The state of Utah recently updated its DUI laws, making them the strictest in the county; what does this mean for drivers under 21 and has anything for them changed?
Updated DUI laws
Just shy of the New Year’s holiday, Utah became the strictest state in the nation in regards to its blood alcohol concentration or BAC limits. While the rest of the country holds a “standard” BAC limit of .08 percent, Utah has now decreased their limit at .05 percent. This reduced allowable BAC is comparable to other countries such as France while still more lenient than others including China, Japan, and Iran.
Minor consumption and BAC limits
The updated BAC limits in Utah apply only to residents and visitors 21 years of age or older as those are the only ones of legal drinking age. Resident who are not yet of lawful age to consume alcohol are expected to only operate a motor vehicle when there is not a trace of “detectable alcohol in [the] body” as stated in Utah Code 53-3-231. That section explains “A person younger than 21 years of age may not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle or motorboat with any measurable blood, breath, or urine alcohol concentration in the person’s body as shown by a chemical test.”
Criminal charges for teens and young adults
Any driver under 21 is restricted from having alcohol in their system while behind the wheel. These restricted drivers caught driving with alcohol in their system could face class B misdemeanor charges along with minor consumption and minor in possession of alcohol. Teens and young adults are still considered new drivers and according to vehicle insurance rates, have shown to not be the most unreliable to make good decisions while on the road. Adding alcohol to the mix will further impair a young drivers’ ability to effectively and safely maneuver a motor vehicle. For this reason, young drivers are encouraged to obey Utah’s “Not a Drop” laws and to continue to practice safe driving even when they reach lawful drinking age. For help with criminal charges for minors related to alcohol use, contact a Juvenile Defense attorney.