In Maryland, an officer can charge you with driving under the influence (DUI) if your blood alcohol content (BAC) level during a traffic stop test is at least .08%. You might think you’ll be fine for as long as you don’t hit .08%. However, the state is strict when it comes to blood alcohol levels, and the mere presence of alcohol can combine with other evidence to allow a DUI charge to stick.
State law on BACs lower than .08%
Maryland takes a tiered approach when it comes to handling drivers with BAC levels lower than .08%, and under the right circumstances, even a BAC of .02% can lead to license revocations.
Here’s what you can expect for having a certain BAC:
- BAC of .05% or less: If at the time of testing your BAC is .05% or less, officials will assume that you weren’t driving under the influence of alcohol.
- BAC over .05% but less than .07%: If your BAC lands somewhere between this range, officials can’t presume that you were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the traffic stop with that information alone. However, the information can still be used with other competent evidence (i.e., the results of other roadside tests) to determine if you were driving under the influence.
- BAC of at least .07%, but less than .08%: If your BAC is at least .07% or very close to the .08% threshold, the information is considered sufficient evidence to charge you for driving with alcohol in your blood.
- BAC of .02 or more, but you have an alcohol restriction: If your driver’s license has an alcohol restriction due to a previous DUI conviction, an officer can immediately revoke your license if roadside testing reveals a BAC of at least .02%. This is because the restriction prohibits you from consuming any amount of alcohol before driving.
Generally speaking, you don’t want to have any traces of alcohol in your system if you want to avoid DUI charges. Abstaining from alcohol becomes even more important for those with previous DUI convictions. So always drink responsibly, and if you feel even a little buzzed, consider having a friend or a cab drive you home.