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Legal limit for alcohol could be further lowered

California motorists facing DUI charges have plenty to be concerned about, because a conviction for drunk driving can carry severe consequences, including potential incarceration. The legal standards could become even stricter in the future, as there is a call to lower the current blood alcohol legal limit for drunk driving charges. This would mean that a person could be arrested for DUI after consuming fewer drinks, and this call has received backing from a government-funded study.

The 489-page report published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine makes a series of recommendations that aim to reduce the prevalence of drunk driving in the United States. Chief among these suggestions is a call to reduce the blood alcohol concentration threshold from .08 to .05. All 50 U.S. states have a legal limit of .08 as of January 2018 . On Dec. 30, a Utah law imposing an .05 limit will go into effect. In practice, this will mean around two drinks for the average woman or from two to three drinks for most men over the course of an evening.

Other parts of the report focus on cutting down alcohol consumption and sales altogether, including recommendations for increased alcohol taxation. The report also encourages reducing the hours during which bars, restaurants and stores can legally sell alcoholic drinks to customers as well as calling for a legal crackdown on sales to minors and sales to people who are already intoxicated. In addition, the panel called for restrictions on the marketing and advertisement of alcohol.

As the penalties for a conviction on DUI charges can be strict, people who have been handed such charges might want to meet with a defense attorney as soon as possible. There are a number of strategies that might be available, including a challenge to the traffic stop on the basis that it was not made with the requisite reasonable suspicion.

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John Patrick Ryan has been practicing law for over 20 years. Experienced in criminal law. U.S. Navy Veteran.