When you drink alcohol, it can be measured in your blood. But having alcohol in your system may not necessarily mean you are legally intoxicated.
In Texas, you are legally intoxicated when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or more.
Why is 0.08% the limit?
BAC is the amount of alcohol in 100 milliliters (mL) of blood or 210 liters (L) of breath. Therefore, a 0.08 BAC means your blood is 0.08 alcohol by volume.
Someone’s behavior may change at any BAC level. But research shows that at 0.08%, one will experience poor muscle coordination, slower reaction time, slurred speech, difficulty detecting danger and impaired judgment, self-control and memory.
Therefore, at this level, a driver may find it challenging to keep their eyes open, control their speed or respond faster when needed. These effects make many states, including Texas, choose 0.08% as the legal intoxication level.
Although a driver is legally intoxicated when their BAC reaches 0.08%, they break the law as soon as alcohol affects their driving. Therefore, a driver’s BAC level may be below 0.08%, but they may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol if they lack the mental and physical capabilities to drive due to the introduction of alcohol into their body.
In other words, if your BAC is 0.08% or higher, you will most certainly be charged with drunk driving – but a BAC below that amount is no guarantee that you won’t be charged.
If you are charged with a DUI, you should obtain more information so that you can fully understand your defense options.