DUI Laws, Lawyers and Law Enforcement
In March of this last year, I wrote about Utah’s efforts to lower their state’s blood alcohol content limit to 0.05 percent rather than the current nationally consistent limit of 0.08 percent. In 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board voted to recommend that states lower their blood alcohol limits to 0.05 percent and cited studies that have shown that impairment can occur with a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent. As of earlier this year, it seemed as though Utah would be the first to implement the lower BAC limit into its state law. After some backlash from the hospitality industry, Utah Governor Gary Herbert indicated his desire to soften DUI penalties under the new lower BAC law. The state’s Substance Use and Mental Health Advisory Council recently voted to keep the lower BAC change in the law without softening any penalties. SALT LAKE CITY – A state council studying Utah’s new law setting the country’s strictest DUI threshold is backing away from recommending any changes, despite Gov. Gary Herbert’s wish to soften some penalties following a backlash from the state’s hospitality and ski industry. The state Substance Use and Mental Health Advisory Council voted unanimously to support the new 0.05 percent blood alcohol limit scheduled to take effect next year after learning that law enforcement officials and Gov. Gary Herbert’s office disagree on how the state could soften penalties for those convicted of a DUI under the lower limit. The stalemate makes it tougher for legislators and Herbert, who had hoped to make changes to the law in the wake of the backlash and concerns that the lower limit could target responsible drinkers after one alcoholic beverage. The law lowering Utah’s DUI blood alcohol limit to 0.05 percent from 0.08 percent created a political problem for leaders who worry the strict new limit exacerbates Utah’s reputation as a Mormon-dominated state that’s unfriendly to those who drink alcohol. At Herbert’s request, a committee of prosecutors, law enforcement and officials and others has been working since spring to draft possible changes to the law, which were presented Tuesday to the substance use council. Paul Boyden, an attorney in the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, said the DUI study committee that he helped lead suggested changing the law so that drivers with a 0.05 to 0.07 blood alcohol limit faced some lighter penalties – such as no mandatory jail time – than a full-fledged DUI. But the penalties would be harsher than Utah’s lesser crime of impaired driving – an offense that Boyden said most drivers arrested for DUI are convicted of because they strike plea deals with prosecutors. Proponents of the 0.05 limit, including the National Transportation Safety Board, say people start to become impaired with a first drink and shouldn’t be driving and the lower limit will discourage people from thinking they can drink up to a point and drive safely. The new law means a 160-pound man could be over the 0.05 limit after two drinks, while a 120-pound woman could exceed it after a single drink, according to data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. If Utah passes the lower limit BAC law, let’s hope that it doesn’t become a trendsetter for the rest of the states. For many people, a 0.05 percent blood alcohol content limit will mean that they’ll be subject to a DUI after only a glass of wine with dinner and who are clearly not under the influence nor a danger to the streets.
Charleston DUI Accident Lawyer
Have you or someone you know been the victim of injury or wrongful death as the result of a drunk driver? Our experienced injury lawyers can help. Your Charleston DUI Accident lawyers at Howell and Christmas, LLC know the laws regarding drunk driving accidents and injuries in South Carolina. The injuries and other losses from these accidents are usually very significant and can change your life forever. These cases are very emotionally charged in that the grossly negligent and reckless conduct of the drunk driver that caused your injuries, and/or death in these types of cases, is not just an accident. The drunk driver must be held accountable for their actions because they could have easily avoided the accident by making the right decision not to drive after drinking. Given this reckless conduct of the drunk driver, you are entitled to not only move to recover all of the damages that you would be able to seek in a normal personal injury case you are also able to move for what is known as punitive damages. Your skilled Charleston DUI accident lawyers and staff know the ins and outs of drunk driving laws and the civil justice system and stand ready to help you and your family make a full recovery for all of your losses caused by the selfish acts of the drunk driver that caused your accident and injuries. Automobile accidents are the most common form of drunk driving cases in South Carolina. In these cases your law firm can help you discover the full amount of insurance available to be recovered in your case as well as do an assets check of the individual responsible for your injuries to determine if there are more assets that can be seized and converted to payment to cover your losses. In 2007 alone, it is reported that there were almost thirteen thousand drunk driving deaths in the United States as well as tens of thousands of other serious injuries. Those who choose to ignore the law and drive after drinking could be repeat offenders that in many instances have more than one charge and/or conviction for driving under the influence prior to being involved in a fatal crash. Almost one and a half million drivers were arrested, according to the last statistical data compiled in 2006 on this issue, for driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs. Given these sobering statistics, it is clear that drunk driving accidents will continue to be prevalent in our state and continue to cause catastrophic losses to you and those other victims of these accidents. Your Charleston DUI accident lawyers have a proven track record of fighting for the injured and their families in South Carolina and stand ready to help you make a full recovery for all the damages and losses caused by the wrong doer/drunk driver in these accidents. Let one of our experienced Charleston DUI accident attorneys tell you more about your rights regarding drunk driving accidents in South Carolina.