Term of the Day
Per Se Limit
Definition - What does Per Se Limit mean?
What does "Per Se Limit" mean?
The term "Per Se Limit" pertains to a set of laws classified as "Per Se" laws. These laws establish that once someone crosses a particular blood alcohol concentration or BAC, that person can be deemed formally intoxicated. After someone has been deemed legally intoxicated, the court no longer has to attempt and prove that that person was under the influence of alcohol. This establishes a sense of general caution over individuals who drink in the United States. This is because no matter how sober or capable someone thinks they are, legally the only thing that matters is their blood alcohol concentration. This means that even if someone is unimpaired by a blood alcohol concentration higher than the set Per Se Limit in his or her location, the person can be charged as if they were impaired.
What is the Per Se Limit?
The Per Se Limit is different in every single place around the world. However, in the United States, the current Per Se Limit for a blood alcohol concentration is .08%. This limit was proposed in 1998 and was heavily influenced by the anti-drunk driving organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD. As of 2004, this law was passed and made the standard for every single state in the United States.
Can I still get a DUI even if I am under the Per Se Limit?
The short answer is yes. However, it is much harder to be charged with a DUI without the formal blood alcohol concentration confirmation. Instead, a police officer has to give concrete evidence that the person in question was impaired to the point where it made it dangerous for them to drive. This is because a .08 blood alcohol concentration for one individual may affect them entirely differently than a .08 blood alcohol concentration of another person.
What is the Per Se Limit for minors?
In most areas, the Per Se Limit for people under the age of twenty-one years old is .02%. While someone with this blood alcohol concentration may be extremely far away from actually being impaired, the United States holds a strict viewpoint against underage drinking and recognizes that minors may not fully comprehend their limits when it comes to drinking. Similarly to how the .08% limit for adults is meant to keep people responsible and aware of their drinking, the .02% limit is designed to deter minors from drinking in the first place.
Ultimately, the best thing to do to avoid being over the Per Se Limit is either keeping the drinks you consume to a minimum, not drinking at all, or finding a designated driver to accompany you. The last option is the best because you will not have to worry about going over your Per Se Limit or getting home safely. A final option is taking a taxi home or some other form of public transportation, so you have no possible way of getting hurt. If you are questioning whether or not you can drive, you should always go with the safest option.