The crime of drunk driving is generally defined in two ways:
- Having a blood alcohol content above the legal limit
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, as showed by impaired driving
In Colorado, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08, or 8 percent. Therefore, if a person’s BAC at the time of the arrest is .08 or greater, he or she can be convicted of drunk driving, regardless of how much alcohol was actually consumed.
However, even if the police do not get a BAC, a person could still be convicted based on driving behavior. If a person’s driving is impaired by the consumption of alcohol, the prosecution can present testimony about the person’s driving and consumption of alcohol. For example, a police officer may testify about the impaired driving that lead him to pull the person over; the defendant’s ability to perform field sobriety tests, such as walking a straight line; the smell of alcohol; and statements by the defendant concerning alcohol consumption. If the jury agrees with this evidence, it will convict a person of drunk driving.
In both of these cases, the actual number of drinks may not matter. In Colorado, you can be found guilty of drunk driving even if you had only one drink.
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