As a general rule, a driver cannot meet or exceed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%. This is not nearly as high as many people assume, but it generally takes an adult at least two or three drinks to get there. For some who have a high tolerance or who are physically larger, it could take even more than three drinks.
Either way, an adult would likely not be all that impacted by a single spiked drink. Even if they didn’t know that there was alcohol in the drink and they’d been tricked into drinking it, that one drink would not get their BAC up over 0.08%. Likewise, if they did have so much alcohol that they were over that legal limit, they would be able to feel the effects.
Unfortunately, a lot of that doesn’t apply to younger drivers.
The reason things are different for young drivers is that South Carolina has zero tolerance laws. These are used in many different states, so it’s not something that’s exclusive to South Carolina, but it is in place.
Under these laws, the BAC limit has been reduced to 0.02% for any driver who is under 21 years old. That’s because 21 is the legal drinking age. The idea behind this law is to cut back on underage drinking and driving by simply saying that any young driver who tests positive for alcohol can get a DUI.
That’s why a spike to drink could be a serious risk. That drink might not contain all that much alcohol, so the person drinking it won’t even know that someone else has spiked it against their will. They may not even feel the effects of the alcohol, if they’re only at 0.02% BAC. In other words, they may have absolutely no idea that they’ve actually been drinking.
But, if they’re then pulled over by the police, they could have a BAC that is high enough for them to get a DUI. They may argue that it’s involuntary intoxication, but that doesn’t mean that the officer is going to believe them.
What options do you have?
If you are a young driver or you’re a parent of someone who has been picked up on DUI charges, it’s very important for you to understand all the legal defense options at your disposal.