Recommendations for a lowered legal alcohol limit

For Illinois motorists, drunk driving convictions can result in serious consequences. The state has significant penalties for driving under the influence, and they escalate further for subsequent offenses after a first DUI charge. In addition, there is a growing push to lower the threshold for drunk driving charges. This could mean that it is possible to face these charges for a lower amount of alcohol in a person's blood, especially following the backing provided by a scientific panel for a lower threshold.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published a 489-page report making a number of recommendations on reducing the prevalence of drunk driving. The primary recommendation of the report is a call to lower the blood-alcohol concentration threshold for DUI from .08 percent to .05 percent. As of January 2018, all 50 states have a threshold of .08 percent. In Utah, a law lowering the limit to .05 will go into effect on Dec. 30, 2018. For most women, the .05 threshold would reflect the consumption of two drinks in an evening, and for most men, it would reflect two to three alcoholic drinks.

The report also made other recommendations that aim to cut down on drunk driving by restricting alcohol consumption overall. These included increased taxes on alcohol as well as reduced hours for legal alcohol sales at stores, bars and restaurants. The report also urged harsher penalties for sales of alcohol to people under 21 and restrictions on alcohol marketing. The proposals are opposed by the hospitality and alcoholic beverage industries.

People facing DUI charges should seek out a criminal defense lawyer to represent them, even if it is a first offense. The lawyer could in some cases question the validity of the traffic stop or the way in which the field sobriety and breath tests were conducted.

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