It is natural to want to celebrate the end of the summer season, and many people attend celebrations such as barbecues, pool parties or even weddings at this time of year. But if you have consumed alcohol at an end-of-summer bash and then try to drive home, you could find yourself facing a DUI arrest even if your blood-alcohol concentration is below the legal limit.
DUI “per se”
Most of us already know that if we are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and perform a Breathalyzer test that show our BAC is 0.08% or above, we can be arrested for DUI. This is referred to a “per se” DUI. Basically, that means that the police do not need to show any additional evidence to prove we were intoxicated at the time of our arrest.
“Common law” DUI
However, you can also be subject to a DUI arrest even if your BAC is lower than the legal limit. This is referred to as “common law” DUI. For example, the police may observe you driving erratically, you could fail a field sobriety test, or the police could smell alcohol on your breath or see open containers in the cup holder or passenger’s seat. If so, you could be arrested for DUI.
The difference between this and DUI per se is that police need to provide evidence of your impairment that is “commonly understood” to be signs of intoxication.
It may seem unfair that you could be arrested for DUI if your BAC was below the legal limit or was never assessed at all. Still, Mississippi law provides police the opportunity to arrest a motorist for DUI even if a Breathalyzer test is not performed. Therefore, it is good to understand all DUI offenses so you can formulate a strong defense on the chance that you are arrested for drunk driving.