You certainly understand the risk of getting a DUI, so you make sure you always have a ride anytime that you drink, or you simply drink at home so that you don’t have to drive. You do everything you can to avoid an accident or legal charges.
But could you get a DUI even if you didn’t realize you were drinking? For most drivers, the answer is generally no. This is because their BAC limit is set at 0.08%. That’s high enough that most people who hit it at least feel the effects of the alcohol and know that they have had something to drink, so there’s no way it could happen accidentally.
Things change if you’re a minor
However, if you’re underage, you have to deal with Iowa’s Zero Tolerance law. This law lowers the BAC level for drivers who are under 21, setting it at 0.02%. The general idea is that a driver can get arrested on DUI charges if alcohol is detected at all.
That level is so low, though, that you may not feel the alcohol in your system. This means that there’s an extra risk from something like a spiked drink. You could also be given what you think is just seltzer water, but that contains a small amount of alcohol. If you don’t know that you’re drinking and you feel completely sober, you could get in the car and still be in violation of the Zero Tolerance law due to your age.
As such, you could end up facing serious DUI charges even though you didn’t mean to break the law, and you must know about all of your legal defense options.