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Criminal defense: Could New York implement a lower legal BAC?

In New York, the legal blood alcohol limit for driving is .08. For years this has been the same across the entire nation, but now one state has enacted far stricter laws. Drivers in this other state will now have to prepare a criminal defense if they drive with a BAC of .05 percent.

In 2017, approximately 11,000 Americans died in alcohol-related collisions. However, that same year one state out West had the lowest number of alcohol-related deaths. A new law aimed at reducing its already relatively low number of deaths went into effect on Dec. 30, 2018, which lowered the legal BAC for driving from .08 to .05, making it the strictest in the nation.  Advocates for the new law believe that the change is good, though, as the National Transportation Safety Board estimates that a nationwide .05 BAC could reduce the number of fatalities in drunk driving accidents by about 1,800.

The state involved, Utah already reports about 30 DUI arrests per day. An even lower BAC could see the number of arrests go up. A .05 BAC would also leave a man who weighs 160 pounds and consumes only two drinks in a single hour as legally intoxicated, and the same for a 100-pound woman who consumes a single drink in the same time frame.

Although the state of Utah is quite a distance from New York, the implications of its new law could be far-reaching. It is not necessarily uncommon for some states to copy other state laws that they see as particularly effective. There will likely not be any change for those who are currently facing drunk driving charges in New York though, so a careful focus on current criminal defense planning is important.


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