In the state of New Jersey, you are legally drunk if your blood alcohol level exceeds .08%. However, you could still be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol regardless of what your blood alcohol level is. This is because you may still be too impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Any amount of alcohol can impair your judgment
After a single drink, you will begin to lose control of your inhibitions. Furthermore, you will have trouble controlling the muscles that allow you to maintain control of your car. By the time your blood alcohol level has reached .08%, you may lack the ability to process information in a timely manner. Therefore, you may be at a higher risk of getting into a crash.
An officer only needs to see signs of impairment
An inability to maintain your lane, excessive speed or randomly hitting your vehicle’s brakes may all be signs of alcohol impairment that might lead to a traffic stop. Slurred speech, bloodshot eyes or an inability to stand up may also be interpreted by an officer as signs that you’re under the influence of alcohol. As a general rule, an officer can take you into custody if he or she has probable cause to believe that you’re a danger to others on the road.
Are you under the age of 21?
If you are under the age of 21, you could be taken into custody for drunk driving if a Breathalyzer test reveals that your blood alcohol level is .02% or higher. This is generally the case even if you aren’t showing any signs of impairment at the time that the test is taken.
If you are convicted of drunk driving, you might face penalties such as jail time, a fine or a license suspension. An attorney may be able to cast doubt on evidence presented against you at trial in an effort to help you avoid those penalties. An attorney may also take steps to have evidence suppressed before it can be introduced at trial.