Man Arrested for DUI Despite Passing BAC Test

A New Jersey man was arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania despite the fact he passed the BAC test.  The legal limit for a DUI in Pennsylvania is 0.08.  The man’s BAC level was a 0.043.  The man agreed to a blood draw to determine his BAC level.  If his BAC was below the legal limit for a DUI, why was he arrested for a DUI?  There are a few possible reasons:

1.  The police officers were simply wrong when they arrested him.

2.  The story does not specify whether the BAC test the driver passed was a PBT (portable breath test) or more reliable type of testing.  In Colorado, PBT results are not considered to be reliable and, therefore, cannot be used as evidence.  If the PBT result showed a level below the legal limit for a DUI, but the officer had good reason to believe the driver was more intoxicated than the BAC shown by the PBT, the officer could have arrested the man for a DUI and asked him to submit to a chemical test of his blood or breath, which are more reliable forms of testing.

3.  If the 0.043 BAC was the result of the blood test, then the prosecution will likely dismiss the DUI charge when the driver goes to court.  It takes time to process a blood sample, so at the time of the incident, officers would not have known the blood test results.  Without knowing the actual BAC, if the officers had other evidence to support a DUI arrest, then they may arrest for suspicion of DUI without knowing the actual BAC.

4.  If the officers suspected any drug use, then a BAC below the legal limit may not exonerate the driver.  If a person mixes alcohol and drugs, the combination may be sufficient to render the driver under the influence, supporting a DUI arrest even if the blood alcohol level alone is below the legal limit.