Could a BAC of .05 mean a DWI?

New legislation introduced in Assembly

Mike Baggerman
January 22, 2018 - 11:42 am

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - New York State may be changing its DWI laws.

Currently, anyone who is caught driving behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol content of .08 faces a Driving While Intoxicated charge, a criminal offense. New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, a democrat in Brooklyn, introduced a bill which would lower the DWI threshold to .05.

In Erie County, the average BAC of a person arrested for DWI is .16 according to John Sullivan, Director of Erie County's Stop DWI Office.

"If we lower it to .05 we're going to make it three times the legal limit," he said. "It sounds like a more egregious offense, but if the typical driver is already .16 I don't see how lowering the BAC will have any effect on the decision-making process."

He did acknowledge, though, that it could encourage the public to separate the idea of drinking and driving more.

Sullivan explained that in New York State there's the DWI law, which is .08 and higher. However, there's also the Driving While Impaired violation, which is between .06 and .08. Penalties are similar for both, though a Driving While Impaired is not a criminal offense.

Changing the DWI threshold to .05 would also mean that New York State would need to change its Driving While Impaired rules, per Sullivan.

LISTEN: John Sullivan breaks down DWI laws and reacts to the possibility of lowering the DWI threshold to .05

DWI - John Sullivan RAW.mp3

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