Over the past few months, Utah lawmakers have been urged to institute law lowering the DUI limit to .05. Earlier this year the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all 50 states set the Blood Alcohol Limit for DUI at .05. The chairman of the board asserted that research showed that a driver with a BAC “above .05 are at a significantly greater risk of being involved in a crash where someone is killed or injured.”
More recently, Matt Schauerhamer, a career law enforcement officer, wrote an opinion article in the Deseret News opposing a lower BAC limit for DUIs. Schauerhamer has made more DUI arrests than he cares to remember. His experience is that the majority of DUI arrests made are of people with BAC of .10 or higher. He also contends that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) field sobriety tests are standardized for BAC levels of .08 and .10. This means that when a suspect is performing the field sobriety tests, the suspect will display clues that the officer can observe if the subject is over .08. The tests are not designed to detect whether a person is over .05. This is a problem because the law requires police officers to have probable cause to arrest someone for DUI. Lowering the DUI limit to .05 would cause difficulty for an officer to establish probable cause when the suspect is able to pass all of the Field Sobriety Tests because their BAC is under .08.
Schauerhamer suggests that the legislature leave the level as it is or prohibit a person from driving with any alcohol in their body. Schauerhamer is not alone in urging the legislature to leave the limit as is. Candace Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), believes that lowering the DUI limit to .05 would be a “waste of time”. She believes that we should focus on more significant highway safety issues such as high-BAC driving, drugged driving, and distracted driving.
If you are facing DUI charges in Utah contact our DUI Attorney by calling 801-880-4200 or to email our attorney click here. A good Utah DUI Lawyer will consider all the evidence such as the Field Sobriety Tests to determine whether the officer had probable cause to arrest you.