According to a recent report, New York lawmakers considered seriously whether they should lower the legal limit in this state to .05 blood alcohol content, or .05 BAC. Currently, the legal limit is .08, and a person driving with this much alcohol in their system, or more, runs the risk of facing the serious drunk driving charges.

Only one state has already lowered its legal limit to .05, and that new law will take effect just before the new year. However, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that other states follow course, citing science which suggests that drivers are potentially dangerous even at that lower BAC level.

While it remains to be seen whether New York will actually implement a lower BAC, it is important to remember that New York’s laws against drunk driving are broader than what one might think, and police and prosecutors can actually punish someone for drunk driving even if their BAC was below .08.

For instance, New York has a Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol law. Under this law, a person who blows .05 or shows some other evidence of being under the influence, but not enough for a full DWI, will face fines the possibility of jail and a license suspension.

Moreover, in the right circumstances, police and prosecutors may even elect to charge a person with DWI, even if they blew under .08. If, for instance, the person caused an accident, was swerving or engaging in other dangerous behavior, or the like, prosecutors may choose to go for a more significant conviction.

New City, New York, residents need to remember that even under this state’s current laws there is no safe harbor for a person to blow under .08 and avoid charges. These sorts of drunk driving cases in particular may call for a vigorous defense.