Utah lowers DUI legal limit to 0.05

Utah is about to become the first state in the nation to lower its DUI “legal limit” to 0.05 BAC, which would put it in line with most other countries and the NTSB’s 2013 recommendation.

The Utah legislature passed the law this week and the Governor is expected to sign it.

Utah has never been an alcohol friendly state, so it is not surprising that it is the first state to pass this type of legislation.  I suspect that other states will follow its lead, but it may take a while. On the other hand,  I do not expect the current Congress to force the states to lower their limit by conditioning receipt of Federal highway funds on doing so (as it did previously to get the states to lower their BAC limits to 0.08 and raise drinking ages to 21).

Going to a 0.05 standard is getting very close to a zero tolerance, “don’t drink and drive” standard, as opposed to our current tolerance for some alcohol consumption so long as the person is not impaired.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Utah lowers DUI legal limit to 0.05

    • a) Yes, in Illinois, the suspect has to be arrested first before submitted to the in-station evidentiary breath test. In other words, the person has already been charged with DUI before the results of the test are even known. b) a person can be prosecuted (and convicted) if he or she blows under 0.08. The law only requires that the prosecution show that the person consumed alcohol and became impaired because of it. c) they are fairly rare, but not unheard of. I just had a case the other day where I was tendered a lab result showing 0.03 BAC. d) Sure it would matter. I am sure that Judges would treat a 0.07 case a lot differently in a 0.05 regime than they do now. When I began practicing, the legal limit was 0.10. Anything under that was usually a not guilty. And cases slightly above it were often not guilty too. That was then. As for today: An attorney I know (a good one!) lost a 0.085 case yesterday in one of the Cook County suburban courthouses. He went jury. That would have been a no-brainer bench trial back before the limit was reduced, and an almost certain not guilty.

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