State lawmakers in Salt Lake City are prepared to send a tough message to those who choose to drink and drive. A new bill proposed by state representative Norm Thurston (R-Provo) would lower the legal blood-alcohol limit from .08 to .05. The bill is expected to be the main focus of conversation at the State Capitol. But will it work? Many critics say the new tougher legislation would lead to more unnecessary arrests and complicated DUI legal battles.
Drunk driving is a major problem throughout the United States. Very few states have tougher DUI laws than Utah. It is currently one of 24 states which utilize an all-offender interlock law. According to the Utah chapter of MADD, the all-offender interlock law has been responsible for the reduction of drunk driving deaths by 22 percent. The organization reported 8,813 DUI arrests in Utah last year, along with 1,736 alcohol-related crash injuries. These numbers have led $182 million worth of tax subsidies regarding drunk driving fatalities.
But Utah lawmakers want to go a step further by lowering the blood alcohol limit. But does it solve the problem? Many are saying no. While each DUI arrest in Utah has its own unique set of factors and circumstances, blood alcohol level remains the central element prosecutors use to convict a driver. Among the biggest critics is DUI attorney Salt Lake City. In many cases, prosecutors declined to go forward with cases where the defendant scored in the .07 and .06 range. To make the situation more complicated, there is a perception that lawmakers who oppose the bill are in favor of drunk driving. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Proponents say the new bill would make the roadways safer. But what is often overlooked is the increasing limit on personal freedoms. In many cases, just a small amount of alcohol can cause a person to score higher than a .05. Among the biggest opponents is DUI attorney Sean Dayton of the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer. He mentioned just one glass of wine could put a woman over the legal limit.
The Effects on Tourism
Utah is renowned for some of the best ski resorts in the nation. Thousands of people visit the state to enjoy the vacation of a lifetime. However, most are not aware of the state’s DUI laws. Just one arrest can cause a person to lose their driver’s license and even their job. Under the proposed DUI legislation, more people would be arrested for blood-alcohol levels that would be acceptable in other states. So far, there appears to more support for the bill than the opposition. However, the support is far from unanimous.
Conspicuous by its silence is the Mother’s Against Drunk Driving. The organization has yet to give its endorsement, making some wonder whether the bill truly helps or hurts the state.
A Salt Lake City DUI Defense Attorney Can Help
Utah already has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. But the new proposed bill would make our drunk driving laws on par with some of those in Europe. Each day, countless motorists are arrested for DUI in Salt Lake City. Many DUI suspects make their situations worse because they do not properly understand their rights. It is vital to have Salt Lake City DUI attorney on your side with a track record of protecting the best interest of each client. It is important to fight these charges as quickly and aggressively as possible. To learn more on how DUI lawyer can help, contact the Jardine Law Office, P.C. and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.