Blood Alcohol Content – BAC Limits in The United States
The level of intoxication someone experiences is based on their blood alcohol content (BAC). Your BAC not only has an effect on your sobriety, but also influences the possible penalties you may face in regards to drunk driving.
To put this in perspective, let’s discuss a case where the police in North Providence Rhode Island arrested a man with a blood alcohol level that was more than six times the legal limit.
The DUI Case of Stanley Kobierowski
A man by the name of Stanley Kobierowski was arrested for drunk driving in July of 2008. The 34-year-old Kobierowski was arrested after driving into a highway message board on Interstate 95. Authorities said he had the highest blood alcohol level ever recorded for anyone in Rhode Island who wasn’t dead.
According to the police, Kobierowski registered a .489, then a .491, breathalyzer tests. Like most other states, the legal limit in Rhode Island is .08%. When the police arrived and attempted to administer a breathalyzer test, Kobierowski had trouble getting out of the car, then grabbed it and refused to move, forcing troopers to carry him to the breakdown lane before taking him back to their precinct.
According to public records, Kobierowski was so intoxicated that he had to be taken to a hospital, put in the detoxification unit and sedated. He was then arraigned on charges of driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest.
Kobierowski pleaded no contest to drunk driving charges and as part of a plea deal, the defendant was sentenced Friday to one year probation, a $500 fine, 40 hours of community service and a one-year loss of his driver’s license.
Laws Surrounding High BAC
Under certain state drunk driving laws such as those in Michigan, the extraordinary case of Mr. Kobierowski’s high BAC drunk driving incident would be classified as a “Super Drunk” offense. Generally speaking, these laws apply to incidents involving BAC levels of 0.17% or higher. This varies from state to state however the principle behind it is the same – to enforce stricter punishments against those who choose to operate a vehicle while excessively intoxicated and to act as a deterrent to others who may consider such a risk.
Generally speaking, these super drunk laws exist in states that already take drunk driving offenses very seriously. Of these, the strictest states include Arizona, Alaska, Michigan, West Virginia, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah and Virginia. All of these states have harsher penalties for those with BAC levels significantly above the nationwide 0.08% level. In general, these states impose a second level of penalties for these offenses, usually with similar types of punishments, just considerably higher.