Just as Washington state lawmakers set to tackle the overhaul of state DUI laws, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has proposed lowering the legal limit to drink and drive from 0.08 blood alcohol content to 0.05.
The NTSB is recommending that all 50 states lower the legal limit to help reduce fatal drunk driving accidents. The federal agency says this decrease could save up to 800 lives a year and cited that about 31 percent of all fatal highway accidents were due to alcohol impairment, reports CNN.
Keep in mind that the NTSB does not have the authority to enact new laws and its proposal is merely advisory. However, the agency is highly influential and its action may motivate state lawmakers to take an even deeper look into DUI laws.
Thirty years ago, many states had a 0.15 percent legal limit. And less than ten years ago, the last state adopted the 0.08 legal limit. Given this trajectory, it's not out of the question for individual states to eventually consider the 0.05 legal limit.
However, Washington state lawmakers have enough on their plates this special legislative session. The proposed changes to state DUI laws already on the table are significant ranging from tougher penalties to requiring ignition interlocks immediately after arrest. Recently, the legislature is even considering removing the 7 year window and making a lifetime for prior offenses.
As the legal limit to drink and drive is put up to debate again, drivers should know that they can be arrested for drunk driving even if their blood alcohol level is below 0.08. The DUI laws provide that someone can be arrested for the offense if they have a blood alcohol level above 0.08 OR if they are otherwise impaired. So someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.03 could be arrested for a DUI if otherwise impaired.
If you face drunk driving charges in the Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland or greater King County areas, it is important that you work with an experienced and recognized DUI attorney. Washington law rapidly changes and you will want an advocate on your side that understands how the laws impact you.
Contact Wolff Criminal Defense at 425-284-2000 to speak with one of our attorneys directly and to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.