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A National Scientific Panel Calls for Lowering the Drunk Driving Threshold

Posted by Mark Garka | Jan 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

Recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has published a report outlining a plan for the U.S. government to reduce the number of fatal drunk driving accidents each year. Commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this panel says the government should lower the legal drunk driving threshold from 0.08% to 0.05%. By doing this, the panel claims, the government could effectively prevent the more than 10,000 deaths from drunk driving annually.

The panel also recommends increasing the tax on alcohol, promoting anti-alcohol campaigns to raise awareness, and prohibiting the sale of alcohol to those under the age of 21 who are already intoxicated. The panel says that these procedures could help reduce the number of drunk driving accidents each year.

What This Means for Drivers in the U.S.

Right now, the current legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold is 0.08%. Lowering this limit to 0.05% would result in an increase of DUI pull-overs and arrests. Even if you just have one drink, you could be over this limit. There are a number of factors that influence how your body processes alcohol.

These include:

  • Your weight
  • Your muscle mass
  • Whether you have eaten any food

These factors could make it difficult to tell if you are over the legal limit. A 150-pound man could be over the limit in 2 beers, while a 120-pound woman could be over the limit with just one small drink. Because of the adverse effects of alcohol on your ability to think and make rational decisions, it is important to never drink and drive.

However, if you only had one drink and waited a while before starting on the road, and you were pulled over and arrested for DUI, it is important to have experienced legal representation. By lowering the legal limit, the government would cause numerous drivers to face the severe and long-term consequences of a drunk driving conviction, even if they barely had any alcohol in their system.

If convicted of drunk driving, you may face fines, jail time, license suspension or revocation, community service, probation, and other penalties. Furthermore, a drunk driving conviction will go on your permanent record, making it difficult to obtain certain jobs. The scientific panel is well respected, and is pushing the government to make this legislative change. If the legal BAC limit is lowered, you may face charges of drunk driving that could negatively affect the rest of your life.

Defending the Rights of Those Charged with DUI for More Than a Decade

If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC can help. As a former prosecutor, our Snohomish County DUI defense attorney knows how the other side thinks. We are dedicated to defending the rights of clients charged with DUI, and will fight tirelessly on your behalf as you seek a favorable outcome. The new pressure from the national science panel to lower the legal drunk driving threshold could result in many DUI arrests. Our firm is here to provide diligent representation for your case.

Don't let one mistake ruin your future. Contact our office today to discuss your situation. We offer free consultations for your convenience.

About the Author

Mark Garka

Mark is a solo-practitioner who limits his practice to DUI Defense. During Law School, he worked in the Juvenile Division for the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and he also worked in the Corrections Division at the Attorney General's Office. After completing his degree, he clerked...


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