Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Should State's lower the blood alcohol level in DUI cases to 0.05?

Recently the National Traffic Safety Board conducted a study and recently recommended that all State's reduce the blood alcohol level in DUI cases to 0.05.  Currently the level in all 50 states is 0.08.  Citing the need to reduce traffic fatalities, and drunk driving cases the NTSB looked at other countries that have this reduced blood alcohol level.  Specifically European countries, and Australia.  

In my opinion and this is not just because I'm a DUI Attorney in Seattle.  I believe reducing the current alcohol level to 0.05 would really not accomplish much.  First of all you still get charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol level is below a 0.08.  Secondly such a proposal would meet stiff opposition from many agencies.  Not such DUI Attorneys but the restaurant and tourism industry, beverage industry.  Heck even MADD has not endorsed such a proposal if though the NTSB recommendations have been out there for quite some time. 

So what is the point with this recommendation.  Well I really don't think there is one.  How much would lowering the legal limit really do.  I mean if you want to reduce traffic fatalities then there should be a zero tolerance level.  That is the only way to say traffic fatalities would be reduced.  

The difference between a .05 and a .08 is maybe 1 drink.  Will that 1 drink really affect someones ability to drive?  Probably not.  I'm not sure of any studies but I bet most traffic fatalities involving DUI cases the defendants probably have blood alcohol levels two or maybe three times the legal limit.  They are not below the current legal limit, and if they are then the defendant has to be under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.

Now the thing to keep in mind is the NTSB has no legal authority regarding this change.  They are simply an agency that has made a recommendation.  It will not happen at least in my lifetime.  If it did I would be extremely surprised, and I probably would no longer be a practicing Seattle DUI Attorney.  So it wouldn't really bother me none because I wouldnt have any clients getting screwed over by it.  
About the author: Matthew Leyba is a Seattle DUI Attorney.  His practice focuses on representing those accused of DUI and other traffic offenses.  He is currently rated as one of the Best Seattle DUI Attorneys by Avvo, and listed as a Rising Star in DUI Defense by Super Lawyers Magazine.  An honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive. 

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