A report issued by Fox13 in Salt Lake City, Utah notes statistics that show almost 40 arrests have been made under the new DUI laws in effect in the state. The strict new law moves the limit for being intoxicated to 0.05, which is down from 0.08.

The new law was implemented on January 1, 2019. Since then, nearly 900 people have been arrested for DUI. But, of those, 38 have been arrested for having a blood alcohol content level (BAC) ranging from .05 to .079. This means that those 38 people would have been legally operating their vehicle under the old law when it comes down to only their level of impairment.

Can we stop and think about that for a minute? Thirty-eight people arrested under the new law wouldn’t have been breaking the old law. That’s a difficult pill to swallow if you were one of the 38 arrested with that BAC.

Statistical breakdown

Let’s breakdown the statistics reported by Fox13:

  • Seven arrests were for people under the age of 21
  • 24 arrests were of people who have restricted driving privileges related to alcohol
  • Two arrests were of people who had illegal or prescription drugs in their system along with the alcohol
  • One arrest was of a person who refused to submit to a field sobriety test and a warrant was issued for a test that turned out to be positive
  • Four arrests involved people who had a BAC of .05 to .079

A spokesperson for the Utah Highway Patrol, Sgt. Nicholas Street, noted that arrests are made based on impairment. “We’re happy to see troopers still making arrests based on impairment,” he said. “We think based on those numbers it’s the same for all law enforcement across the state.”

Opposition to the new law, including the Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association, released the following statement through spokeswoman Michele Corigliano:

“These results are in line with our stand prior to the law: 33 of these arrests would have been illegal under the previous law: underage drinking, drugs, suspended license, etc. This is in line with our research, in that it does NOT show .05 is the reason for impairment.”

What’s the bottom line here?

The data acquired by Fox13 shows that 33 of the 38 would have still been arrested under the old law because that had other issues at the time of the traffic stop: drugs, underage, suspended license, etc.

So really, whether or not those 33 arrests would have still occurred under the old law doesn’t matter. What matters is that the police are out to make an arrest when they initiate a traffic stop for suspected impaired driving. Don’t open your mouth except to ask for an attorney if you wind up getting arrested for suspected DUI. Provide as little information as possible until you can speak to an attorney.

With close to 20 years of experience representing clients who have been charged with a crime, Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, can help you successfully fight criminal charges. Call us in Annapolis or Ellicott City at 410-777-8103 or complete the contact form found on our website to schedule an appointment.

And remember – Keep Calm, and Call Drew.