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What's the difference between sober and legally intoxicated?

Texans should be well aware that driving while intoxicated is illegal. It is also dangerous, as alcohol can impair judgment, reaction time and cognitive functions. However, many drivers who wind up facing DUI charges in Texas aren't obviously intoxicated. In fact, some are just barely over the legal limit.

If this sounds like your situation, you are likely quite upset because you might not have even felt like you had crossed the line to legal intoxication.

In all states, the legal limit for driving is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08. If you are at or above this limit, you are considered legally intoxicated. 

However, it is easy to misjudge your intoxication level when it is near 0.08 percent. It can be even more difficult to assess intoxication at lower levels. In fact, according to this article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the differences between a BAC of 0.02 percent, 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent can be very difficult to judge.

At 0.02 percent, a person can be feeling relaxed, which makes it more difficult to divide attention between two tasks. 

At 0.05 percent, a person can be feeling good and less inhibited. While there may be reduced coordination, a person probably isn't going to be falling over, and any change in reaction time or alertness will typically be very subtle. 

At 0.08 percent, a person can feel even less inhibited and less concerned about potentially dangerous decisions. Judgment, concentration and memory are further impaired, but again, the changes will typically be subtle.

As you can see, there is no clear-cut indicator that a person is below, at or above the legal limit, which can make it very easy to misjudge impairment.

With all this in mind, we want to remind readers charged with DUI that making a mistake does not make you a bad or reckless person. People aren't perfect, and judging impairment can be more difficult than you realize.

Remember, you have the right to defend yourself against DUI charges, and especially when your BAC was low and/or just over the legal limit, you could negotiate a reduction or dismissal of charges and penalties. 

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