New DUI Laws in New York for 2020
A number of new laws are currently up to be signed by the New York State legislature specifically designed at bringing down the amount of driving while under the influence (DUI/DWI) charges that have been climbing steadily in New York State for a number of years now.
While New York is not the worst offender when it comes to DUI charges (that goes to the state of California) it still remains a major problem that New York would like to tackle, which is exactly why the state assembly has been working so hard to put together new laws that could go in effect in 2020 (and beyond) to sort of reverse course.
One of the biggest and most popular bills circulating throughout the Transportation Committee amongst New York lawmakers is a bill that would dramatically lower the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level in the state.
As of right now, the state has a BAC limit of 0.08% but the new legislation would have that number dropped to 0.05% – a change that would make it one of the lowest legal BAC limits in the United States and on par with the currently active BAC limit in the state of Utah.
On top of that, a separate piece of legislation is also designed to lower the legal limit for aggravated driving while intoxicated charges as well. This BAC limit currently sits at 0.18%, but the legislation would bring that number down to 0.12%.
As highlighted above, Utah was the first state in America to drop the legal BAC limit all the way down to 0.05% in December 2018. That change at the time was regarded as a pretty radical move, but as more and more states face the cold reality that DUI charges aren’t dropping anywhere near as fast as they expected a change like this is starting to be seen as almost necessary.
At the same time, there is some opposition to the bill not only in the state assembly and the state legislature but also in the defense attorney community.
Defense attorneys in specific are worried that a change like this would be seen as far to punitive, a change that could skyrocket DUI charges, arrests, and convictions almost overnight just because what used to be seen as responsible drinking would now be seen as criminal activity.
A number of defense attorneys have already written to state lawmakers and told them of their opposition.
They recognize that it’s important to curb driving while under the influence of alcohol and drinking and driving drunk. At the same time they want to make sure that individual Americans and New York citizens are able to drink responsibly without having to worry about a serious black mark on their permanent record – and some significant criminal penalties if they are convicted because of this new BAC level.
At the end of the day, it’s impossible to know exactly where the momentum is on this new legislation. The odds are pretty good that New York lawmakers are going to pay very close attention to what happens in Utah after these changes were implemented to see if this is a direction they want to go in.