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How is your driving impaired when you're under the legal limit?

One person dies approximately every hour in this country in a drunk-driving accident. That disturbing statistic is courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As summer gets into full swing and people increasing head to barbeques, pool parties, concerts and ballparks, the number of drivers getting behind the wheel with alcohol in their system increases.

Most people believe that they can drive safely after a drink or two when their blood alcohol concentration is under the legal limit of .08 percent. However, driving ability can indeed be impacted for a person well under the limit. It's also important to understand that you can be charged with a DUI if your BAC is under .08 if police determine that you are impaired.

Following are the ways in which a person's driving can be impacted even when they're under the legal limit, according to the CDC:

-- BAC of .02 (about two drinks): Decline in visual functions such as tracking and in the ability to perform more than one task simultaneously

-- BAC of .05 (about three drinks): Difficulty steering, reduced coordination, ability to track objects that are moving and to respond to emergency situations

-- At the legal limit of .08 (about four drinks), numerous changes take place in the brain and body. These can impact things like the ability to process information, memory and perception.

Note that different types of alcoholic beverages have different levels of alcohol. The term "drink" according to the CDC refers to 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled liquor or spirits, assuming their usual alcohol content.

If you are arrested for drunk driving, but your BAC is under the legal limit, you may be able to fight the charges since they'll likely be based on the arresting officer's observations. A Connecticut criminal defense attorney with experience handling drunk driving cases can provide guidance and work to help mitigate the legal consequences.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Impaired Driving: Get the Facts," accessed June 17, 2016

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