Life- and career-changing DUI laws on the horizon?
By Joe Lodato, Partner, Breeding, Lodato & Lenihan
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently voted to formally recommend that all 50 states, Tennessee included, lower the statutory legal blood alcohol content, or BAC, from 0.08% to 0.05%, as part of an effort to reduce highway fatalities attributable to alcohol. What this means is that the statutory presumption for a conviction for DUI or DWI will be lowered significantly, if this recommendation is adopted and passed by the individual states. This author believes that because of the political nature and high human value impacted by DUI this recommendation may become reality.
What this means to you, the reader, is a more difficult road to overcoming a DUI arrest, especially considering that many states have ramped up their efforts with their Implied Consent laws and mandatory blood draws based on probable cause or the lower standard of reasonable suspicion. This will result in harder fought legal contests and the greater need for an experienced, state of the art defense. One can also envision a greater impact on personal privacy and liberty, since the lower BAC standard will likely give rise to an lower articulable belief of impairment caused by alcohol and a greater number of traffic stops and encounters with the police than ever before.
The proposed decrease in BAC is also likely to catch more social drinkers in its legal snare, limiting drivers to a much lower acceptable consumption of alcohol before driving without exposing the driver to the harsh and stigmatic consequences of a DUI arrest or conviction.