A Marina Del Rey Assemblywoman recently proposed changes to the state’s legal DUI limit. The proposal bears the name “Liam’s Law”, following a fatal DUI in LA that involved a 15-month-old-boy.
In that case, a drunk driver in Hawthorne struck and killed the child as he sat in a stroller. His aunt, a 15-year-old-girl, was crossing the street with the boy when the accident occurred. The boy’s parents, Marcus Kowal and Mishel Eder, began advocating for lower blood-alcohol limits following their son’s death.
Under the bill, drivers with blood-alcohol limits of .05% would be considered legally drunk. Currently, the law allows a blood-alcohol limit of .08 percent. The current limit for commercial drivers is .04 percent. Drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 face impairment charges when their blood alcohol content exceeds .01 percent. Californians adopted those standards in 1990. Previously, the intoxication standard was .1 percent for non-commercial drivers.
The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that lowering the impairment standard to .05 percent nationally would eliminate 1,500 drunk driving fatalities each year. California would not be the first state to adopt the lower threshold. Utah began using the new standard in January. New York and Oregon are also considering lowering their intoxication threshold.
Some opponents say that the move would do little to cut fatalities because most fatalities result from drivers that exceed the current .08 percent limit. Instead, they promote better enforcement of existing laws, and the use of ignition interlocks for problem drivers. Lowering the DUI limit could also potentially increase the state’s jail population while it’s trying to reduce incarceration.
Others point to the chronic unreliability of hand-held breathalyzer devices that police use to measure impairment. Lowering the threshold further could potentially increase the number of people falsely accused of drunk driving. The bill is AB1713. The Assembly will take up debate on the measure later this month.
Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
A conviction for drunk driving can have a lasting impact on your life. When you face charges for impaired driving, hire an experienced DUI lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has nearly 35 years of experience in criminal defense. In that time, he has defended thousands of Californians.
Don’t settle for a guilty plea and don’t assume that you have no options following a DUI arrest. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County DUI case.
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