About 20 years ago, there was no legal standard on the blood alcohol level that defined alcohol intoxication. Each state has its own BAC limits to determine the state of intoxication. However, it was President Clinton in 1998 who set the National standard to define the concept of legal intoxication. Today, universally in all states, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher has been established as legally intoxicated. Any individual who operates a motor vehicle with a BAC at 0.08% or higher can be charged with drunk driving, irrespective of whether the individual displays any physical signs of alcohol intoxication or not.
Following this, several more related bills were passed. The Department of Transportation Appropriation Bill clearly stated that any state that did not adopt this legal definition of drunk driving would be cut off from federal funding for highway construction. Hence today, all states have 0.08% BAC as a level of intoxication for which drivers can be arrested. However, many other states have additional minor laws to complement the federal law set by President Clinton.
For example, in many states, the BAC has been lowered to 0.04% for drivers of commercial vehicles like U-hauls and rental trucks, etc. In addition, almost every state has strict laws for drivers under the age of 21. The BAC permitted in individuals under the age of 21 in most states is 0.02%. The objective behind these lower level is to prevent teenagers and young drivers from getting behind the wheel if they have been drinking. In recent years, the number of road accidents involving young drivers has been increasing consistently.
Almost every state has its own laws regarding BAC levels that are higher than 0.08%. When drivers are arrested with a BAC greater than 0.15%, they face harsher punishment, bigger monetary penalties, longer jail sentences, and license suspension.
The legal system is also very strict with offenders with a BAC of greater than 0.08%. For those with a BAC of 0.15 % or greater, the possible penalties could include immediate license suspension for 3-6 months. And if the driver is a repeat offender, the penalties are much more severe, including longer jail time, monetary fines and having an ignition lock system. In many cases, the driver has to go to probation school and start all over.
It is also important to note that you cannot erase your DUI convictions or your BAC record even if you move from one state to another. Therefore, drivers who are convicted in one state and are thinking of starting fresh in another state should rethink this plan as it will not work. Motor Vehicle Departments across the country share information related to DUI convictions with each other. Whatever penalty you have n the home state will continue in the new state.
The best advice for drivers is to simply avoid driving when drunk. Sometimes, you think that you’re not drunk and you can manage to drive, but this assumption can turn out to be wrong, and accidents can happen. That is why it is best to either avoid drinking altogether or if you know that you will be drinking, to make sure that you don’t get behind the wheel because a DUI conviction can have repercussions beyond just being arrested and convicted. Once you have a misdemeanor/felony on your record, it is difficult to get a job, loan, rent a home, or even apply for a federal college loan. The lesson is simple- if you drink, do not drive; it can save you a lot of hassles.
Contact a DUI Attorney at The Bateman Firm
At the Bateman Firm, our goal is to always discourage drunk driving. We have defended victims of DUI-related accidents, and we have also defended those who have been charged with a DUI. We know the impact such a charge and conviction can have on your life. If you have been charged with a DUI, do no take it lightly. Contact a DUI lawyer immediately at The Bateman Firm. Our lawyers are here to help you deal with this situation and can help ensure that you get minimum penalties. Remember, BAC limits are different for young drivers, older drivers, and commercial drivers. You need to know the laws governing a DUI offense so that you re better prepared to handle if such a thing ever happens. Call our office today and schedule an appointment so that our DUI attorneys can help you.