Ask a Dispatcher
Q. On today's dispatches it showed a 33 year old male arrested for DUI with a breath alcohol content of .071. I thought the legal limit was .08 unless it is a commercial vehicle where is zero tolerance?
Dear Juneau Resident,
The level of .08 is where any person is considered to be legally intoxicated but a person can certainly be intoxicated and driving under the influence with a breath alcohol under .08. The differences in the human body and tolerance for alcohol can vary widely. JPD officers have seen a range of tolerances. Someone can have all kinds of compromised physical ability, you would say in a heartbeat that they shouldn't be driving, and they are under .08. Of course the investigator does consider the possible use of drugs with the alcohol at that point but sometimes people just don't function well on alcohol. At the other extreme, there are people who admit to being addicted to alcohol and can appear almost sober and be double or more the legal limit. With those drivers you might just barely get probable cause for the DWI arrest then the show this really high Brac.
The investigation into the case you saw will involve the totality of the circumstances including driving and other clues of intoxication.
The issue you brought up is the very reason police don't support places like bars having breath testers to tell people if they are 'safe' to drive. If a driver was at .07 and ran into someone and hurt them, the fact they were under the .08 level would be of no comfort to the victim's family.