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Tougher DUI laws okayed

Legislation to toughen Florida's drunken-driving laws by lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit cleared a House panel Tuesday.

The House Criminal Justice Committee voted unanimously for the bill, which also sets up a new vehicle forfeiture standard for repeat offenders and increases penalties for drunken boating accidents.

In Florida, a motorist is now considered impaired with a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 or above. The bill would reduce that to 0.09 percent unless the driver was younger than 21, where it would be 0.02 percent.

Police officers would be able to immediately suspend the license of any person under 21 who's suspected of DUI. People younger than 21 serving in the armed forces would be exempt from both provisions.

A Senate version would reduce the legal intoxication level to 0.08 percent for adults.