Throughout the country it is uniformly illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more. But in some states that could be changing soon. At least three states are currently testing the idea of lowering their legal BAC to less than .08. For example, Utah is debating whether to lower their legal BAC to .05, which would make it the lowest rate in the nation.
What are the reasons a state would lower its BAC levels? Some of the justifications given are that in the majority of the world, legal limits for drinking and driving are much less than .08.
Many jurisdictions across the country rely on the money brought into their coffers from criminal fines and penalties. Drinking and driving is one of the more lucrative infractions for many locales, and increasing the number of DWI charges in those places only stands to benefit their bottom line. It is not even clear whether a lower drinking and driving limit would actually get more drunk drivers off the road. If a person is willing to drive with a BAC over .08, what would stop them from driving with a BAC over .05?
History of BAC Levels
Choosing a legal BAC when it comes to driving is an arbitrary business to start. Before the 1960s, each state had its own standard for what constituted drunk driving, and they pretty much policed their own states. Beginning in the 1960s when the federal government took on an ever-increasing role as administrators, national standards for all sorts of things began to spring up. The way the federal government got compliance with those standards was through holding back or granting funding.
That is what happened with drinking and driving standards across the country. The federal government decided that .08 was the best legal limit to set, and they forced every state to adopt that standard or lose federal highway and road funds. The issue of regulating drinking and driving is not over. Last year, Tennessee nearly lost $60 million in federal funds because of a bill trying to reform their underage age drinking and driving laws.
The BAC Law in Texas
In Texas the law is the same as most everywhere else, and that is a BAC level of .08 or less for driving. But if one state, like Utah, begins changing its laws to decrease the BAC level, than other states will follow. It will only be a matter of time before the federal government also changes its standards. No matter what happens, a debate will rage over the rights of states versus the rights of the national regulatory body to impose laws and rules on states.
Knowing and Fighting for Your Rights
Knowing and understanding what your rights are, what the law is, and how it is applied to your situation is fundamental to staying out of jail. If you are charged with the crime of DWI, you need the right legal team to help you understand and fight for your rights. At The WIlder DWI Defense Firm our team of dedicated professionals will do just that. Contact us today for a free consultation.