Michigan attorney says NTSB proposal to lower legal alcohol limit to .05 is ill-advised and unenforceable
“Returning to a prohibition era mentality will not reduce drunk driving”
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Southfield, Mich. — Feb. 5, 2016 — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently proposed lowering the legal alcohol limit for U.S. drivers from .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .05 percent. It’s an ill-advised and unenforceable proposition that won’t keep actual drunk drivers off the road, says attorney Neil Rockind, founder of Southfield-based criminal defense law firm, Rockind Law.
“The call for lowering the legal alcohol limit nationwide is consistent with the over-criminalization trend that is pervading our legislative system,” Rockind said. “Lowering the legal drinking limit creates a new level of ‘criminal’ who has committed no crime. At the same time, cities and states are dealing with budget cuts that adversely impact the public safety funding we need to deal with legitimate criminal situations.”
The current BAC of .08 was adopted by Congress in 2000 as the national illegal limit for impaired driving.
When the issue of lowering the legal alcohol limit was addressed in 2013, even Candace Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), was opposed to it, citing it as unenforceable and not a long term solution. Rockind, a former Oakland County, Mich. prosecutor, notes it would be difficult to prosecute those who tested at a .05 alcohol level.
“I am not a fan of the roadside sobriety tests but they are the current norm, so it’s important to consider that almost all of these individuals would pass such tests,” Rockind said. “Further, juries would be disinclined to find them guilty.”
Any serious movement towards lowering the legal BAC would be draconian, Rockind says.
“Returning to a prohibition era mentality will not reduce drunk driving. It will only add to the hundreds of other draconian, misclassified ‘criminal’ acts on the books now,” Rockind said. “Rather than lowering the legal alcohol limit, focus needs to be put on taking habitual drunk drivers off the road through continued public education and appropriate law enforcement.”
About Rockind Law
Rockind Law is a Southfield, Michigan-based criminal defense law firm aggressively pursuing justice for individuals facing criminal charges, including white collar crime, drunk driving, narcotics and assault. To find out more about the firm’s services and resources, visit http://www.rockindlaw.com/.