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Washington Legislation Seeks to Lower the DUI Threshold

While most of the United States maintains a per se DUI threshold at a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08, it seems that during each state legislative session, bills are introduced that seek to lower this threshold. For example, legislation was recently introduced in Washington state that aims to lower the DUI threshold to 0.05%. Modeled after a recent change in the DUI threshold in Utah, the motivation behind the bill is to decrease drunk driving and DUI-related fatalities. While the legislation would not impact Illinois drivers, it could be a sign of changes to DUI laws throughout the country in the future.  If you find you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in DUI, it is advisable to consult with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to explore options for safeguarding your interests.

Washington Legislation Seeking to Lower the DUI Threshold

It is reported that a proposed bill in Washington state aims to lower the legal limit for motorists driving under the influence of alcohol from 0.08% to 0.05%. Sponsored by multiple state representatives, the bill is patterned after a similar one in Utah. An initial hearing has been held on the bill, and an executive session is scheduled for the end of January.

Allegedly, if enacted, the bill would take effect in July 2025, after which it would undergo a two-year evaluation. The bill addresses drug-impaired driving as well, and an awareness campaign and additional penalties for alcohol vendors. The bill’s sponsor cited the success of the change in Utah’s DUI threshold, noting that it resulted in a significant drop in DUI fatalities and a reduction in drunk driving, and expressed hopes that the proposed Washington legislation could affect similar changes. In December of 2023, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission recommended seriously considering a 0.05% BAC limit, emphasizing the persistent involvement of impaired driving in fatal crashes. The bill faces prior pushback from numerous sources, however.

Illinois’s DUI Threshold

Illinois law makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08%. This legal limit establishes an automatic presumption of impairment, meaning that if a driver’s BAC meets or exceeds 0.08%, they are considered impaired by law, irrespective of observable signs of intoxication.

Additionally, Illinois employs a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21, prohibiting any detectable presence of alcohol (BAC of 0.00 to 0.08%). Violating these per se DUI laws can lead to serious consequences, including fines, license suspension, and potential imprisonment.

Talk to a Dedicated Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

Like most states, Illinois criminalizes the operation of a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, but many people charged with DUI crimes are able to avoid convictions with the assistance of an attorney. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is smart to meet with an attorney to assess your possible defenses. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a dedicated DUI defense lawyer with the skills and experience needed to help you seek a favorable outcome. You can reach Mr. Harvatin by calling 217.525.0520 or using the online form to set up a meeting.

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