Dallas DWI Attorney – Articles

A history of DWI Laws

Prior to 1910, there was no statute concerning driving or operating any vehicle while intoxicated. In that year, New York enacted the country’s first driving while intoxicated law. California followed New York shortly thereafter.

The early drinking laws simply prohibited driving while intoxicated but made no effort to define what qualified as intoxicated. There was not a level of inebriation named. In 1938, a joint conference of a committee named by the American Medical Association and individuals from the National Safety Council determined that .15 was the limit for driving drunk. A driver with a BAC of .15 or higher could be considered intoxicated. A driver with a BAC of less than .15 could not be considered intoxicated. It is interesting to note that the previously accepted level is almost double the legal limit now.

The majority of laws and penalties concerning driving while drunk were enhanced and enacted during the late 1970s. The trend continued through the 1990s. These changes were due, in large part, to pressure from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, and Students Against Drunk Driving, or SADD.

The changes these two groups managed to get enacted include:

  • Lowering the legal limit first to .10 and then eventually to .08
  • Zero tolerance laws concerning drivers who are under 21 and have any detectable alcohol in their body
  • Automatic license suspensions were universally adopted

In addition, MADD is widely given credit for raising the legal drinking age to 21 in states where it had once been lower.

If you have been arrested for a DWI, Contact Dallas DWI Attorney Mark Lassiter at (214) 845-7007 to discuss your case and to determine the best remedy to your situation.


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