On December 30th, Utah will be the first state to change its per se DUI “legal limit,” to .05. The implications of this change are significant.
The idea that ordinary people can go to dinner and have two drinks is over. Unless a person weighs in excess of 250 pounds, he or she will be more than .05, and as a result “guilty” of being DUI. That being said, they will not likely be impaired by alcohol.
Interestingly, there are absolutely no studies that show impairment at .05. Field sobriety tests are not validated to show impairment at .05. In fact, when NHSTA studied the efficacy of field sobriety testing, the tests were validated based on the .10 BAC standard that existed in the 1980s.
Even worse, a person in Utah, an individual can be charged with vehicular homicide or serious injury by vehicle, even if he or she is not impaired. The future injustice is clear and apparent.
Will Georgia and other states follow?
Of course, other states will follow. The idea that our legislature will allow Utah or other states to be “tougher on DUI” will never last. I fully anticipate that Georgia will change its law to .05 in the next two to three years.
The implications are immense. Social drinking at dinner or a sporting event will end. It takes very little consumption to reach .05. It also means that truly innocent people will be arrested and convicted of:
Finally, it means that out court system will be clogged up with more DUI cases, when court resources could be better utilized elsewhere.
Yes, this may be “good” for the business of DUI lawyers, but I am 100% against it. I have no interest in representing people who should have never been charged in the first place. We already live in an over-criminalized society, and this is another step in the wrong direction. I can only hope the people of Utah will come to their senses once ordinary people start being arrested for having dinner out.