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What Is Considered A High BAC For A DUI?

Shot of a police officer asking a young driver to use a breathalyzer.

Blood alcohol content, or "BAC," refers to the percentage of alcohol found in a person's bloodstream. You can be charged with driving under the influence if you get pulled over and have a BAC percentage higher than the legal limit.

Police can test your blood alcohol content (BAC) after a car accident, especially if there is reason to suspect you were driving drunk or impaired. You can also have your BAC tested if a police officer stops you and there is probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol. If your BAC is above the 0.08 legal limit, you can be charged with DUI.

However, most states also levy additional penalties on drivers with BACs deemed "dangerously high." If you are arrested for DUI with a high BAC, you can lose your license, face hefty fines, and serve jail time.

And while you may assume your high BAC will result in a guilty verdict, it is possible to avoid a conviction in some circumstances. The key is to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer in your area who can defend your rights and fight for your case's best possible outcome.

What are the effects of a high BAC?

Every state, minus Utah, has 0.08% as the legal BAC limit. If your BAC is 0.08, it means there is a presumption you are too impaired to drive. You will face more severe penalties in most states if your BAC is 0.15% or higher.

The higher your BAC, the more likely you will be involved in a fatal car accident. As BAC increases, impairment becomes more extreme:

  • BAC of 0.15% - With this level of BAC, you will typically lose some control over your muscles, and because of this, your ability to walk, talk, and keep your balance will be negatively affected. At this level, your judgment often cannot be trusted.
  • BAC of 0.16% to 0.20% - A person with this much alcohol in their system will most likely have sloppy and uncontrolled movements. They will seem confused and feel dizzy or sick.
  • BAC 0.21% to 0.30% - A person at this level of intoxication will usually not be able to stand. They will fall over and need assistance to stand up. In addition, you may experience vomiting and blackout.
  • BAC of 0.31% to 0.40% - A BAC this high can be lethal. At this level, it's common to lose consciousness.

High BAC in Michigan

Michigan has detailed laws and penalties for a higher BAC. Michigan law states that drivers can be arrested at any BAC level if they show signs of impairment while behind the wheel. Stricter penalties will result in those with a BAC of 0.17% or above.

For a first offense, if BAC is 0.17% or higher, the penalties include the following:

  • Up to $700 in fines.
  • Up to 180 days in jail.
  • Up to 360 hours of community service.
  • License suspension for up to a year. (A restricted license may be granted after the first 45 days with an ignition interlock.)
  • 6 points on a driver's license.
  • Completion of an alcohol treatment program.

Legal help is available in Michigan if you've been charged with DUI.

Being charged with DUI in Michigan is serious and can be challenging to navigate alone. However, it's important to remember that a prosecutor still has to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, there are legal strategies a DUI defense attorney can use to undermine the prosecution's case against you, which is why you should seek experienced legal representation before you accept a guilty verdict.

To fight a serious charge, you need a serious lawyer. The attorneys at Manley & Manley know what it takes to get your charges reduced or dropped. With more than 70 years of combined legal experience, we can help you fight charges and help you move forward after an arrest.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation to learn more about how we can help you. Our office is in Flint, and we serve clients throughout Michigan.

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