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DUI After Just One Drink?

More than one drink may soon be too much and could lead to a DUI arrest. As many know, the legal driving limit in California is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than 0.08%. This level was drastically lowered from 0.15% in the 1980s and may now be lowered again.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that the limit be lowered to 0.05%. Although the NTSB has no authority to make changes itself, it is an influential agency, and can encourage lawmakers to make changes in their respective states, as well as provide financial incentives for states to adopt their suggestions.

Besides lowering the BAC to 0.05%, the NTSB also wants states to expand laws to allow police to confiscate driver’s licenses from those that exceed this new BAC, and to require that cars belonging to first-time offenders be installed with mandatory ignition interlock devices. These devices prevent the car from starting until a breath sample confirms the BAC is below legal limits.

Advocates claim that the lower BAC limit will save lives, while those in opposition claim that the new rule will criminalize responsible behavior. A restaurant trade association claims that the average woman reaches 0.05% BAC after consuming just one drink. Opponents also claim that the new rule will lead to fines that will do more to increase state revenue than to reduce deaths. They also note that a bigger issue is distracted driving through texting on a cell phone, which is still legal in many states.

If you or a loved one are charged with a DUI, contact Irvine criminal lawyer Staycie R. Sena for a free consultation at (949) 477-8088.