A few casual drinks may not seem like enough to get in trouble, but safe numbers aren’t always strong enough to save you from a drinking and driving charge. Staying within the limit on a breathalyzer might not be the free pass you’d expect.

Colorado police arrest almost 60 people every day for impaired driving. And it may not be true that each of those operators failed a roadside breathalyzer. While the national legal limit is set at .08, the bar could be lower if you show signs that you’re unable to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Driving consequences

Drivers may feel the effects of alcohol soon after a drink or two, especially if other substances are involved, and there are ways those effects can become unsafe:

  • Calculating: Alcohol will start relaxing the muscles in your body, including those in your eyes, and altering your mental capacity at just a .02 BAC. Your ability to track moving objects and multitask, both important skills for drivers, are the first things to wane.
  • Coordination: The trend will continue at .05, where you might have a harder time focusing your eyes and spotting hazards. Your ability to remain alert, judge situations and respond quickly will also likely take a hit.
  • Control: The reasons for the limit being set at a .08 BAC become clear as coordination becomes very difficult. You’ll probably have trouble seeing, hearing and steering all at the same time. Your capacity for controlling a consistent speed, identifying dangers and making good decisions will diminish beyond safe levels.

A combination of signs of impairment and other failed roadside tests could make a successful breathalyzer irrelevant. Thinking that there’s no way you’re over the legal limit when it may not be the protection you need can quickly lead to trouble. There are several avenues for defense when it comes to drinking and driving charges, but your actions after the police stop could derail many of them.

Make sure you understand the rules when it comes to drinking and driving troubles. Getting the best outcome could depend on your ability to act in your own best interest when the time comes.