Drinking Before You Drive in Calgary is Never a Good Idea: Part 2

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While it's best not to get behind the wheel in Calgary if you've had any alcohol to drink whatsoever, the law does define specific thresholds based on BAC or blood alcohol content that are used in many DUI cases to establish whether an administrative charge or criminal charge is warranted. Remember, though: your body is unique, and while you can estimate your BAC based on the number of drinks you've had in a given timeframe this is far from an exact measure.

In addition, you can be charged with a DUI even if you are below the legal BAC limit. If your driving is impaired by alcohol or another intoxicant, you can be charged with a DUI, period. And if you're even the slightest bit buzzed, your driving is impaired, even if you just had a single sip of booze.

Keep that in mind as you read about Calgary's three legally-defined BAC levels.

Below .05
For most people, one drink in one hour won't lead to a BAC over .05, and might not be intoxicating. People can and do experience changes to cognition and physiology even after a single drink, though, so if you feel buzzed don't drive. It's safest for everyone, physically and legally.

Between .05 and .08
Drivers in Calgary with a BAC of .05 or greater but less than .08 can find themselves charged with an administrative penalty. Drivers in this range are likely to be slightly impaired, with slower response times and poorer judgment.

.08 and Higher
Intoxication at this stage can be as extreme as significantly blurred vision, loss of balance and motor control, heavily slurred speech, and even loss of consciousness. You are an extreme danger to yourself and others if you drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, and can face a criminal DUI charge.

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