New Law Lowering Legal Alcohol Limit Takes Effect

By: Bill Martens
By: Bill Martens

It's just another night at the bar, but before you pick up the keys and drive home, you might want to keep in mind a new law that'll put further limits on how much you can drink.

"In a nutshell, it means that P.A.C. changes from .10 to .08," says Sgt. Ray Sondelski of the Wisconsin State Patrol. "That's a separate and distinct charge from operating while under the influence. It's not the same. It means simply just because you have that level of alcohol in your blood makes it illegal."

Gov. Doyle signed the bill into law in July. Scientific studies show that drivers are impaired at .08, making reaction time slower and other maneuvers more dangerous. While proponents of the new law say the lower level will make the streets safer, not everybody feels exactly the same way.

"I don't think anybody really knows if you're at .08 to .10, so I think it's more towards legal issues that that would be beneficial towards anybody, but for a normal person sitting in a bar, I really don't think it has a determining factor if you're going to stay for another drink or not," says Lisa Rubow of Wausau.

"I guess I really think it's not going to affect the safety of drivers, lowering it that .02," says Chris Tatro of Schofield.

But it will make it easier for prosecutors to convict you, with penalties ranging from stiff fines to jail time, and having your driver's license taken away, all in an effort to keep you safe.

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