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History of Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a relatively new crime that developed with the rise of the automobile, according to Broward DUI Lawyer William Moore. There was no common law equivalent offense, like operating a horse-drawn carriage under the influence, so DUI developed as a statutory scheme in the 1900s. Over time, DUI laws have become stricter and stricter. Organizations devoted to anti-drunk driving advocacy and state legislators have never been compelled to loosen restrictions, instead progressively tightening the laws governing DUI throughout the twentieth century. Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore says that this movement has probably had both good and bad consequences: although DUI laws and particularly DUI enforcement can exceed the boundaries of rationality at times, it is generally positive to prevent and deter people from driving while under the influence of alcohol to protect the general safety of the public.

The first law criminalizing DUI dates back to 1910. The New York state legislature passed the law and, in due course, other states began to follow suit. These statutes were the predecessors to the laws that make up part of the DUI legislation used in Florida at the present time. Most people are familiar with the 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration level at which the law presumes a driver is impaired, but they may not be familiar with the statute that simply makes operating a motor vehicle while impaired – even if the driver’s BAC is well under 0.08 percent – a crime. Like this component of modern Florida law, the early DUI laws did not specify a method of measuring intoxication.

Later, in 1938, the American Medical Association studied alcohol impairment and made recommendations that the states should establish 0.15 percent as the level at which a driver was presumed drunk. For reference, a 180 pound man would probably have to consume between seven and eight beers in only an hour to achieve that level of intoxication – an amount that almost everyone would agree is excessive before getting behind the wheel. Likewise, a female weighing 130 pounds would have to consume five glasses of wine in an hour, or approximately an entire bottle, to be impaired under that standard.

The 1980s saw a tremendous shift in DUI law, says Broward DUI attorney William Moore. In addition to changed standards as to what constitutes impairment, organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving advocated for significantly more law enforcement officials devoted to arresting drunk drivers. The 1990s continued this trend, resulting in harsher sentencing even for first-time offenders. Now, the level at which a driver is presumed to be intoxicated is 0.08 percent BAC in every U.S. state, almost half of what it was several decades ago.

Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore provides outstanding DUI defense in Broward, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Lauderdale-Dade Counties. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore, P.A.

This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice nor as implied representation of any person.

Article contributed by Mallory Shipman Esq.

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