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Can I get a DWI if my BAC is below the legal limit?

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Summer fun at parties or on the lake in St. Cloud means good food, good company and for many a good beer, glass of wine or cocktail. However, the summer fun can come to an abrupt end if you are pulled over while driving home and arrested for driving while impaired (DWI).

Minnesota’s prohibitions on driving while impaired

Minnesota law prohibits driving while impaired under several circumstances. Most people in St. Cloud already know that you can get a DWI if you are driving with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above. This is generally referred to as DWI “Per se.” However, under Minnesota law you can still get a DWI if you are driving under the influence of alcohol and are too impaired to drive safely even if your BAC is under the legal limit. Driving while under the influence of a controlled substance is also against the law.

Can a BAC below the legal limit really impair my driving ability?

It may seem unlikely that a BAC below the legal limit would render you unfit to drive. However, this is not necessarily so. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person with a BAC of 0.05 can find it more difficult to coordinate their movements, track moving objects, steer their vehicle and respond to emergency driving situations. Even a BAC of 0.02 can reduce a person’s ability to track moving objects or divide their ability to divide their attention between two tasks at the same time.

Learn more about DWI in Minnesota

As you can see, DWI charges in Minnesota are not limited to those with a BAC above the legal limit. However, it can be confusing to determine what your rights and options are if you receive a DWI. Fortunately, help is available. Our firm’s webpage on DWI may be of interest to those who want to learn more about this topic.