Utah currently has the strictest DUI laws in the nation with a .05 blood alcohol limit. Although the law is designed to keep the streets safer, it may also hurt the state’s economy. Many in the restaurant and tourism industry are already voicing their concerns. According to Kaitlin Eskelson of the Utah Tourism Industry Association recently said the new law is costing the state nearly $2 million in lost revenue. Eskelson was not alone. She was joined by members of several restaurant and tourism organizations, including Visit Salt Lake, the Utah Restaurant Association and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah while speaking to the Utah State Legislature’s Transportation Interim Committee.
Is .05 Drunk?
One of the biggest issues concerning the new law is whether a .05 blood alcohol level is truly considered intoxication. Many in the restaurant industry say it is not. Among the biggest critics is Sarah Longwell of the American Beverage Institute. Her organization has already begun running ad campaigns in surrounding states, urging visitors to cancel their vacation plans in Utah. However, some lawmakers, like Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams (R-Layton) says the .05 mandate is already saving lives. He sees Utah as a leader in stricter DUI laws.
“I think there has been a chilling effect,” Adam told Salt Lake City TV station Fox 13. “ I think people are reticent to get behind the wheel. I think they’re still drinking at restaurants and bars. I think as Utah, we can lead the way on this.”
Shortly after the law was signed by Governor Gary Herbert, he ordered it to be reviewed in order to address any unintended consequences. Members of the State Legislature are considering changes. But do not expect it to be repealed anytime soon. The fact is most states have a .08 blood alcohol limit–almost twice that of Utah. But the question remains of whether a person with .05 is truly drunk. The answer is not quite that simple. Here are some factors to consider:
- Size matters: A larger person will have more blood to dilute the amount of alcohol in their system. A 200 pound man drinking the same amount of alcohol as a 150 pound man will have a lower blood alcohol level.
- Gender: Women have a higher blood alcohol level than men even after drinking the same amount. This is due to their distribution of fat versus muscle.
- Genetics: Certain ethnicities, such as Asians, generally have fewer enzymes to break down alcohol.
- Food Consumption: The amount of food you eat can also affect a person’s blood alcohol level. Drinking on a full stomach allows the body more time to process alcohol, which lowers the blood alcohol level.
Have You Been Charged With a DUI in Utah? A Salt Lake City DUI Attorney Can Help
Many people who are charged with drunk driving may not properly know their rights. It can often turn a bad situation into worse. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can make the difference between getting those charges dropped or spending time behind bars. When it comes to DUI, do not take chances with your legal representation. Count on the Salt Lake City DUI attorneys with a track record of protecting the rights of clients. To learn more contact the law offices of White & Matern, PLLC and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.