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Don't rely on rules of thumb to avoid drunk driving charges

When it comes to deciding whether it is safe to drive after consuming alcohol, many people count drinks per hour or rely on other rules of thumb to estimate their likely levels of impairment. In other cases, people simply rely on how they feel. Unfortunately, however, these methods are unreliable at best and relying on them can easily result in impaired driving charges for people who sincerely thought they were sober enough to drive.

As in all U.S. states, it is illegal to drive in North Carolina with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or above. This is what is known as a "per se" limit, which means that simply having a BAC at or above that threshold is enough to be automatically considered too drunk to drive. It does not matter whether or not the driver feels impaired or shows any other signs of intoxication.

This is important to keep in mind, since a BAC of 0.08 may feel very different from one person to another. In fact, it may even feel different for the same person from one day to the next, depending on a variety of factors such as how well rested the individual is and how recently he or she has eaten.

Therefore, when in doubt it is always better to err on the side of caution and find another way to get around rather than risk being charged with driving under the influence. Although calling a cab or arranging a place to stay for the night may seem inconvenient or expensive, the consequences of a drunk driving arrest are likely to be far more costly and time consuming even if you are able to avoid conviction and the associated penalties, such as jail time, fines and license suspension.

Source: Huffington Post, "DUI: No, We Really Don't Know Ourselves!" Saul Segan, May 16, 2014

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