If you've been driving for a few decades, you may remember when the blood-alcohol content (BAC) threshold for drunk driving arrests was 0.10 or even as high as 0.15 in some states. However, in 2000, federal legislation purported to withhold highway funding from any states that didn't adopt a limit of 0.08 BAC as a threshold for DUI arrests, essentially creating a nationwide DUI limit at this lower level.
Utah has recently gone even further, reducing the state BAC threshold to 0.05--the lowest in the country. This BAC limit applies not only to those who are behind the wheel but to those who are carrying a dangerous weapon. This means that being pulled over while driving, or stopped while (legally) carrying a concealed weapon, and testing higher than 0.05 BAC could subject you to arrest and incarceration. Read onto learn more about this change in DUI laws and how it may impact Utah residents.
Utah's Current DUI Laws
Although the western U.S. is often deemed as more permissive (and less punitive) in its laws than the midwest and other areas, Utah has long been strict in its treatment of alcohol-related offenses. This state has also exercised a greater deal of control than other states over its liquor supply; Utah permits only low-alcohol (3.2%) beer to be sold in grocery stores, while liquor, wine, and craft beer is sold only by state-run liquor stores.
As part of the effort to reduce intoxication-related deaths, Utah's governor recently signed into law House Bill 155, which reduces the intoxication limit to 0.05 for those driving or carrying a dangerous weapon. This law isn't slated to take effect until December 30, 2018, providing some time for it to be amended if lobbying groups or constituents have objections to its implementation.
Reasons Behind the Change
Although Utah's law adopting the lower BAC limit is the first of its kind in the U.S., reducing the threshold from 0.08 to 0.05 has long been recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board to cut down the number of alcohol-related driving fatalities nationwide.
Adding the weapon possession component to this law is also designed to reduce the number of gun deaths in which alcohol is a contributing factor. While Utah is a conservative state that is unlikely to adopt significant restrictions on the ability of those with mental health issues to possess a gun, preventing individuals from carrying a gun while intoxicated is seen as a step in the right direction by gun control advocates.
Potential Impact on Utah Drivers
The amount of alcohol that must be consumed in order to reach or exceed the 0.05 BAC threshold can vary by a person's size, gender, and alcohol tolerance, but in many cases, the consumption of even a single beer or glass of wine can put the average drinker above this cutoff.
While proponents of the law cite its goal to curb drinking and driving, it's likely that its enforcement will significantly increase the number of DUI-related arrests after December of 2018.
Utah’s Bad Boys Bail Bonds Can Help
If you've been charged with a DUI, securing your release from jail quickly is crucial. Sitting in jail could prevent you from meeting with your attorney, taking care of your family, pets, or even holding down a job. Contacting our fast, experienced, and reliable bail bond agents at Utah's Bad Boys Bail Bonds can provide you with a quick, easy, and stress-free way to post bail and minimize the disruption a DUI arrest can have on your daily life. If you have any questions or need to request bail give us a call at 801-895-4014 today.