Now, it’s the first one to lower the limit even further. What effect, if any, does this change have in Arkansas? After a steep decline in the early 1990s, the alcohol-related fatality rate is inching back up across the country. Many people think that lowering the BAC limit again might have the same effect it had before, and the death rate would decline dramatically again. “We are behind many other countries, many other countries have a .05 BAC or lower and so maybe other states will now follow that Utah took the lead,” said University of Minnesota Alcohol Epidemiology Program Director Traci Toomey.
This doctrine is called negligence per se. Or negligence “as such,” he continued. It applies if the tortfeasor (negligent driver):
So, if a driver had a BAC above .08, caused a crash, and was arrested for DUI; that driver would also be legally responsible for damages. It does not matter how carefully, or carelessly, he was driving at the time of the crash.
If an officer reasonably believes a driver was intoxicated; an officer can arrest the driver regardless of the person’s BAC level. The charges will likely stick, However, if a sub-.08 case goes to court, prosecutors must use circumstantial evidence to prove intoxication. Personal injury attorneys must do the same thing. Circumstantial evidence of impairment includes things like:
In criminal court, prosecutors must establish intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt. “Intoxication” means that the person has completely lost the use of his/her normal mental or physical faculties.
“Impairment” basically means that the person has had at least one drink. So, it’s more likely that a person had a drink and was impaired, if they are coming from a location that served alcohol.
It’s illegal to sell alcohol to a minor or a “clearly intoxicated” adult. Third party liability theories like this one are especially important in catastrophic injury crashes. In these cases, the tortfeasor may not have enough insurance coverage to pay full and fair compensation.
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