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What is DUI Per Se?

If you are arrested for a DUI, the odds are that you will be charged with two offenses: DUI and DUI per se. These offenses are separate and need to be defended separately at trial. So what’s the difference between the two? Learn more, below.


Learn the difference between a DUI and a DUI per se, in our blog.

DUI vs. DUI Per Se


The difference between a DUI and DUI per se is that the DUI charge doesn’t take your BAC (blood alcohol content into consideration). It just looks at whether or not you were impaired. A DUI per se charge comes into effect when you are found to be driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. You do not necessarily need to be “impaired in order to be charged with a DUI per se, but this charge can often be used to convince a jury that you were under the influence.


In order for you to be convicted of a DUI offense, the prosecutor must prove:

  • that you were operating a vehicle,
  • and that you were physical or mentally impaired as a result of alcohol or drugs or a combination while you were operating the vehicle.

Your BAC is not what’s being considered in this charge, only if you were impaired while operating a vehicle.

DUI Per Se

In order for you to be convicted of a DUI per se, the prosecutor must prove:

  • that you had a BAC of .08 or higher.

Whether or not you were impaired is not what’s being considered in this charge. Tolerance to the effects of alcohol depends on an individual’s metabolism, rates of absorption, and drinking history. As a result, how impaired someone with a BAC of .08 feels varies greatly from person to person. Those with a higher tolerance might not necessarily feel impaired at a BAC of .08.

But this doesn’t matter for a DUI per se. All that matters is your BAC. If you take a breathalyzer, urine or blood test and get a reading of .08 or higher, you will be charged with a DUI per se. And not only that, but in many cases this can be used in court to convince the jury that you were impaired.

You are within your rights to refuse field sobriety tests, breathalyzers and other chemical testing. Refusing a field sobriety test and/or field breathalyzer will result in your arrest, and refusing post-arrest chemical testing will result in the suspension of your license in Maryland.


Bruce Robinson & Associates is a criminal defense law firm based in Baltimore, MD. If you have been accused of criminal actions and need to seek aggressive counsel, Robinson & Associates is here to help. For more information and to schedule your free consultation, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395 or visit us at You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


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