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Drunk driving limit to be lowered in Utah

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Drunk driving laws in Louisiana and across the country are already strict, but they may be getting tougher. The standard legal blood alcohol content limit is .08 percent in all states and the District of Columbia. However, on Dec. 30, Utah will lead the way in introducing a lower BAC of .05 percent. This represents a significant reduction from the current legal limit and a much tougher standards; it could also lead to significantly more arrests for drunk driving.

Polls indicate that a majority of Americans favor this approach; one survey said that 55 percent of respondents supported a national decrease in the BAC limit to .05 percent. Every day, around 30 people lose their lives in car accidents linked to drunk driving, and the cost of these crashes can amount to over $44 billion annually. While some advocates urge the use of ignition interlocks, car-installed breathalyzer devices that prevent a vehicle from operating when the driver is over the limit, others urge a reduced BAC limit and greater use of sobriety checkpoints by police.

The National Transportation Safety Board supports the reduction, saying that drivers have a risk seven times higher of being involved in a fatal crash with a BAC ranging from .05 to .079 percent. However, others have criticized the change. Some say that it will damage the tourism and restaurant industries while others note that responsible drinkers could acquire criminal records. Critics note that these measures could lead to hefty prosecution of relatively low-risk drivers.

When people are charged with drunk driving, they could face serious consequences, including hefty finds, jail time or the loss of driving privileges. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help people facing DUI charges to present a defense before trial and in court, challenging police evidence and working to prevent a conviction.

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