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NTSB recommends 0.05 BAC for DUI in California

A night out with dinner and a glass of wine could end with a DUI charge for motorists in California if the state decides to follow the recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board and lowers the legal limit for intoxication to 0.05 percent from its current level of 0.08 percent.

Some groups opposed to the change claim the consumption of one drink by the average woman would make her legally intoxicated under the proposed standard and subject her to a misdemeanor charge. The NTSB proposal to lower the legal limit for intoxication included recommendations that states allow the confiscation by a police officer of the license of a driver who exceeds the state BAC limit or who refuses to submit to a BAC test.

Forty states already allow police officers or the courts to take a driver's license from a motorist who based only upon a charge, but without a conviction, of DUI. Other recommendations included a call for the increased use by police during traffic stops of a device that detects the presence of alcohol in the air and the imposition of ignition interlock systems for all drivers convicted of a DUI.

The penalties that courts could impose upon someone convicted of alcohol-related offenses include fines, probation, incarceration in jail or prison, community service, substance abuse screening and treatment and license suspension or revocation. Lowering the BAC level will mean that more motorists will be at risk of the life-changing consequences that come from a DUI conviction. A DUI lawyer could assist someone accused of DUI by explaining the legal implications.

Source: CNN, "Tougher drunk-driving threshold proposed to reduce traffic deaths", Mike Ahlers, May 15, 2013

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