Salt Lake City and every county in Utah just got a little more unfriendly to drivers, especially the reckless ones. The recent state legislature has dropped the legal limit for DUIs to 0.05 percent blood-alcohol levels, the lowest in the country.
These changes will undoubtedly open the doors to what can count as impaired, especially in a state where the majority of the population don’t drink.
No More Drinks
Utah has one of the lowest recorded automobile accidents in the nation, but the lengths the state goes to get that number down would have you calling your auto accident attorney in Salt Lake City. William R. Rawlings & Associates explains that a 0.05 percent blood-alcohol level will affect each person differently. Women below 150-lbs can easily pass that mark with a single bottle of beer, while a 200-lb man will still register above the limit if he had a couple of drinks in the past hour.
You don’t even have to be impaired or even buzzed to get charged with a DUI offense. Some residents are complaining that the Mormon population seems to have undue influence on the law. Mormons are known to abstain from drinking alcohol, so the stricter measures would hardly affect any of their faith. Residents fear that the stricter conditions for impairment might one day reach absurd levels, which may even prohibit coffee, tea, and medication.
Well, Hello Officer
Even if a police officer asks you to pull over, you’re not required to perform a sobriety test or use the Breathalyzer. Unless you are being charged with an offense, you don’t need to perform any test. Merely suspecting you of being inebriated does not give an officer grounds to charge you with an offense. Only take a Breathalyzer if you are being arrested, as failure to cooperate might affect the outcome of your case.
If an officer stops you, cooperate and remain calm. Ask the officer politely if you are being charged or arrested; if the answer is no, don’t comply with any test whatsoever.
Get a dashcam, preferably one that records both the front and the rear of your vehicle. This simple device can be enough evidence against frivolous accident claims and malicious reports. A total stranger can call the cops on you and make up a story after seeing you leaving the bar after taking a drink. A dashcam can provide enough evidence of your sobriety to refute those claims and keep you out of jail.
It might also be prudent to have an attorney on call just in case you get yourself caught up in an accident or some other serious situation. Having an attorney can hasten claims and expedite hearings, especially in cases that involve personal injury or more serious circumstances.
The new Utah DUI law seeks to make streets safer, but at what price? Casual drinks and a single glass of wine at dinner can now send people to jail. Common social practices are now limited by a looming threat of punishment and incarceration. All you can do is know your rights, drive more carefully, and have an attorney’s contact number on your speed dial.