What is “impaired to the slightest degree”? Why you must understand what it means for your DUI charge In Arizona and other states it is widely known that the legal limit for driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is over a .08 blood or breath alcohol level. But what is not commonly talked about is that a person can get a DUI even if their Blood/Breath Alcohol level is less than a .08. Yes, if your BAC is less than a .08 you can get a DUI.
A.R.S. 12-1381(a)(1) says that if a person drives or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating substance and is “impaired to the slightest degree” than you are guilty of a DUI.
This provision in the law is essentially the catch all provision for DUI. So if you have a blood or breath result that is lower than a .08 and the State will not dismiss the DUI than you are dealing with this provision in the law. So how does the State prove that you are impaired to the slightest degree?
To prove that a person is “impaired to the slightest degree” the prosecution will usually focus on bad driving, poor FSTs, the suspects appearance and demeanor, and any other things the prosecution will think helpful. Knowing what the prosecution will use to prove “impairment to the slightest degree” is important because if a person exercises their constitutional rights they can limit the evidence the prosecution will have to prove their case. To know your rights read my 10 tips for dealing with a DUI.
If your Blood or Breath results come back lower than a .08 than you should call an experienced DUI lawyer immediately to help protect your rights and try to prevent a DUI conviction.