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Proposals to lower legal blood alcohol limits

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the legal limit for acceptable blood alcohol levels of drivers be lowered is receiving support from some New York law enforcement officials. The proposal would reduce the levels from .08 to .05. Any driver with a blood alcohol level of above .05 would face an arrest for drunk driving.

One New York County Sheriff stated that alcohol affects everyone in a different manner. He claims that some individuals may be impaired when their blood alcohol levels are as low as .04. It is also argued that the lowering of acceptable blood alcohol levels will make our roads safer.

This all may or may not be true.  No one wants to see drivers on the road while impaired.  However, the legal standard for blood alcohol levels has often been considered somewhat arbitrary with the current setting being at .08.  Lowering the acceptable legal level will not likely make it seem any less arbitrary.

Blood alcohol tests are often considered invasive to those subjected to having their blood drawn, and there has been debate as to what the results of these tests actually mean.  DWI and DUI defense attorneys often will question the legality of the way these tests are conducted, and they will also look at the circumstances as to why such tests were conducted to begin with.

In any case, those charged with a DWI or DUI can face significant fine, property seizure and even prison time.  Whatever laws are passed, any evidence used to convict individuals for these charges first needs to be reliable and relevant.

Source: Observer, "Police back .05 percent blood alcohol content proposal," by Eric Tichy, May 26, 2013

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