Yes, you can still be charged with a DWI even when your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit. A DWI charge is a separate offense from a .08 or more alcohol concentration charge. A straight DWI charge does not require the prosecution to prove that your blood alcohol level was at or above the legal limit. A straight DWI charge is a conduct based offense that can be proved at trial through testimony by the officer regarding his observations of intoxication and the results of field sobriety testing. The prosecutor need only prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol. A police officer who has prior experience with DWI arrests can render an opinion at trial that your were driving under the influence of alcohol. The opinion will be based on his observations regarding the odor of alcohol on your breadth, bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech, an admission of drinking, and impaired driving conduct. The good news is that if you test below .08, you will not lose your driver’s licence and you have a good shot at having the charge amended down to careless driving.

If you or someone you know tested below the legal limit and has been charged with a straight DWI, you will need an experienced DWI defense attorney to avoid a conviction. Call Twin Cities defense attorney Robert J. Shane for a free phone consultation at (612) 339-1024 or visit his website for more information on DWI defense at