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Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer: The Push to Lower the Legal Limit


March 15, 2017

The legal limit in the United States is currently 0.08. This means if your breathalyzer or blood test shows you are above this limit, you will be prosecuted for driving under the influence of alcohol. But according to John Buckley, a criminal defense lawyer in Denver, that may be about to change in a few states.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has pushed states to lower their legal limits for over a decade. The federal agency has said that drivers reach impairment way before they reach a 0.08 BAC, which is why the legal limit should be lowered. In fact, the agency has research that shows the risk of getting into a fatal crash is doubled when a driver is at the current legal limit. Learn more about how the NTSB wants to end alcohol and other drug impairment in transportation.  

Although the NTSB has pressured states to lower their limits for years, three states may finally do just that. Bills to lower the limit to 0.05 have been introduced in Utah, Washington, and Hawaii. The bills state that the new legal limit would apply to anyone who is operating any type of vehicle. But, will the bills pass? The legislation has already passed in Utah, where it is currently waiting to be signed into law by the Governor. If the Governor chooses to sign this new legislation, it will go into effect beginning on December 30, 2018—just in time for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Of course, there are some people who support the change and believe it will help make streets in these states safer. These supporters say lowering the legal limit could save hundreds of lives that are taken by drunk drivers every year. However, there are also a lot of organizations and individuals who do not agree with the new legal limit. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has applauded the NTSB’s efforts to make a difference and save lives. But at the same time, the organization has publicly announced they will continue to focus on other prevention strategies instead of pushing legislation to lower the legal BAC limit.

Major players in the alcohol industry have also spoken out against the bills, which should not come as a surprise. These industry insiders say that the new legislation unfairly targets light drinkers instead of going after those who are severely intoxicated. They believe it is those individuals who are well above the 0.08 limit that pose the greatest risk, not those who have had a drink or two before getting on the road.

Legislation to lower the legal limit has not been introduced in Colorado yet, so for now, the legal limit in this state is still 0.08 for driving under the influence.  However, you may still be prosecuted in Colorado for driving while ability impaired if your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.079.  If you have been arrested for driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired, contact the Law Office of John Buckley. We work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure you receive the best legal representation possible. Contact John L. Buckley as soon as possible to schedule a legal consultation.