What Are Drug Per Se Laws In DUI Cases?

Why are people so worried about getting a DUI? Apart from the negative connotations, fines and potential jail time, a DUI can put a huge damper on your finances. There is a bit of a misconception that a DUI can affect your credit score. However, a DUI doesn’t affect your credit score directly.

Instead, the financial effects of a DUI include paying hefty lawyer’s fees, trouble with employment etc. All which in turn can affect your ability to repay your debts, get new loans etc. This can all indirectly affect your credit score. With such dire outcomes, it’s no wonder why people worry about the effect of DUIs on their finances.

There are all sorts of legal terms that people need to know when they are accused of or arrested for DUI. “Per se” laws relating to DUI maintain that once a person is tested and found to have a blood alcohol concentration level, or BAC, of over .08%, then they are considered to be intoxicated according to the houston dwi law. If you have a BAC level higher than the legal limit of .08, then there does need not be any other evidence against you to prove that you were intoxicated and breaking the law and can be found guilty.

Due to per se laws, it is important for those who choose to have a couple of drinks and get behind the wheel of a car to understand that it might not be about what their limit is or when they are considered impaired. Every person is different, and BAC levels might make one person impaired, while another might not feel the effects of alcohol in any way. But that has no bearing on whether or not you are found guilty in a court of law.

The laws make it easier for prosecutors to plead DUI cases without having to prove that the individual driving the car was impaired or posed a danger; all they have to prove is that their blood alcohol concentration was over the legal limit. If they exceed the 0.08% prosecutors and law enforcement alike do not have to prove through any sobriety testing that the person was impaired; the arbitrary number alone makes a person guilty.

Does that mean there is no way to fight the BAC test?

Even though there are per se laws, defendants who do have a BAC higher than 0.08% do not necessarily have an open-and-shut case. There are exceptions to the law. For instance, defendants who go before the court do have other means to defend themselves from DUI charges. Using defenses like how the test was conducted or arguing the reliability of the test instrument itself are all valid arguments in the court of law.

There are specific procedures that have to be followed. If an officer steps outside of the procedures for BAC testing, then there is a good chance that someone can be found not guilty regardless of what their recorded BAC was. There are a plethora of criminal DUI defenses to implement if you find a DUI lawyer who has the experience and the knowledge to do so.

Drugs and the per se laws

Although per se laws set boundaries for BAC levels, they have no relation to allegations that someone is driving while under the influence of drugs. Many states have started to address the use of chemical or drug testing to equal BAC testing. So far there are per se drug laws in 15 states, three of which have a specific limit for chemical concentration. Other states have established a “zero tolerance” rule, which means that if you have any drugs in your system that show that you are impaired, prosecutors need nothing more to convict you. The problem with drug per se laws is that different drugs behave differently in the body and have a longer time to be traced. Some concentrations have nothing to do with whether someone is impaired or not, so the chemical per se laws are arbitrary at best, and many times do not hold up in court.

BAC levels are the gold standard for law enforcement to prove that someone is under the influence while driving. If you are tested and have a BAC of more than 0.08%, regardless of whether or not that amount made you impaired, it is possible to be found guilty in a court of law without law enforcement needing any more evidence against you. If you are pulled over and submit to a BAC test, and it is over 0.08%, it is imperative that you hire a lawyer who knows what other types of defenses to plead in court so that you aren’t found automatically guilty.