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Will Florida follow states that lower the legal limit to .05?

Whether you anticipate attending a raucous party for the football championship game or you are already dealing with the legal consequences of a holiday party, you would benefit from an understanding of Florida's drunk driving laws. Like most other states, Florida takes DUI seriously, tallying statistics of the injuries and fatalities that result from accidents involving impaired drivers, and tightening the laws related to drunk driving arrests.

Currently, the law in most states sets the legal limit from a driver's blood alcohol concentration at .08, and if your BAC reaches that percentage or higher, law enforcement will likely arrest you even if your driving does not seem impaired. However, another state recently lowered its BAC limit, and you may be wondering if Florida will do the same.

How alcohol may affect you

The legal limit for alcohol impairment used to be .10, until 1983 when Utah and Oregon lowered theirs to .08. Across the country, .08 was the BAC limit, thanks to a 2004 law that threatened to rescind federal highway funding for states that did not adopt a .08 limit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, if you have a BAC at the legal limit, you may be experiencing the following effects that could make it difficult for you to operate a motor vehicle:

  • Difficulty remembering things that happened recently
  • Problems focusing on what you are doing
  • Faulty perception
  • Confusion while trying to process information
  • Difficulty managing more than one task at a time, such as steering and controlling speed

If you are a 160-pound man, .08 equals about four alcoholic drinks in an hour. For someone smaller or who has not eaten, the number of drinks could be significantly fewer.

Will the legal limit go down?

Recently, Utah lowered its BAC to .05. This could equal three drinks for a 160-pound man, but perhaps a glass of wine with dinner would be enough to bring you to that level. The NHTSA says .05 may make it difficult for you to keep track of vehicles moving around you, control your vehicle or respond to sudden changes around you.

While the legal limit for driving in Florida after consuming alcohol is still .08, at least for now, it is important to consider many factors if you are facing DUI charges. Law enforcement is zealous to get drunk drivers off the road, and you want to be certain to protect your rights every step of the way.

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