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Speak Out: Does Virginia's New DUI Law Go Too Far?

Restaurant association: Law punishes anyone who has had 'one sip' over legal limit.

The American Beverage Institute, a restaurant trade association that represents more than 290 restaurants in Virginia alone, believes a new law requiring all first-time DUI offenders to install a Breathalyzer in their vehicle goes too far.

The association has lobbied against such laws on the national level and in Virginia and a number of other states, saying it punishes anyone who has had "one sip" over the legal limit.

Gov. Bob McDonnell . It goes into effect July 1. Currently, installing ignition locks is a punishment in Virginia reserved for repeat offenders or first-time convictions where a person's blood alcohol content, or BAC, is higher than 0.15. The state's legal limit is 0.08.

Citing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the American Beverage Institute stated in a recent news release that the average blood alcohol content in a fatal car crash is 0.19, more than twice the legal limit.

“A 120 pound woman can reach the 0.08% BAC level by having two glasses of wine in two hours," the association's managing director, Sarah Longwell, stated in the news release. "Should she receive the same punishment as someone with a 0.19% BAC level or multiple offenses?"

The new law will cost Virginia more than $10.6 million annually to enforce, according to the restaurant association.

The group believes Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, has launched a national campaign to make Breathalyzers come installed in every vehicle as standard equipment.

Such a move would effectively eliminate "the ability to have a glass of wine with dinner, a beer at a ball game, or a champagne toast at a wedding and drive home," according to the American Beverage Institute.

ascending note October 24, 2012 at 04:47 AM
GeneC- Have you ever been convicted of a 1st offense DUI for having a drink or two responsibly? Let me educate you. Here's the breakdown for not being in an accident and stupidly cooperating with law enforcement about drinking;pulled over for interstate speeding 10 over the limit. Lawyer fees $750-$6000. I had the $6000 variety plus $3500 for the appeal. An additional $2500 to hire a third attorney to protect my professional license. Total fine losing appeal $511. The breakdown is $250 for the fine, $100 DUI fee, $10 Crimes Against children fee, $10 Security Fee, $80 Misdomeanor fee, $61 appeal fee. Your license is suspended for 1 year. I qualified for a restricted license that Virginia DMV reissued to me for $220. Before I was eligible for the reissuance, I had to complete a 10 week Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program that cost $350 and drive to the course 1 and half hours away from my residence because the local facility only held the course 2 nights a week and had a waiting list 1 month out from the actual conviction. Let me add, July 1st instituted mandatory interlock ignition requirements for 1st time offenders in Virginia regardless of BAC. That's on my car for 6 months and the rental is $80.90/month. I say per month because the user is required to return to the facility every 28 days during the 6 month period for maintenance and system download. Added this up yet? I'm age 45 with prior minor traffic tickets;no accidents.I am now a criminal.Tougher laws? Screw u.
Joseph Silvestri October 31, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Amen to that. MADD and other organizations are like a cancer attacking our society
Joseph Silvestri October 31, 2012 at 02:05 AM
So, Dave Raines, you're ok with a crash in which a sober driver veered into a crowded plaza and killed someone who was drinking a glass of wine as an alcohol-related death and thus falsely used to use bolster statistics and scare people about "drunk drivers." Davey, methinks that you are one of those parasitic individuals working in the massive, bloated DUI industry
Joseph Silvestri October 31, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Dave, in your second paragraph, you make a number of statements but provide nothing to back them up. Simply saying something doesn't make it true. There are facts that verify the assertion about the seriously drunk being responsible for the vast majority of these alcohol-related crashes, not the .08 person, but there are immensely powerful business / govt. interests opposed to the dissemination of truths such as this. DUI is now a massive industry that employs vast amounts of parasitic people, and I suspect Dave Raines is one of them. Re: Jim Daniels. The HSUS is a deceptive group that masquerades as a normal, animal-welfare group when it is in fact a radical organization much more akin to PETA and other such groups. People deserve to know the truth and HSUS deserves to be ridiculed and brought into the light. Maybe this will strike a chord in your tiny mind: HSUS only donates about 1% of their yearly revenues to actual animal shelters. HSUS took money from Michael Vick in exchange for helping him repair his public image, a scumbag who not only was involved in dog-fighting but by his own hand tortured and killed a number his own dogs. Any respectable animal-welfare organization would utterly nothing to with him but HSUS is not respectable, they are radicals.
John December 30, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Ok - im a 50 year old ex-navy pilot and ex-minister and i could have 2 glasses of wine for dinner, blow a .08, and drive circles around Jeff Gordon after doing so...AND most definitely drive circles around most sober 70 year olds out there driving 5 miles under the speed limit on I-95 (lol). The problem with the new law is that it takes ALL and ANY objective reasoning by the judges completely out of the picture. For example, if i'm a social drinker who goes out during the holidays and has two glasses of wine, and whilst driving home is pulled over by one of our local counties finest predatory revenue generators (a policeman) who is out there crusing around pulling everyone over for touching the white line or not using a turn signal, i'm automatically labled a CRIMINAL and forced to submit to urine samples for 6 months...what's wrong with this picture? I've decided to continue to drink and drive, and hopefully get caught so that i can sue the shit out of our draconian general assembly.

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