You might want to think twice about climbing into your car after having even just one drink. While the legal blood alcohol content threshold in Georgia is .08, that does not mean that an officer cannot arrest you for a DUI with a lower BAC.
According to Georgia statutes, a driver cannot be in control of a vehicle “under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive.” What this means is that you should worry about more than what a blood alcohol test might show.
What does “less safe” mean?
The term “less safe” can be broadly interpreted and leaves law enforcement with quite a bit of room to determine if they believe a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence. Law enforcement might consider driving erratically, violating traffic laws and indicative behavior like slurred speech during an interaction, signs that a driver is under the influence to the extent that it is less safe.
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, people have various levels of tolerance to alcohol, and heavy drinkers can even build up a functional tolerance to it, meaning that they show few signs of intoxication even with very high BAC levels. Others may have a very low tolerance for alcohol and show signs of intoxication even when their BAC is under the legal limit.
Why the legal limit?
If law enforcement can arrest you for DUI even if your BAC is under the legal limit, why does the limit exist in the first place? The limit puts a threshold in place where impairment is automatically assumed. Even if you show functional tolerance, if your BAC is .08 or higher, law enforcement can arrest you for DUI.