Last week, the NTSB proposed lowering the legal limit for Driving Under the Influence cases from 0.08 to 0.05. In Florida, the legal limit is 0.08. Also in Florida, a driver with a breath alcohol under 0.05 is presumed to not be impaired. The NTSB feels that lowering the limit would help cut down on traffic accidents. Studies of alcohol related accidents does not support this theory as most individuals involved in alcohol-related crashed have a legal limit of around 0.13 to 0.15, so lowering the level would not be a deterrent. I was recently hit by a driver who ran a red light at 50 mph. He did not even hit his brakes. The police came to the scene and had the other driver perform the Field Sobriety Exercises, but did not arrest him. Do I think lowering the legal limit would have prevented the accident? No.
The legal limit has been lowered over the years. Initially, the DUI breath test limit was 0.15 in 1941. It was later reduced to 0.12, then 0.10, and now the 0.08 that is the law in Florida DUI cases. The 0.05 limit is used in Europe which is a much less car-centric society. As a DUI defense attorney, I rarely see cases where the driver has a breath test under 0.08. A person must be arrested for DUI before a breath test can be requested. The police do no "unarrest' you if you blow under the legal limit and these DUI cases are still prosecuted in court. They are difficult DUI cases to prove obviously and many times are dismissed or reduced to lesser charges. Therefore, it is clear that this law would only affect social drinkers who are not a problem or hazard on the road. That's why a driver is presumed to not be impaired by alcohol when they have such a low blood alcohol level.
DUI is a very serious crime and can have devastating outcomes when a person drives impaired and there is an accident. DUI Manslaughter or DUI causing Serious Bodily Injury can result in substantial prison terms. I do not think lowering the limit will dramatically cut down on alcohol impaired deaths. Even safety groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and AAA declined to endorse the NTSB’s call for a 0.05 threshold.
If you have been arrested for DUI, call and speak to an aggressive Polk County DUI defense attorney. Always make sure that the DUI lawyer you retain is actually located in Polk county and will go to court with you and not send an associate. Get someone working on your DUI case now because it can make a difference in the outcome of your criminal case!
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CALL THOMAS C. GRAJEK, POLK COUNTY DUI ATTORNEY
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Aggressive Polk DUI defense attorney handling all DUI arrests, DUI Manslaughter, and DUI with Serious Bodily Injury in Polk county, FL.