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Lawmakers consider revising drunk driving laws

On Behalf of | May 24, 2013 | Drunk Driving

Iowa City readers know that college graduation parties are an annual occurrence in May, given the proximity of The University of Iowa. Other graduates of technical schools and other post-secondary training programs may also have course completions to celebrate. For other local residents, the beautiful spring weather may be reason enough to enjoy evening cocktails on an outdoor patio.

However, if some lawmakers and drunk driving advocacy groups get their way, such libations may be reduced to a limit of one drink per person. Specifically, there is discussion about lowering the legal blood alcohol level from 0.08 to 0.05. Based on some blood alcohol calculation charts, that might be no more than one drink per hour for individuals who weigh around 120 pounds.

Some drivers might question whether their driving would really be impaired at levels more than 0.05, but less than 0.08. Perhaps individuals might not be driving erratically, and could escape detection from police patrols. Obeying traffic laws and safe driving might be a good legal challenge to being pulled over on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Yet a probable cause challenge to an initial OWI stop is futile in the context of drunk driving checkpoints, where police might stop every vehicle in a suspected high offense area. What’s more, Iowa has an implied consent law, which means that license suspension or other penalties might be levied against any driver that refuses chemical testing via blood, breath or urine testing.

Even if the proposed BAC limit does not change, however, drivers in Iowa are advised to take preventive measures against drunk driving. If a driver is pulled over for OWI, cooperation and staying calm might produce the best result. The legal challenges can be left to the courtroom, in the hands of a capable criminal defense attorney.

Source:, “Correction: Drunken Driving-Zero Deaths story,” Joan Lowy, May 17, 2013