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Nation's strictest drunk driving law may have far reaching effect

Florida drivers likely know that consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car could impair their driving ability. Some are comfortable consuming a certain level of alcohol that they believe will not raise their blood alcohol content above the state's percentage limit of .08. However, this could change soon as several states are exploring lowering that legal limit in the hopes of preventing drunk driving incidents.

Back in 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board decided to recommend that states change the permissible level of alcohol in a person's system from .08 percent to .05 percent. This means that a person charged with a DUI would presumably not need to drink as much to be considered over the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle. The NTSB states that implementing a stricter law would lower the number of fatal accidents caused by impaired driving. Those against the lower limit say that instead of punishing those who are repeat offenders or heavy drinkers, it will adversely affect those who are simply casual drinkers.

The first state to adopt this standard is Utah. A recent interview with officials stated on the first day the new law was enacted, at the start of this year, that no one was arrested by the state's highway patrol for being over the new limit, though they didn't have reports from local cities on their arrest records corresponding to the new legislation. Authorities stated that they have done everything in their power to ensure that residents were notified of the change, and they are hopeful that DUI arrests will drop thanks to the new limit. Other states are already considering similar measures.

Though this new limit has been implemented outside of Florida, it may have an effect here if lawmakers decide to follow the NTSB's recommendations. Regardless of the law, any motorist charged with drunk driving has certain legal rights of which he or she may be unaware, particularly a right to legal counsel. Being convicted of DUI could affect a person's driving privileges, future employment and car insurance. An experienced attorney can best advise those facing a DUI charge of all the options before them.

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