Who will be impacted most by lowering DUI BAC level?
Last week I blogged about how the National Transportation Safety Board recommended lowering the blood alcohol levels in DUI cases from 0.08 to 0.05. Obviously there are some pros and cons about this otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten the media attention it has. But a question that hasn’t been asked or at least I haven’t seen is who will be impacted the most if the State’s lower the DUI blood alcohol level to 0.05.
Probably the most impacted individuals would be the social drinkers. Those that go to restaurants and get a glass of wine with dinner. Those that go to a sports bar to watch a football game and have a beer. And those enjoy going out and having a drink or two at night. All of those people who enjoy those activities will be affected by the lowering of the blood alcohol level in DUI cases. By most accounts a 0.05 is fairly low. Most studies put it at 1 or 1.5 drinks. Which would greatly impact the social drinker.
The other individuals likely to be impacted would be the light drinkers or in some cases woman. Generally those that do not drink are affected by alcohol more. Additionally depending on your body type, weight, and height a single drink of alcohol can affect you differently than someone who drinks the same amount but has a different body type of tolerance. Light drinkers and usually woman are more affected by alcohol, and thus likely to reach this blood alcohol level quicker in a DUI case.
The other individuals who would probably suffer the greatest financial impact would be the restauranteurs, the bar owners, and the owner of any other establishment that sells alcohol. Think about it. If an individual can have 2-3 glasses of wine at dinner and be under the legal limit the owner who is selling that wine makes money. But if an individuals is only allowed to have 1 drink then the owner is missing out on those sales, and therefore losing money. Not surprisingly the beverage industry is some of the loudest critics of the NTSB’s recommendations. Loss of profits and revenue is the reason why.
As a Seattle DUI Attorney I tend to not believe something like this would happen. But you never know. I believe that lowering the blood alcohol level in DUI cases would have the opposite effect on DUI cases. Instead of reducing the number of DUI cases, that number would probably increase due to the lower amount. Although in Seattle if an individual is arrested for DUI and their BAC level is from a 0.04 to a 0.08 they will still get charged with a DUI, but sometimes that type of charge does not get filed. Lowering the level would pretty much guarantee a Seattle DUI charge or a DUI charge in any other State.
_ About the author: Matthew Leyba is a Seattle DUI Attorney. His practice focuses on representing those accused of DUI and other related offenses. He is currently rated as one of the Top Seattle DUI Attorneys by Avvo, and listed as a Rising Star in DUI Defense by Super Lawyers Magazine. An honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.