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First state lowers its blood alcohol limit below 0.08

For nearly 30 years, the standard blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit across the country has been 0.08 percent. Thanks to recent changes, one state has stricter limits for drivers.

Utah passed legislation in 2018 to lower the state’s BAC limit to 0.05 percent, effective December 30. For a man weighing 180 pounds, instead of having four drinks to reach the legal limit, he can only have about two. For a woman, it may be even fewer.

State Representative Norm Thurston proposed the bill at the request of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which released a study in 2013 that urged states to lower their DUI limits. Utah is the first state to follow this recommendation, which follows a historical pattern: Utah was also the first state to lower its BAC limit from 0.10 to 0.08.

Illinois DUI limits

Illinois still has a BAC limit of 0.08 percent. The state follows “per se” laws, which generally means that anyone with a BAC at or above 0.08 percent is intoxicated. Typically, further evidence is unnecessary to prove impairment in a DUI case. And for those who are under 21, any BAC limit above 0.00 percent is illegal.

DUI penalties in Illinois can be serious, especially for repeat offenses. If Illinois were to consider the NTSB’s recommendation, even social drinkers could be subject to serious consequences.

Regardless whether Illinois changes its legal BAC limits, meeting with an attorney quickly could make a difference in a DUI defense case. Even with “per se” laws, there are options for anyone who is pulled over for an intoxicated offense.

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