Around a week ago, we started hearing about the National Transportation Safety Board’s proposal to reduce the legal limit for the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol. They were asking states to decrease the blood and breath alcohol legal limit to .05. It is currently .08. This had everyone talking, not just Jacksonville criminal lawyers talking. It is a DUI law that would affect many people. It seems normal to go to dinner and have a glass of wine with your meal. It is not out of the ordinary to have a beer with your nachos while watching a game. Does this mean that you are impaired to drive? No.
I wrote an article last week on the 20 Miles Law Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers website. It was called Changing the Legal Limit for Florida DUI Cases. This gives you the Florida DUI Law that makes it illegal to drive a car if your breath or blood alcohol level is .08 or higher. I also analyzed why changing the legal limit to .05 would do nothing to decrease death due to drunk drivers. The article mainly discusses the proposed change in the DUI law from the perspective of a Jacksonville lawyer that defends people charged with driving under the influence. I also touched on the negative affects this may have on local business owners.
Recently, I read an article that went into further detail about the impact that a lower legal limit would have on restaurant and bar owners in Duval County FL. The Florida Times Union reported:
“Anxiety among First Coast pub owners and managers is increasing as they worry their business could be wrecked by a federal recommendation that the legal blood-alcohol level be lowered. ‘Unfortunately, there are people in this country who think that alcohol is bad and that responsible adults shouldn’t be able to enjoy it,’ said Ben Davis, owner of Intuition Ale Works brew house in Jacksonville’s Riverside neighborhood. ‘If you’re basically saying that someone yesterday could drink one more beer and now that same beer’s going to get them thrown in jail, that’s not good for our business.’”
The Florida Times Union interviewed business owners in Jacksonville Beach about the proposed change in the DUI law. Dan Selby is the manager of KC Crave. KC is an upscale restaurant and has tables with beer taps. Selby commented on the proposed change stating:
“I don’t like it. … If they were to drop the blood alcohol to 0.05, it’s going to put everybody on edge…. I’ve been in this business for 30 years and 0.08 is basically like two beers. Anything after that, you can’t drive. I think it’s fine where it’s at. Taking it down to 0.05 is basically telling to people not to go out and have any alcohol.”
Don Capener is the dean of the Jacksonville University Davis College of Business. He believes that the business owners have a point. Carpenter said:
“Those [regulations] increase the costs and risks for businesses…. How it’s implemented becomes the issue because it can have a large impact on businesses. … In the case of these bars, it may be that they’ll find that individuals will decrease a bar tab from a $15 or $20 bar tab down to half of that or less.”
The Florida Times article gives more perspective into the proposed Jacksonville DUI law. You can read about it at Jacksonville.com.