Image of Alcohol, Keys, and Handcuffs.

Utah’s New .05 Legal Blood Alcohol Limit

Just like Utah was the first state in the United States to lower its DUI limit to .08, Utah is now the first state to lower its legal blood alcohol limit to 0.05. Even though the limit is being reduced, the penalties remain the same as they did when the limit was 0.08. Starting at midnight on December 30, 2018, you will be punished for driving after drinking a couple of beers to the same extent as if you were driving while sloppy drunk.

Utah’s minimum mandatory punishments for a first offense DUI are:

  • A fine of $1,420
  • 2 days mandatory jail time, but community service is allowed. 178 days more in jail will hang over your head.
  • An alcohol evaluation and treatment
  • At a minimum you must complete a 16 hour educational series.
  • Probation which may be supervised and include drug and alcohol testing, prohibiting you from possession or consuming alcohol.

Punishments from the State of Utah Driver’s License Division:

  • Suspend your license for at least 120 days if it hasn’t already been suspended.
  • Require you to have an Ignition Interlock Device to drive for the next 18 months.
  • Prohibit you from having any alcohol in your system when you drive for the next two years.

If you make a second and subsequent offense, the penalties will be more severe and the fines will be much higher.

How will I know if my legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05 or higher?

Depending on your body weight and gender, slightly more than one drink may put you over the 0.05 limit. The calculations show that for a female weighing less than 170 pounds, 2 drinks (a drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.25 ounces of 80 proof liquor) could put your blood alcohol at a 0.051 or higher. If you are a 110 pound female, two drinks could put you a 0.079.

Men have a slightly different calculation based on their body composition and as long as they weigh more than 170 lbs, they may be able to have two drinks and have a BAC of .040. But these estimates are just that, estimates. The average male weighing 180 pounds should reach a .05 blood alcohol level after having only 3 beers.

Every person is unique in their body composition, their metabolization rate, how fast they drink, and how fast the alcohol gets absorbed. So everything considered, these are just estimates. There is no guarantee or full proof way to avoid getting a DUI after drinking, even if it was just one drink. Be wary that if you base your decision to drive after drinking on these estimates, heavy fines and repercussions will follow if you’re charged with a DUI.

Utah DUI laws are severe.

The penalties for just being arrested for a DUI can be severe. As soon as the Officer hands you the citation, you are placed on notice that the State of Utah Driver’s License Division intends to suspend or revoke your license in 30 days. If you do nothing, you will be suspended or revoked. In order to avoid a suspension and preserve your driving privileges, you must request a hearing in writing within 10 calendar days of your arrest.

Get Legal Representation

Self-representation against a DUI offense is difficult and achieving a positive outcome is unlikely. The best defense you can take is to start seeking legal representation now. The attorneys at Schatz, Anderson, & Associates are highly knowledgeable and experienced in representing those with a DUI offense – Jason Schatz was the first attorney in Utah to get Board Certified in DUI Defense. There are so many complexities that follow a DUI charge, including the preservation of your driving privileges. Call or email us today and we will schedule your drivers license hearing for you. From start to finish, we will personally work on your case.

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