Why Do You Think .08 Is the Legal Definition of Intoxication
States will decide whether or not to adopt the lower legal limit. The recommendation has already met resistance from restaurants and beverage companies, and Simon and Doering don`t expect the laws to change anytime soon. Lowering the legal driving limit, as recommended by the NTSB, can make people safer, says Michele Simon, who runs Eat Drink Politics, a watchdog group that tracks the food and beverage industry. But Simon argues that there are other policies that governments can implement that are more effective. If you have any questions about a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol in Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield or surrounding counties, please contact Winslow & McCurry, PLLC attorneys at (804) 423-1382 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. A good portable breathalyzer test is not a bad idea for learning how your body collects blood alcohol levels. But beware: just because you`re under the legal limit, you can still be way too drunk to drive. The safest bet is not to drive at all if you`ve been drinking. You`d be surprised how little alcohol it takes to cause a little slip – perhaps catastrophic. The smart decision is not to try to beat the numbers. And here`s the kicker: Many people with a .08 blood alcohol level think they`re good to drive. Part of the reason is that alcohol that makes you a bad driver also makes you a bad judge, whether you`re a bad driver or not. It is a paradox that costs thousands of lives every year.
Most people believe that if you have a blood alcohol level below 0.08, you can drive safely and not be charged with impaired driving (DWI). In Virginia, however, this is not the case. Consuming any amount of alcohol before driving interferes with a driver`s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Popular culture has ingrained in us the belief that the “legal limit” is 0.08. The decline in drunk driving deaths in the following decades has been attributed to stricter laws, harsher penalties, and a fundamental shift in how people perceive impaired driving. Many studies point to raising the minimum drinking age and educating youth as important factors that have contributed to the development of more conscientious adult drivers who are aware of the risks of drinking and driving.5 Virginia is not following this clear line. Virginia actually assigns a presumption for or against intoxication, based on the specific results of a blood alcohol test. The first state in the United States to criminalize impaired driving was New Jersey.
This first drunk driving law, passed in 1906, was simply based on police observations of intoxication and had no specific blood alcohol level. Under this law, penalties for drunk drivers included a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in the county jail. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that poisoning contributed to 60 percent of fatal car crashes in the 1970s. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) did not track alcohol-related driving statistics until 1982. This year, there were 21,113 drunk driving deaths. This is just one scenario. The definition of intoxication is having a blood alcohol level greater than 0.08 or not having the normal use of your mental and physical abilities. Even without the test results, they could argue that field sobriety tests show you were intoxicated.
A Los Angeles-based doctor, Emil Bogen, was the first to discover that a reliable measure of a person`s intoxication can be made based solely on breathing. Early tests essentially required a chemical package, which made them of little use from a law enforcement perspective.3 Most people know that the legal limit for poisoning in Texas is 0.08. Even if you don`t know what that means, you know that if you take a blood or breath test and the results are above 0.08, you`ll be overwhelmed with DWI. Most people assume that the opposite is also true; If the result is less than 0.08, they will let you go. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. This means that if your blood alcohol level is 0.05 or lower, it is assumed that you are not intoxicated. If your blood alcohol level is 0.08 or higher, you are suspected to be intoxicated. A blood alcohol level of 0.06 or 0.07 is the grey area of the law. If the test results are within this narrow range, there is no suspicion of poisoning. It wasn`t until the late 1930s and 1940s that state laws began to set specific blood alcohol limits (BACs). Most states initially introduced a limit of 0.15 BAC. For example, New York made drunk driving illegal in 1910 and then amended the law in 1941 to define impaired driving as driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration greater than 0.15.
Today, the United States has a national blood alcohol concentration (BAC) standard of 0.08, based on more than 30 years of scientific evidence. The nation has come a long way since the first commonly used legal limit for BAC, .15, was adopted in 1938.