Utah Blood Alcohol Content
While a driver may be arrested for exhibiting signs of intoxication while operating a vehicle, most Utah driving under the influence (DUI) charges are based on the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) while behind the wheel. Although BAC is not always an indicator of impairment, just being over the state's legal BAC limit is enough to be convicted of drunk driving. Because a DUI conviction will result in a number of serious repercussions, it is worth speaking to a defense lawyer to determine if challenging your BAC is possible or if there are any other options that could help your case.
Utah BAC Limits
Like the rest of the nation, Utah has adapted .08% as the legal BAC limit for drivers 21 years of age and older; however, as mentioned earlier, you can be charged with DUI with a lower limit if your ability to drive is compromised.
Utah's Zero Tolerance laws make it a crime for minors to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or higher. While an underage driver may face an Under 21 DUI with a BAC between .02% and .08%, he or she may face a standard DUI for possessing a BAC of .08% or higher.
Commercial driver's license (CDL) holders operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the incident could be charged with DUI for a BAC as low as .04%. The penalty for a BAC over the legal limit could result in a one-year license suspension for a first offense and a lifetime CDL revocation if arrested for a second DUI.
How BAC Is Determined
There are three chemical tests that may be used to determine BAC: blood, breathalyzer, and urine. Of the three tests, the blood test is the most accurate because it measures the alcohol content directly from the bloodstream; however, it isn't very convenient because the blood must be drawn in a medical setting by an approved professional.
Most police departments prefer the breathalyzer test because it can be administered at the police station or in a mobile unit by someone who is certified to use it. This test works by analyzing the alcohol from the deep lung air to calculate how much alcohol must be in the blood.
While the urine test could be used as a last resort to measure BAC, it is most often used when an individual is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs.
Fighting a Utah DUI Charge
Even if your BAC was over the legal limit, it may be possible to fight your drunk-driving charge. Chemical tests are not without their issues, and can be challenged if your defense attorney uncovers any errors. At Covey & Young, we have helped many clients who thought winning their case was not possible.
If you have questions about blood alcohol content or other Utah DUI laws, call Covey & Young at (801) 251-6869. They're available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Don't forget to fill out a short questionnaire to download your free copy of The Utah DUI Fact Guide today.