A number of states have a higher legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit than others. This is usually the case with “zero tolerance” laws. These limits, which are often enforced for teenagers, are designed to make drinking and driving less attractive. However, they can also have adverse consequences for anyone who reaches the maximum level.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 1,790 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2020. That’s one person every nine hours. BAC levels in the 0.16% range can increase your risk of being involved in a crash. As a result, courts are more likely to impose harsher penalties on those who reach those levels. It’s important to know the law in your state before operating a vehicle.
In some cases, a driver’s BAC can be measured by breathalyzer or urine. Other means include administering a blood test. Blood alcohol content can vary by individual, however. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, it is important to consult a criminal defense lawyer for more information on what penalties you could face.
The National Transportation Safety Board has been pushing for changes to the national BAC limit. They believe that lowering it to 0.05 would save at least five to sixteen percent of all alcohol-related crashes and fatalities. Some countries, including Mexico and Puerto Rico, have legal BAC limits of 08%.
Several states have introduced bills to lower their BAC limits. Utah became the first state to do so. But the move received opposition from both sides. Many restaurants and bars believe that lowering the threshold will reduce business. Others, such as the American Beverage Institute, argue that it will only benefit repeat offenders.
A study in the United Kingdom, however, found that lowering the BAC threshold by just a fraction of a percent reduced alcohol-related crashes by 10 percent. Additionally, the study indicated that the reduction could be due to the fact that more people were willing to get treatment for their addiction.
As a result of these studies, several states have decided to lower their BAC limits. Vermont, for example, decreased its BAC limit to 0.02% for bus drivers. Meanwhile, California introduced a bill that would lower its BAC limit to 0.07%. New York has an average BAC of 0.074%.
In some states, the BAC limit is the only legal limit for motorists. In these cases, driving over the limit is a crime and can lead to jail time, fines, and more. Depending on the laws of the jurisdiction, you may even lose your license for a year or more. When researching your options, it’s important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.
Although there are a variety of laws regarding DUI, the BAC limits are one of the best ways to gauge how intoxicated you are. If you have been stopped by a police officer, you will probably be required to submit to a BAC test. If you refuse, you can be charged with an automatic penalty.