You don’t have to be over the legal limit of .08% to be convicted of DUI

Most people erroneously believe that one can’t be convicted of DUI if one registers below .08% blood alcohol level. Recently, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction of a man whose blood alcohol level was only .03%, well below the statutory .08% per se (legal) level.

In this case, the officer testified that the defendant swerved his vehicle three times over the yellow center lines of the road. Then the Defendant approached an intersection and turned left without stopping at the stop sign. After being stopped, the Defendant failed all field sobriety tests and was subsequently arrested.

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that a person does not have to have a blood alcohol content of .08% or any drugs in his or her system in order to be found guilty of DUI.

The Court considered all of the evidence, including the Defendant’s failure to perform field sobriety tests satisfactorily and the police officer’s observation of driving infractions by the Defendant, was sufficient to uphold the conviction.

This case emphasizes the need to be certain a qualified lawyer with sufficient DUI or DWI defense experience and expertise is hired to defend a Driving Under the Influence case even if the blood alcohol level is below the per se (legal) limit of .08%.