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Why a spiked drink is a bigger issue for young drivers

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | DUI/OWI

In some cases, drivers who get pulled over on suspicion of impaired driving will claim that their drink must have been spiked. They did not know that they were drinking alcohol at all. But they have failed the test, meaning that there is alcohol in their system, and they allege that someone else was responsible.

For most drivers, though, the legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. This is high enough that the average adult would not reach this level after consuming a single spiked drink. Additionally, anyone at 0.08% would theoretically be able to tell that they were impaired. They would feel the intoxicating effects of the alcohol.

Zero tolerance laws

But Iowa has zero-tolerance laws for underage drivers. This means that they could be arrested on drunk driving charges if the breath test shows almost any alcohol at all. With a BAC of 0.02% or higher, these drivers could find themselves facing charges. They do not have to get all the way to the 0.08% limit because they are under 21.

But this means that a young driver may legitimately not know that their drink was spiked. They may not have consumed very much alcohol, and they can’t feel the effects of it. They never intended to drink, and they did not know that someone else put alcohol in their beverage until they took the breath test. 

This could still lead to DUI charges with a BAC of 0.02% or higher. As such, drivers who are facing these charges need to know exactly what legal defense options they have.