It’s possible in California to be charged with DUI even if you are not “over the legal limit,” that is, even if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) level is below 0.08 percent. Under California law, “it is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.” It’s the second part of the same law which makes it “unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.”

Most people in California know the second part of the law but are confused about the first part. Even after one beer, the police can take you into custody and charge you with a DUI. However, with the help of an experienced California DUI attorney, you can usually get such a charge reduced or dismissed.

Let’s say you are a very responsible citizen – a paragon of virtue, upstanding in your community. You almost never drink, much less drink and drive, but at your daughter’s wedding reception, you have two tiny glasses of champagne. On the way home, as you discuss the wedding and reception with your wife, you are stopped by the police for driving too slow in the fast lane. When the police ask if you’ve been drinking, you admit to the two glasses of champagne. The officers ask you to submit to an alcohol screening test, and your BAC level is measured at 0.03 percent. They arrest you and charge you with DUI.

A good DUI defense lawyer will prove that you are a responsible citizen and argue that the charge should be dismissed or at least reduced to a minor traffic charge. He or she will probably succeed with this approach. It is always worthwhile to obtain the services of an experienced DUI defense attorney if you face any DUI charge in California. Many drivers so charged are not actually impaired and do not present a threat to the public’s safety. The scenario described here could happen to almost anyone. If you are charged with DUI – now or in the future – get the legal help you need and call an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately.