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Utah lowers BAC limit

Drunk driving is a common cause of car accidents in Texas. In most states, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is .08 percent. Utah is about to become the first state to lower the legal BAC limit to .05 percent.

Drunk drivers are responsible for about 29 fatal accidents per day in the United States. The yearly cost of accidents related to drunk driving is estimated to total over $44 billion. Statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board show that the risk of a fatal crash is seven times higher for drivers with a BAC level of .05 to .079.

One survey shows that 55 percent of Americans support reducing the BAC level for the legal driving limit. Critics of the bill say that it will hurt the food and beverage industry and cause responsible drinkers to acquire convictions for drinking and driving.

Other proposed measures for preventing drinking and driving include requiring interlock devices to measure BAC levels for individuals who have been convicted of drinking and driving. A survey shows that 77 percent of those surveyed support lowering insurance premiums for drivers who voluntarily install an interlock device. Additionally, 46 percent of survey respondents support lowering the BAC limit to .00 percent.

A conviction for drinking and driving can carry serious penalties, including license suspension, jail time, fines and community service. A drunk driving charge can be especially serious for commercial drivers since they may lose their jobs if convicted. An attorney may be able to assist individuals who have been charged with a DWI offense.

The prosecution must prove every element of an offense to sustain a criminal conviction. A defense attorney may be able to challenge parts of the state's case, such as questioning that the defendant was actually the person driving, the accuracy of the BAC machine and the administration of field sobriety tests by the arresting officer.

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