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California proposes lowering blood alcohol threshold

A bill proposed by a California lawmaker would lower the legal blood alcohol content in the state to .05 percent from the current level of .08 percent. However, lobbying groups do not support the proposed change to the law. The American Beverage Institute says that the law would do nothing but target responsible social drinkers.

Another piece of legislation would require all drivers convicted of drunk driving to use an ignition interlock device. However, those who oppose the law say that it would just make money for the interlock industry. Furthermore, those who don’t agree with it say that it would take away a judge’s ability to use discretion in a given case. Currently, those who are charged with their first offense don’t need one if they didn’t injure anyone while impaired.

Individuals who are charged with driving while intoxicated may face a variety of penalties, such as the loss of a driver’s license or jail time. Individuals who are convicted of drunk driving charges may also have to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. Working with an attorney may help to avoid some or all of these consequences.

For example, an attorney may be able to cast doubt on a blood or breath test that is used to charge an individual. It may also be possible to contend that an individual was experiencing a medical emergency when contacted by a police officer. In some cases, evidence might be suppressed before or during a trial. This may result in a case being dismissed or an increased ability to negotiate a favorable plea deal.

Source: Capital Public Radio, “Lower The DUI Level To 0.05 Percent? Two California Lawmakers Propose Change To Combat Drunk Driving.”, Ben Adler, 04/03/2019

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