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Some observations on DUI-related history, recent developments

Source: client's dui page; U.S. News & World Report, "Utah lawmakers pass toughest dui limit in us…; and LIfeSaver The history of drunk driving laws in the U.S.

Drunk driving legislation has had a varied and interesting history in California and across the nation. Here are a few notable facts regarding DUI-related chronology, as noted in one national information source on that subject:

  • First commonly used BAC level of 0.15 established in 1938
  • Breathalyzer invented in 1953
  • Federal legislation raises minimum drinking age nationally to 21 in 1984
  • Congress adopts 0.08 as national legal BAC limit in 2000

Notably, federal lawmakers do not always have the final say on the subject, with authorities in the various states having plenary powers to make material changes in drinking laws inside their borders.

Utah comes readily to mind. Legislators there recently grabbed the attention of many diverse groups (ranging from MADD to the American Beverage Institute) by recently enacting the nation's first-ever 0.05 BAC law. Once the bill is signed by the governor (who says he intends to do so), that DUI threshold will be the lowest in the country.

Reportedly, blowing 0.05 into a breathalyzer can pronounce a 150-pound man legally drunk after just two beers. And, for some women, a single drunk can wreak devastating legal consequences.

Will other states -- including California -- follow Utah's lead?

That's hard to say, of course, but they are strongly being urged to do so by various groups, including the National Transportation Safety Board.

At The Law Office of John W. Noonan in Pleasanton, we have provided knowledgeable and aggressive DUI defense representation for decades to clients from across the East Bay area who face stark challenges from law enforcers.

And we don't cast judgment while doing so. Indeed, we know that myriad factors in addition to BAC readouts can come into play in a drinking-related arrest, and many of them can cast doubt on the prosecution's case.

Maybe that breathalyzer you blew into wasn't properly calibrated. Perhaps the officer wasn't properly trained to use it. Maybe probable cause to even stop you in the first place flatly lacked. An officer's flawed subjectivity might have been on display during the administration of field sobriety tests.

The bottom line: If you need a strong DUI defense, don't wait to secure one. Contact a proven criminal defense attorney after you have been stopped or charged.

It is your legal right to do so.

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