a .02 BAC which begins to impair judgment.

Three or four beers and driving ability for some could be clearly impaired although BAC might be at .04 below the .08 of legally impaired.

There are charts and tables available on-line that illustrate how fast and thoroughly alcohol can affect you and your driving. Click here to see the information.

Police say drivers must realize any impairment... puts others at risk.

"What your mind puts into driving: You have to deal with the steering wheel, the brake, the gas, the blinkers. You got to stay in your lane, and when you impair your mind, even just a little bit, and it misses one of those functions, it can be tragic," says Sgt. Widmer.

Authorities say they're especially vigilant about lower level impaired drivers at DUI checkpoints where they can smell the alcohol.

They say those drivers don't weave and vary speeds as much as more impaired drivers but they can cause as much harm.

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