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Is Buzzed Driving Drunk Driving?


In the United States, most everyone knows that driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is illegal. Alcohol consumption impairs your thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination, which are all vital when operating a vehicle. This law is put in place for the safety of everyone who is on the road. But is it the same for buzzed driving?

Consider this hypothetical scenario: After attending a happy hour with your co-workers, you might be wondering if it’s safe to get behind the wheel. You know that you’re not drunk, but can you confidently say that your senses are 100% present? Before you start the ignition and drive out of the parking lot, our DUI attorney looks at the implications of driving while buzzed.

How does alcohol affect driving?

While there is no legal definition for buzzed driving, most would agree that it lies between the range of .02% to .07% BAC. According to, at those levels, your vision begins to distort, your reaction time reduces, and your judgment is impaired.

Furthermore, reports from a study by the University of California, San Diego found that even “minimally buzzed” (.01% BAC) drivers are more often at fault for fatal crashes than the sober drivers they collide with.

While the “magic” number for a person to legally drive is below .08% BAC, it’s clear that there are safety risks of consuming any amount of alcohol and getting on the road. It’s important to note that it is possible to be arrested for driving under the influence even if your BAC registers under .08% if the officer has probable cause to believe that your ability to drive is impaired.

If you or a loved one has been accused of driving under the influence, you don’t have to fight the charge alone. Our New Jersey DUI/DWI attorneys at Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC are on your side. Call us at (201) 574-7919 now to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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