Will Louisiana Be the Next State to Lower Its DWI Limit to .05 Percent?
On December 30, 2018, the state of Utah lowered its DUI limit to .05 percent. Click here for the Utah statute. Will Louisiana be next? As you know, the DWI limit in Louisiana is currently .08 percent. The DWI limit in Louisiana has been .08 percent since 2003, when Louisiana lowered its DWI limit from 0.10 percent to .08 percent.
In 1983, Utah was the first state to lower its DUI limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent. Now, some 25 years later, Utah was the first state in the nation to lower its DUI limit to .05 percent. Michigan was the last state to adopt 0.08 bac in 2005. Thus, it took almost 23 years for all states to adopt the .08 BAC limit. How long will it take all states to adopt the .05 BAC limit?
The push to lower the DWI limit from 0.10 to .08 began in 1998 when then President Bill Clinton took the initiative to establish nationwide standards to define legal intoxication for purposes of DWI/DUI. President Clinton called for a national limit of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher to be established as a federal standard to define legal intoxication. Any person operating a vehicle with this BAC or higher would be operating the vehicle illegally, whether or not the person displayed physical signs of being intoxicated.
After this push by President Clinton, several laws were enacted by the U.S. Congress encouraging this decrease. One law declared that Congress would cut federal funding for states that did not adopt the 0.08% or higher limit. A later law declared that states must pass the 0.08% BAC law or begin losing federal highway construction funds. As a result, all states eventually adopted 0.08% BAC level as the standard to identify legal intoxication. Now, Utah has gone a step further and lowered its BAC level for DUI to 0.05%.
Louisiana’s per se DWI law is found in Louisiana Revised Statue 14:98(a)(1)(b) which states that a person is guilty of DWI when she operates a motor vehicle when her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or more by weight based on grams of alcohol per one hundred cubic centimeters of blood.
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2019 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published January 18, 2019.