Troopers: You can be charged with DWI if your BAC is below legal limit

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man was arrested for allegedly driving drunk to Louisiana State Police Troop A headquarters this weekend after a crash. His wife says her husband did nothing wrong. State Police confirms his blood alcohol content was below the legal limit, but according to them, you don't have to be at a .08% BAC to be charged.

State Police Investigators say 31-year-old Patrick Ruffner showed up at the State Police Troop A on Perkins Road at 3 a.m. Saturday saying he had been in a hit-and-run crash. His wife says Patrick was driving East on I-10 when he was rear-ended near Seigen Lane. She says he drove home to get another car before showing up at the Troop to file a report.

"Usually when people come to the troop it's for a legitimate reason. Crash report, help, usually not under the influence of alcohol," said LSP Trooper Jared Sandifer, Troop A.

Sandifer says the trooper who came in contact with Ruffner smelled alcohol and gave him a Breathalyzer test. State Police confirms Ruffner blew below the legal limit, which is a .08%. But he says the Trooper reported during a field sobriety test that he saw signs that Ruffner was impaired. He adds when asked, Ruffner told the investigator that he had a beer and vodka that night.

"People have heard the phrase there's no such thing as a routine traffic stop the same comes when it comes to DWI investigation," said Sandifer.

According to the state law, you can be charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated if: you are under the influence of alcohol, your blood alcohol concentration is .08% or greater, if you are under any controlled dangerous substance or any combination of the above.

"What people need to understand is if you have alcohol in your system you are impaired," says Sandifer.

Sandifer says you could be arrested even after having one alcoholic beverage. Even if you blow below a .08%, it is up to the investigating officer. He says in Ruffner's case, the Troopers believed there was enough evidence to make an arrest.

State Police would not release Ruffner's actual BAC level. They said it would be included in a report to the District Attorney.

Ruffner's wife says she plant to hire an attorney and fight the charge.

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