Discussion of Lowering the Blood Alcohol Level for DWI in New York

Announcer: “Quinn and Cantara,” mornings on PYX 106.

Man 1: It’s 1800LAW1010, 1800law1010.com, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti on the phone.

Man 2: Hey, Paul, how are you?

Paul: I’m doing well, good morning guys.

Man 2: So, I feel like we saw this story before, but then we saw it again, talking about lowering blood alcohol level in the state of New York. From where is it at and what’s it gonna go to?

Paul: Well, it’s .08, and that was just reduced a few years ago, and there’s some talk, loose talk of making it .05 being DWI. And, you know, I did reach out to some folks who do this DWI defense, some attorneys out there, and they say, “You know, at that point, really, with the amount of, you know, these breathalyzers, these hand-held breathalyzers that are pretty inconsistent, and maybe are calibrated against the driver…

Man 2: Sounds like a money grab.

Paul: …if that happens…” Yeah, well, if it happens, they were, like, “You really can’t advise anybody to drink one drink and drive because they could put themselves in jeopardy. And now we always say, ‘Well, 150 pounds, you can have a drink the first hour, and then a second drink the next hour, and kinda keep going like that. But as it drops you’re gonna put yourself in the lottery of going down to the station, as they say.'”

Man 2: So, we literally could be no drinks at all. I mean, it does make sense, but one drink will put you over that new limit if they passed that law?

Paul: Well, it’ll get you in that lottery, meaning, depending on how quickly you metabolize alcohol, and one of the…the person that I spoke to said that female folks are less likely to break it down quicker. I said, “Well, is it based on weight?” He said, “No, it’s just certain people, and many females don’t break down alcohol as quickly as men do.”

Man 2: Yeah, they break down the sugars in it different ways than men, but, I mean, it’s like, how many, look, .5, man.

Paul: .05, yeah.

Man 2: That’s a 16-ounce beer at dinner right there. Isn’t it?

Paul: Yeah. Yeah, and then, you know, and even if you do one per hour, he said, “Well, that’s supposed to be okay.” You know, get pulled over and the police say, “Where you coming from?” “I come from dinner.” “Have you been drinking?” “Yes, I’ve had three drinks the past three hours.” Well, guess what? You know, you’re out of the car and now they’re kinda taking a look at everything, and these hand-held devices just aren’t accurate.

It’s basically enough to get you down to the station where you have a more sophisticated test that defense attorneys, anyway, feel are pretty calibrated against the driver. Yes. Is it a better world if those don’t have any alcohol and drive? Probably. The answer’s probably yes, right? How do you say, really, no to that? But at some point, there’s responsible drinking.

Man 1: The answer is light rail. That’s what the answer is. We need a, I mean, spanning across, and to and fro with this country. Light rail.

Man 2: Yeah, or just don’t drink and drive, period.

Man 1: No, we need to be drinkers. We are drinkers in this country.

Paul: That’s where it’s getting to.

Man 2: That’s Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. One more question from me. So, what you blow into on the side of the road, is that the official reading, or is the official reading come when you’re at the prison, at jail?

Paul: Yeah, that is not official, not even admissible. What it is is just enough probable cause that shows you have enough there…it looks like you’re over the limit…to get you down for the official reading. But if you read these conspiracy theories that are out there, the folks who produce these things are tied into law enforcement. And, you know, so defense attorneys who do this have an opinion, but at the end of the day, yeah, not…something that will get you looked at at the station house in a much more detailed way.

Man 1: Yeah. Get you a nice seat on a wooden bench with some silver handcuffs, too.

Man 2: Is this…

Paul: Making phone calls, yeah.

Man 2: Is this gonna happen? If it does, what’s the time frame, do we know?

Paul: Well, at this point, just a few people have signed onto this, but these things can go like wildfire, because, you know, from a legislative perspective, what position do you wanna be on? You wanna be the position of the safest opportunity to have someone without any alcohol in their system driving a car? Probably. It’s a real safe legislative thing to be behind.

So, the steam is low, but I’ve seen these things in the past. Once they start gaining, they can just…it goes like wildfire because you don’t wanna be the legislator who says…because, you know, the sound bite in your track is gonna be, you know, “X votes no to lower the limit. You know, supports drunk drivers,” right? So, yeah, we’ll have to keep an eye on that. Right now the support is low, but I suspect that if it gets a little more steam, it could go fast forward.

Man 1: This affects me in no way, shape, or form, except for maybe me getting hit by a drunk driver.

Man 2: Well, yeah, so it does affect you.

Man 1: But I’m still 100% against it. This is stupid.

Man 2: See, I have no problem with it. It just forces you to be uber [SP] responsible.

Man 1: It’s also more government getting in our business. If we’re responsible people…

Man 2: Well, yeah, because you could kill me.

Man 1: Yeah, but then don’t drink and drive.

Man 2: I’m talking about the guy who’s drinking and driving.

Man 1: Yes.

Man 2: Not me.

Man 1: I know. I know.

Man 2: All right. Well, that’s good stuff, Paul. Keep an eye on this for us, will you?

Paul: I sure will, and will report back when I find out more.

Man 2: Great.

Man 1: And then you see guys with, like, 35 DWIs that are out there still driving.

Man 2: Well that’s…

Man 1: That’s crazy.

Man 2: Yeah, those people should go to prison in my opinion.

Paul: They should.

Man 1: Thanks, Paul.

Man 2: Thanks, Paul.

Man 1: 1800LAW1010, 1800LAW1010, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Paul Harding, everybody.

Man 3: A little something, something, something.

Announcer: Quinn and Cantara. It’s, like, a one-legged race to the liquor store. Mornings on PYX 106.