Don’t Drink and Drive in Utah

  • 2 years ago
  • DUI
  • 1

As I am sure you already know, Utah changed its driving under the influence laws to be impaired at 0.05% rather than 0.08%, which is what it used to be.  But do you know the penalties in Utah for driving under the influence?  According to www.sltrib.com first-timers in Utah, the maximum penalty is a fine of $1,370 and a three-month license suspension.  The statute also states a minimum of 48 hours of jail time, although some judges allow community service instead.  For a second DUI offense, the maximum penalty is 10 days in jail, a $1,560 fine, and a six-month license suspension. The penalties go up on a third offense to 62 days in jail, a $2,850 fine, and a six-month suspension.

The National Transportation Safety Board supports a 0.05 limit, noting that numerous studies show impairment starts after one alcoholic drink and that motorists are noticeably impaired at 0.04 — the BAC limit for commercial truck drivers.  However, this was met with controversy by the American Beverage Institute.  In fact, shortly after the Utah law passed, the  American Beverage Institute waged an advertising war against the state, placing full-page ads in newspapers under the headline: “ Utah: Come for Vacation, Leave on Probation.”

No matter what your position is with regard to Utah’s 0.05% limit, the law stands.

The specific Utah Code which applies to the penalties for driving under the influence is

 

41-6a-503.  Penalties for driving under the influence violations.

 

(1) A person who violates for the first or second time Section  41-6a-502 is guilty of a:

 

(a) class B misdemeanor; or

 

 

(b) class A misdemeanor if the person:

 

(i) has also inflicted bodily injury upon another as a proximate result of having operated the vehicle in a negligent manner;

 

 

(ii) had a passenger under 16 years of age in the vehicle at the time of the offense;

 

 

(iii) was 21 years of age or older and had a passenger under 18 years of age in the vehicle at the time of the offense; or

 

 

(iv) at the time of the violation of Section  41-6a-502, also violated Section  41-6a-712 or  41-6a-714.

 

 

(2) A person who violates Section  41-6a-502 is guilty of a third-degree felony if:

 

(a) the person has also inflicted serious bodily injury upon another as a proximate result of having operated the vehicle in a negligent manner;

 

 

(b) the person has two or more prior convictions as defined in Subsection  41-6a-501(2), each of which is within 10 years of:

 

(i) the current conviction under Section  41-6a-502; or

 

 

(ii) the commission of the offense upon which the current conviction is based; or

 

 

(c) the conviction under Section  41-6a-502 is at any time after a conviction of:

 

(i) automobile homicide under Section  76-5-207 that is committed after July 1, 2001;

 

 

(ii) a felony violation of Section  41-6a-502 or a statute previously in effect in this state that would constitute a violation of Section  41-6a-502 that is committed after July 1, 2001; or

 

 

(iii) any conviction described in Subsection  (2)(c)(i) or  (ii) which judgment of conviction is reduced under Section  76-3-402.

 

 

(3) A person is guilty of a separate offense for each victim suffering bodily injury or serious bodily injury as a result of the person’s violation of Section  41-6a-502 or death as a result of the person’s violation of Section  76-5-207 whether or not the injuries arise from the same episode of driving.

During the first three months of 2019 — with the new law in place — 135 motorists were arrested for drunken driving with a blood-alcohol level between a 0.05 and 0.079,  according to quarterly data released by the Utah Highway Patrol.

Let’s all be aware of Utah’s laws and ensure everyone’s safety on the roads.

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