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Utah on December 30, 2018 changed the blood alcohol level to .05. That means that if a blood or breath test the police have you take reveals that you BAC is over .05 it is presumed that you are under the influence of alcohol to a degree that you cannot safely operated a motor vehicle. It is the lowest level in the USA but many European countries have .05 as the legal level. Those countries, however, are not as car centric as the USA. In the USA our public transportation system is not as well developed as Europe’s. Advocates of the law have said take UBER or LYFT. Those companies are well aware of the need in Utah and will raise their prices.

If you find yourself out and drinking know that it won’t take much to get to a .05. It’s impossible to put a number on how many drinks a person can have because humans absorb and expel alcohol at different rates. Even how much you ate before you drank or if you urinated after drinking affect your BAC. To be safe a 180 pound 40 year old man could drink 2 ounces of alcohol and be safe. A 110 pound woman can drink 1 ounce. You may be able to get away with more but that is a safe margin. Take into account that the average person burns off .005 grams of alcohol per hour so after an hour if you were a .05 you would be a .045.

The Police have said they won’t arrest people who are not impaired even if they are over .05. They have stated that if a person passed the standard field sobriety tests (FST) they won’t arrest them and have them submit to a blood or breath test. What they have not publicly stated is that part of the FSTs include preliminary breath test or a PBT. The PBT is conducted by using a hand held portable breath test machine which measures your BAC. The results are not admissible in court, but the results do provide probable cause to arrest. Thus, even if you pass the other FSTs like the one leg stand, the walk and turn and the horizontal gaze nystagmus the police will still arrest you if your BAC is over .05.

Our advice at Paul Grant law is if you go out to drink only have one beer an hour and only drink two if you are 180lb man. If you are a 110 pound woman limit it to one beer over two hours. That will give you a safe margin.