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Why Is California’s BAC Limit for DUIs 0.08?

By San Diego Attorney on January 10, 2023

DUI, also commonly called driving under the influence, is one of the most common causes of accidents in California. Due to this, the state has taken various measures to prevent DUIs, including introducing a BAC limit of 0.08. This means that the legal alcohol limit for adults in California is a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration. The law imposes even a lower BAC limit for commercial, limo, taxis, and underage drivers. Read on to find out why this is the case and how the law impacts drivers in California.

What Is BAC?

BAC, also known as blood alcohol concentration, blood alcohol level, or blood alcohol content, measures the alcohol content an individual has in their bloodstream. In California, the BAC limit for drivers is 0.08%. The percentage shows the grams of alcohol found in every 100 millimeters of your blood. A higher percentage of BAC shows that a person has more alcohol in their system. A low number shows less alcohol concentration in your blood. It is the driver’s responsibility to maintain a low alcohol concentration and prevent accidents caused by DUI.

How California Defines DUIs

As mentioned earlier, DUIs are one of California’s leading causes of accidents. Driving under any form of drug influence in California results in a DUI charge and could see you take responsibility for any accidents. California has two main DUI charges for adults, they are:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA)
  • DUIA with a BAC of 0.08% or higher

The first scenario falls under the California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC, which states that it is illegal to drive with any amount of alcohol in your blood. Under this statute, state prosecutors can still charge you with DUI even if you have a BAC below 0.08%. While you can be implicated for having any amount of alcohol in your system, proving such cases is hard, especially if there is no significant evidence. Besides, if it is your first offense, you may be eligible for a wet reckless plea. In most cases, people found with less than 0.08% BAC often go uncharged in California.

That being said, if you have a BAC of more than 0.08%, the prosecutors will pursue charges under the California Vehicle Code. This offers the main DUI charges and has severe consequences should your driving harm another person. To make other road users safe, California has several other BAC limits depending on your age and the type of vehicle you are driving. All these factors play a key role in DUI charges for both the driver and the accident victim.

How BAC Is Used During a California DUI Prosecution

The prosecutor in a California DUI case will use BAC and other available evidence to prove that the driver:

  • Was impaired and driving under the influence
  • Was over the legal DUI limit

If BAC is at or above a specified limit (in this case, 0.08% under California law) the driver is said to be too drunk to drive. The prosecutor must show that the driver could not drive safely due to the influence of alcohol. The higher the BAC, the more likely that the driver is impaired.

Seek the Services of Our DUI Attorneys in California

California law takes DUI charges seriously. Therefore, if you are facing DUI charges in California, our DUI attorneys at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys are ready to help. We have many years of experience representing people in your situation and have what it takes to represent your interests. Call us today at (760) 630-2000 to schedule your free consultation with our dedicated attorneys.

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