Many driver’s who want to drink but still want to drive home safe ask, “Can I Get a DUI Under a .08 BAC in Oregon?”
In short, yes. You can be charged with DUI even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below a .08.
There are multiple ways for the government to prove DUI in Oregon. Some of the methods of proof involve drugs (“controlled substances”), others involve only alcohol (“intoxicating liquor”), and some involve combination of drugs and alcohol. When people refer to the “legal limit,” they are referring to the .08 BAC that Oregon has standardized as the blood alcohol level at which everyone is presumed to be intoxicated and impaired by alcohol. This means that everyone at a .08 BAC is assumed to be drunk, intoxicated, and impaired– regardless of their sex, body type, or tolerance for alcohol. The NHTSA has advocated for the .08 BAC standard nationwide and continues to do so.
Some City Attorneys and County District Attorneys in Oregon will still charge a DUI under .08. It’s not uncommon to see prosecutors charge DUIs at .07, .06, .05, and even .04 BACs. This is because law enforcement believes that most drivers are negatively affected– mentally or physically– well-before a .08 BAC. This article from OregonLive.com (although a bit dated from 2011) explains how many in Oregon law enforcement view DUIs under .08.
Believe it or not, there is some good news for drivers stopped, investigated, and arrested for DUI under .08. A breath test reading below .08 will not typically result in an administrative driver’s license suspension. This type of suspension– called an “Implied Consent suspension” can often result in a 90-day, 1-year, or even 3-year driver’s license suspension, so avoiding this type of suspension is a good thing. However, if you’re under 21, were driving a commercial motor vehicle, you hold a commercial driver’s license, or refuse to provide a urine sample when asked, an administrative suspension could still be imposed. Contact a DUI attorney immediately for more information.