Everyone knows that today’s standard for Breathalyzer testing is .08. When you reach that level of intoxication, you are unfit to drive and will be charged with drunk driving if the police pull you over. What many people don’t realize is that you do not need to reach that blood alcohol content for the police to charge you.

Breathalyzer testing is a relatively new technique. Despite many states adopting its use in the 70s and 80s, it has been under scrutiny by the courts since its early days. In fact, criminal justice reform advocates across the nation continue to challenge police use of breath tests. So, many departments rely upon a variety of other tests to confirm test results or otherwise implicate you during a DUI stop.

The law asks cops to make a judgment call

North Carolina, like almost all other states, allows a police officer to arrest you for a DUI if you blow a .08 or if you are visibly intoxicated. But “visibly intoxicated” is not an objective standard and can leave many people at the mercy of a police officer’s perceptions. Sometimes, these perceptions work to your disadvantage. For instance, a person who suffers from vertigo or an inner ear infection may have a balance issue that is completely unrelated to their alcohol consumption.

In these instances, the arrested person may still be charged with a DUI and the officer’s testimony, if left unchallenged, may lead to thousands of dollars in fines, a lost license, the surrender of your car and other serious consequences.

You need to know your rights

Police officers can only pull you over and subject you to intoxication testing under certain circumstances, and they need to be meticulous in their reporting. A combination of critical examination, witness testimony and other evidence may exonerate you.