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What is “Liam’s Law” and How Would It Affect DUI Prosecution in California?

Posted on in DUI

San Jose criminal defense lawyerDrunk driving is a problem throughout the country, and California is no exception. According to the most recent data provided by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, California had 1,120 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2017 and saw a 9.3% increase in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities from 2008 to 2017. Driving under the influence (DUI) is taken very seriously in California, and a recent death has prompted legislators to propose tighter restrictions on those who drive with alcohol in their system. 

Liam’s Law

On September 3, 2016, 15-month-old Liam Kowal died from traumatic brain injuries after being struck by a drunk driver. His death prompted his parents to advocate for tougher legislation on drunk drivers, including a stricter blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) standards for those on the road. Almost three years later, on February 22, 2019, California Assembly members Autumn Burke and Heath Flora proposed Assembly Bill 1713, also known as “Liam’s Law”.

If passed, the law will lower the BAC state tolerance level from 0.08 to 0.05. In other words, drivers may face DUI charges much sooner than before. This bill has resulted in different opinions from both sides. According to an ABC7 report, supporters claim that the restriction would reduce deaths by 11% yet many do not think that such a change is the right action to be taken to keep people safer on the roads. For most, this BAC reduction will put drivers over the legal limit after just two drinks.

What Are the Consequences for DUI?

If Liam’s Law is passed, it will force Californians to reconsider their drinking habits. A first DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor with up to $390-$1,000 fines, jail time, a six-month license suspension, and a three- to five-year probation sentence that includes mandatory DUI prevention courses. In many DUI cases, severe and fatal injuries are also involved, which increases the charges significantly. Fines for injuries can range from $300 to $5,000. Deaths caused by the accident can be charged as vehicular manslaughter or second-degree murder, with the harshest consequence being life in prison.

Call a San Jose DUI Defense Attorney for Help

Liam’s Law has not passed yet, but the changes may be on their way. In other words, stricter regulations may result in more DUI charges throughout the state. At the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson, our attorney is up-to-date on all of California’s criminal legislation, including updates to the California statutes. If you are facing DUI charges or would like more information about recent law changes, contact our Santa Clara County DUI defense lawyer at 408-246-3004 for a free consultation.



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