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Happy Hour drinks? Beware of a DUI

A lot of people enjoy Happy Hour. Co-workers might get off work to have a drink or two together, or college-aged students might meet up to drink to let off steam once they’re old enough.

For the most part, Happy Hour is safe because the idea is that you have a drink, relax and even have some dinner. You’re meant to stay awhile, and most people won’t get drunk in the middle of the daytime.

Unfortunately, even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below .08%, you could still face charges for driving while impaired.

How can you face DUI charges if you aren’t over the limit?

To start with, remember that the .08% limit is the per-se limit. That means that officers don’t need any more evidence than the Breathalyzer or blood test to prove that you were impaired while driving.

If you are driving dangerously or recklessly and are under the limit, the officer may ask you to perform some other tests. For example, you may need to complete field sobriety testing. If you fail those tests, then you could face an arrest and charges.

Can an officer follow you when you leave a restaurant where you participated in Happy Hour?

Officers cannot knowingly follow you with the goal of stopping and arresting you if they had drinks with you or encouraged you to drink while you were in the restaurant. That’s a form of entrapment. However, if a random officer happens to be following you and sees that you’ve made mistakes while driving, then they may stop you and complete DUI tests to see if you’re too impaired to drive.