On behalf of Law Offices of Kathleen G. Alvarado on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.

Personal breathalyzers now make it possible to know your blood alcohol content (BAC) level before heading out onto the road. Those who test themselves will likely be looking to stay beneath the BAC legal limit of 0.08 percent. However, lower levels may still be dangerous.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), here are a few of the effects that your BAC score could have on your ability to drive.

0.02 percent

Though this level may seem low, hitting a 0.02 percent BAC level does create a loss of judgment in most people. An individual may already be experiencing a rise in temperature along with muscle relaxation.

This BAC level is likely to produce physical and mental effects that inhibit your ability to read passing signs easily or consider both traffic and road conditions equally.

0.05 percent

The conditions of a 0.02 percent BAC level are accompanied with flamboyant behavior, less awareness and less coordination at the 0.05 percent level.

Nearing the legal limit, this level may cause difficulty steering a vehicle and a smaller likelihood that the driver can safely navigate through hazardous conditions, such as rain or snow.

0.08 percent

At the legal limit, alcohol has taken its toll on all elements of a person’s muscle control, including their ability to balance, speak and hear.

With an overall poorer judgment, individuals have less self-control and may be unable to recall recent information and events. These issues could cause a driver to have difficulty maintaining safe driving speeds and responding to sudden changes, such as unexpected detours or stops.

0.10 percent

As a person’s BAC level rises, they continuously lose sensible control of their actions and awareness of surrounding events.

In addition to the previous effects, this level of alcohol inhibits an individual’s ability to stay in one driving lane during normal weather and road conditions. Driving under this condition is very dangerous.

0.15 percent

Individuals who have reached a 0.15 percent BAC are likely unable to stand or walk straight easily and may even fall down. The person will have trouble reading and understanding verbal instructions.

This results in a complete inability to use any fraction of the driving skills he or she has while sober. An individual at this level should be closely monitored.

Any amount of alcohol can impair a person’s ability to drive well, especially those who already have a poor driving record while sober. Portable testers aren’t always accurate and, in some cases, can be misleading if a person’s body hasn’t absorbed all of the alcohol consumed.

If you are facing DUI charges after mistakenly believing you were okay to drive, it’s important to contact an attorney for help. In California, first-time offenders face misdemeanor charges, punishable by 48 hours to six months of jail time, a fine up to $1,000 and six-month license suspension. Getting more than one DUI within ten years results in heightened penalties.

A Riverside DUI criminal defense attorney can help you seek the best outcome for your case and may even be able to provide treatment programs through drug court.