Will .05% BAC Become the New Norm?
Written by Moses & Rooth on September 14, 2017
DUI laws are getting tougher in Utah. Utah recently passed a law that will lower the current blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from 0.08% to 0.05%. When this law goes into effect in December 2018, it will be the lowest BAC in the United States.
Utah is lowering its BAC due to recommendations from a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report published in 2013. The report asked states to lower their BAC to 0.05% in an effort to make roads safer and potentially save the lives of at least 500 Americans per year.
However, the law—HB155—still needs to be tweaked before it becomes state law. It could negatively affect tourism, seeing as how the law will ban drivers from other countries from driving in Utah if they’ve had even a drop of alcohol.
Is the New Law Strict Enough?
Even though Utah will be the only state in the country to have such a law BAC, it still won’t be the strictest state in the nation when it comes to DUI laws. Arizona takes the top spot as the strictest state for DUI penalties. As a comparison, Utah ranks #2 for minimum fine on a first offense, #4 for minimum fine on a second offense, #9 for minimum jail time on a first offense and #10 for minimum jail time on a second offense. Overall, Utah ranks at #8—for now.
How Florida Compares
How strict is Florida when it comes to DUI penalties? In terms of criminal penalties and prevention, the state ranks #17 overall. It ranks 24 for criminal penalties and 5 for prevention. So while the state does well at preventing DUIs, it needs to implement stiffer penalties for those who are convicted.
Florida is stricter than South Dakota, the most lenient state when it comes to DUIS. That’s because South Dakota does not impose mandatory jail time. Florida does not impose a minimum jail time sentence on a first offense, though, unlike other states. For a second offense, the minimum jail time is quite low compared to many other states—only 10 days. Stricter states have minimums of 30, 60, 90 and even 180 days.
Will Other States Follow Suit?
Utah is the only state that has taken action so far to comply with the 2013 NTSB report. Because the state is largely Mormon—and anti-alcohol—many residents are happy with the law. Many states may be waiting to see what will happen once the law is in place in Utah before following suit. It can be challenging to become the first state to enact a law, plus it’s a lot of work, so other states are likely taking a wait-and-see approach to see if the lowered BAC is actually a good idea.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney Today for Help
While Florida does not have the toughest drinking and driving laws in the country, a person can still face serious penalties from a DUI conviction. A DUI can lead to jail, hefty fines and much more. A solid defense is critical.
At the offices of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, our Florida criminal defense attorneys have the experience to defend you in your DUI cases. Let us help you reduce your penalties or get your charges dropped altogether. Contact us today at (407) 377-0150 to schedule a free consultation.