The Over 80 Rule: Understanding What the Law Says


If an individual chooses to consume an alcoholic beverage, but still has to drive afterward, it is important that they remain cognizant of the legal limit, which is 80mg.  Driving while under the influence is an incredibly serious and important matter. Due to the grave implications that driving under the influence of alcohol can bring, it is necessary to be aware of the over 80 rule.

Alcohol consumption affects others differently depending on their weight and whether they are male or female. When referencing a standard drink, there are three different types to acknowledge. Firstly, a 12 oz. beer constitutes as one drink, secondly, a glass of wine at 5 oz. is considered to be one drink, and thirdly, a drink containing 1.5 oz. of liquor is recognized as one drink.

These volumes of alcohol may affect people differently depending on their size and whether or not they are male or female. Although individuals may be affected more greatly if they are female and smaller, that does not mean that 80mg of alcohol shows up in the bloodstream as a lesser amount if you are a large male. Therefore, no matter your size or gender, it becomes pertinent to adhere to the 80mg of alcohol rule.

Alcohol primarily impairs judgement. Even though a person may feel as though they have built up a tolerance to alcohol and therefore the over 80 rule does not necessarily apply to them, or it can be applied more loosely, that also is not the case. Tolerance to an alcoholic substance does not change the amount of alcohol found within a person’s blood. Regardless of a person’s tolerance, 80mg of alcohol translates to a Blood Alcohol Concentration (or BAC) of 0.08, which puts an individual over the legal limit. If someone has a BAC of 0.05 to 0.08, this area is called the “warn range.” The warn range can still put a person in a situation where they may be reprimanded with serious consequences.

Driving under the influence does not only apply to driving a car. In fact, a person can receive a DUI while operating a vehicle, a motorboat, a snowmobile, a ski-doo, or an off-road vehicle. Often times, people will assume that just because they are not driving a vehicle that they are exempt from being charged with a DUI by the police. However, it is just as important for an individual to adhere to the over 80 rule whether they are driving a car or even a ski-doo. No matter what you are driving, the police are able to pull you over and conduct a series of sobriety tests in order to ascertain a person’s level of intoxication.

If a policeman or policewoman believes that a certain individual is overly intoxicated, there are a series of steps that they must complete. In fact, they are more likely to choose to conduct a sobriety test if a person has been charged with a DUI in the past, if they are able to smell alcohol on a person or their vehicle, if a officer notices an open container of alcohol within the vehicle, or that the officer believes the individual was driving dangerously or erratically.

If they concerned about any of the reasons above, they must first bring the suspect to the police station in order to conduct a sobriety test. This test includes two different breathalyzer tests, each 15 minutes apart from one another. Although an individual does have the right to refuse a breathalyzer, if one does not blow hard enough in order to “trick” the test and blow a lower BAC, or if a police officer believes the suspect is avoiding taking the test in order to increase time and decrease their BAC, they can be charged with a failure to comply.

In order to avoid receiving a DUI, it is important to always apply the over 80 rules. But, sometimes, mistakes can be made and a “driving under the influence” sentence can be given. So, what happens if a person receives a DUI? It is important to find legal representation so that a person is able to exercise all of their legal options. A DUI attorney has the experience to discuss legal options, request additional evidence, and negotiate with the prosecution. Therefore, it becomes almost essential to employ a defense attorney.

Often times, a defense attorney will provide a free consultation in order to assess the situation and provide a cost estimate for their legal services. Although a DUI can seem incredibly overwhelming and almost the end of the world, that is not the case. In fact, there are some instances in which a criminal record can be completely avoided. If not, roughly  2% of DUI cases actually go to trial. This is often due to the fact that a plea bargain is made by the defense and prosecution. Even though receiving a DUI can be daunting and even upsetting, employing a defense attorney will provide a large leg up when tackling a driving under the influence charge.

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