Lawmakers in Michigan have introduced proposed legislation that would lower the legal limit from .08 to .05. Utah recently became the first state to lower its legal limite to .05.
It is currently against the law to drive after drinking when a person has a .08 blood alcohol content. Many safety groups are unsatisfied with the .08 amount.
What Would This Mean Legally Speaking?
Right now, it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or over. The law assumes a person is intoxicated at this level. A driver with a .08 BAC can be convicted of operating while intoxicated.
The change in the law would mean a person can be convicted of operating while intoxicated with a BAC of .05 or higher. The proposed law would assume that a person with a .05 BAC is intoxicated.
Are Drivers Impaired at .05?
Each person is different and alcohol effects each person differently. For example, BAC and effects of alcohol vary depending on a person’s weight, tolerance to alcohol, or how fast they have been drinking.
A .05 BAC is about a standard drink or maybe a little more than a standard drink less than .08. For some people, a .05 could be about two drinks or perhaps two large drinks.
Logically, a person would be less impaired at .05 than at .08. With the new law we would see more people arrested and convicted who weren’t truly impaired by alcohol.
Change in the Law Coming?
The proposed law comes after a change in the legal limit in Utah. Last December, Utah became the first state to lower the legal limit from .08 to .05. Utah was also the first state to lower the legal limit from .10 to .08 back almost thirty years ago. Whether Michigan actually makes this change remains to be seen. The legal landscape in Michigan is very different than Utah, which has a large conservative religious population.
Sam Bernstein is an Ann Arbor DUI Attorney.
ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.