DWI BAC Level Possibly Changing to .05

The media is ablaze with the legal recommendations that were recently made by The National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB believes that all 50 states should consider lowering the legal blood alcohol content level from .08 down to .05. Approximately 100 other countries around the world have already adopted this DUI policy as law and Europe in particular has seen a decrease in alcohol-related accidents and fatalities. It was difficult enough getting states to agree to a .08 BAC threshold which may make this new goal a tough target to hit- there is expected to be a strong resistance from the state governments. Many states prefer to focus on the high offenders with BAC levels of .08 or higher, as well as repeat offenders who haven't learned their lesson.

You may be asking yourself, "How will this new change affect me personally?" Under the current .08 BAC threshold a 120 pound woman is able to have about two drinks in an hour before reaching the legal limit. With a .05 legal limit however, a 120 pound woman can only consume one alcohol beverage before driving. To put it in perspective even further, a 180 pound man can currently drink three to four drinks before reaching the .08 limit. With a .05 level however, a man of that size can only drink two to three drinks before being considered intoxicated.

The National Transportation Safety Board is urging the states to take a new and drastic approach to combat drunk driving and they look to discourage any drinking before driving. The safety board is constantly looking for new ways to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents and deaths and the lower threshold was just one of 20 different recommendations that they made. They have also made the suggestion to require all first time DWI/DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle- this way the car will not start if they have consumed any alcohol.

According to NTSB statistics approximately four million people drive under the influence every year in the U.S. and only about half of them are arrested for drunk driving. Their main argument is that dramatic progress was made when the legal drinking age was raised to 21 and they believe that this lower BAC threshold will have the same effect. The overall goal that the NTSB expressed is to have zero alcohol-related deaths because the law states that drunk driving is not an accident, but a crime. There was talk that they would even establish "incentive grants" as a way to persuade states into adopting the lower threshold.

To learn more about the possible DWI law changes, speak to the experienced Long Island criminal defense lawyer at Prime & O'Brien, LLP today.

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