In the United States, anything over a .08 blood alcohol level is against the law.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that when a driver is at 0.02 percent, they are less able to keep an eye on moving objects and multitask; once the driver hits 0.05 percent, they have trouble steering and coordinating. At 0.08 percent, though, drivers have problems with perception, concentration and speed control. Even higher percentages make it harder for drivers to stay in one lane (0.1 percent) and maintain control of the vehicle (0.15 percent), according to the CDC.
Nearly one-third of all traffic deaths in 2012 involved drivers with a blood-alcohol reading of at least 0.08 percent, reports the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration. More than half of the drivers involved in these fatal crashes measured at 0.15 percent or greater. (More than 10,300 people were killed that year in these crashes. Just under two-thirds of the people killed were driving.)
The law of the land is that driving with a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.08 percent is a crime, though exactly how the crime is punished varies from state to state.
So what if you are in Arizona? Well, Arizona added the “super extreme DUI” charge in 2007 to cover anyone with a blood-alcohol level of at least .20 percent, which can carry with it a sentence of 45 days in prison. The “extreme DUI” category in Arizona, covering measurements of at least 0.15 but less than 0.20 percent, has a punishment of 30 days in prison.
So when Phoenix Suns player P.J. Tucker was arrested for “super extreme DUI” in May by Scottsdale police, how extreme was it? A blood test administered after Tucker was taken to jail and later analyzed by Arizona DPS showed his blood alcohol-content to be .222, according to the police report. Almost 3 times the legal limit. Yep, pretty extreme.