In the state of Louisiana, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content, or BAC, greater than 0.08. However, you may still be charged with drunk or impaired driving even if a Breathalyzer test determines that your BAC is below the legal limit.
Are you showing other signs of impairment?
An officer will look for physical signs of impairment such as bloodshot eyes or a disheveled appearance. Slurred speech, difficulty standing or an inability to follow directions may also be interpreted as clues that you are under the influence of alcohol.
Breathalyzer tests aren’t always accurate
If the machine used to conduct your Breathalyzer test isn’t properly calibrated, it may render an inaccurate result. In some cases, your BAC may be under the legal limit simply because enough time elapsed between your last drink and the time the test was administered. As a general rule, your body can metabolize the equivalent of one drink per hour. This means that your blood alcohol level will drop by about 0.02 every 60 minutes.
Breathalyzer tests won’t find evidence of drug use
Motorists can be taken into custody for driving under the influence of controlled substances. In fact, it may be possible to be charged with DUI for operating a motor vehicle after taking prescription medication. At a minimum, an officer may request that you submit to a blood test to look for the presence of marijuana, cocaine or other illegal substances in your system.
If you are charged with DUI, it may be in your best interest to consult with a criminal defense attorney. He or she may be able to dispute the results of a Breathalyzer test or take other steps to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your case. In the event that your case is dismissed, it may be possible to have a DUI charge sealed or removed from your record.