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Proposed bill would lower BAC limit to .05 percent

Seattle motorists who have been charged with DUI and who had a blood alcohol level under .08 percent can argue that they were not legally intoxicated. However, a bill has been proposed that would lower the legal blood alcohol limit from .08 to .05. On Feb. 7, testimony in favor of the proposed legislation was presented to a state House of Representatives committee.

The prime sponsor of the new bill is a Democratic representative from Snohomish County who worked as a Washington State Patrol trooper for 30 years. He said that he used to tell his crew to constantly look for drunk drivers while they were on patrol. According to a spokeswoman from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, drunk driving arrests have declined from 40,000 a few years ago to 28,000 in 2016.

Some lawmakers are skeptical about the proposed bill because they worry that it will be too expensive. When questions about the cost of lowering the blood alcohol limit came up at the Washington House committee meeting, a cosponsor of the bill argued that safety is more important than cost. A representative from the Washington Association for Substance Abuse Prevention said that he is in favor of a lower blood alcohol limit, but he thinks that the legislature sends mixed signals by approving other bills that provide more drinking opportunities.

Unless the proposed bill is passed, the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers in the state is still .08 percent. That doesn't necessarily mean that motorists who have a lower level might not be issued a DUI charge if they were perceived to be driving erratically, however. People who are facing these types of charges may want to mount a vigorous defense with the help of an attorney.

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