NTSB Recommends .05 BAC Limit
In May 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a new report calling for a national move to lower the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level from .08 to .05. This recommendation is a result of a year-long effort by the NTSB to focus on ways to eliminate drunk driving. The Colorado legislature heard this national call and has started conversations about whether to accept it.
Understanding What the .05 Limit Means
DUI lawyer Jay Tiftickjian helps to put this lower limit into perspective: “It changes that concept for you can go out and go to a picnic and have one or two beers and think that you’re being responsible and get in the car and drive home.”
So individuals who are casual drinkers or who go to happy hour and then drive home are going to have to think twice about how much they can drink to stay under the .05 BAC limit. For instance:
- A 180 pound man is at risk for DUI after 3 drinks over the course of one hour
- A 120 pound woman is at risk for DUI after 2 drinks over the course of two hours
As Jay Tiftickjian says, “[I]f you drink at all, you have to be concerned about it.” This is true, however, even if the DUI BAC limit does not change. Why? Because .05 already exists in our state.
The .05 Limit Already Exists in Colorado
Unbeknownst to most Coloradans, the state already makes it a crime to drive with a BAC of .05 or greater. This crime is known as driving while ability impaired, or DWAI. It is a lesser drunk driving charge that carries with it a legal inference that a jury could use to convict you of DWAI if you were driving with a BAC of .05 to .079. You do have the ability to rebut that inference with evidence showing you were not impaired at the time you were driving.
If a jury convicts you of DWAI, you could face significant consequences, including:
- Up to 180 days in jail
- Up to $500 in fines
- License suspension or revocation
- Community service
- Alcohol abuse courses
And this is just for a first offense. Fines, jail time and length of license suspension increase with each subsequent offense.
The .05 limit is also in place for individuals under 21. The state prosecutes individuals under 21 who are found to have driven with a BAC of .05 or greater in the same manner as they do adults of legal drinking age. This means that an underage driver would face the same criminal and civil penalties associated with a regular DUI or DWAI.
Currently, DWAI offenses account for approximately 10 percent of all drunk driving cases in Colorado.
Charged With Drunk Driving With a .05 BAC? Call Us Now.
At Tiftickjian Law Firm in Denver, we have become known as the advocates for individuals facing all manner of drunk driving charges, including DUI, DUI-D, DWAI and UDD (underage DUI). Our lawyers have all received in-depth training on how to handle DUI cases, and have gained invaluable experience through representing innumerable clients across the state.
If you are facing DUI charges of any type, call us today at 303-384-5280. You need to take immediate steps to ensure you protect your driving privileges and your rights. Learn more by emailing our Colorado DUI defense firm.