California Faces Stricter DUI Laws

Driving under the influence laws in California could get stricter. On February 22, 2019, Assemblywoman Autumn Burke introduced Assembly Bill 1713 that seeks to lower the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level in California from 0.08 to 0.05.  

Liam’s Law

The push to have the BAC level lowered comes after 15-month-old Liam Kowal and his aunt were hit by a drunk driver in 2016. Liam suffered a traumatic brain injury and died after being taken off life support. AB 1713 is also known as Liam’s Law in honor of him.

His 15-year-old aunt suffered injuries and survived.

Donna Marie Higgins, the driver behind the wheel of the SUV that crashed into Liam and his aunt, left the scene of the accident, but witnesses followed her. Police apprehended Higgins, who was later convicted of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and sentenced to six years in prison.

Lowering the BAC Level Could Save Lives

Nearly 100 countries have set legal BAC levels of 0.05 or lower and have fewer alcohol-related accident deaths than the U.S. In 2015, 19% of alcohol-related crashes resulted in death in both Sweden and the Netherlands, which is 12% less than the U.S.

Sweden’s BAC level is 0.02, and the Netherlands is 0.05. 

According to a report released by the National Transportation Safety Board, when the U.S. lowered the BAC from .10 to .08 percent, 1,736 lives were saved a year. Lowering the legal BAC level to 0.05 nationally could save nearly 1,800 lives annually.

In December 2018, Utah was the first state to change the legal BAC limit to 0.05.

AB 1713 and DUI Charges

If passed, AB 1713 would make it illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.05 or more. The methods used to measure BAC levels, however, can be contested. The accuracy of breathalyzer tests can be unreliable, and blood tests generally require a warrant if not consented to – blood test results obtained without consent or a warrant can be thrown out.

Protecting Drivers Charged with a DUI

At The Blalock Law Firm, PC, we are committed to defending individuals who have been charged with a DUI. When you work with us, you can be confident that we will focus all of our energy on building a strong defense for you. Our Contra Costa DUI attorney will be with you every step of the way so you know exactly what is happening in your case.

Call us at (925) 259-3270 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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