Utah DUI Per Se

Utah DUI Per Se

The effects of alcohol can vary person to person--while some may feel impaired after  two drinks, others may be fine after three. For this reason, Utah has established a baseline blood alcohol content (BAC) limit that can be used to establish whether an individual is driving under the influence (DUI) or not. Those who operate a vehicle with a BAC over the state's legal limit can be arrested for DUI per se and subject to harsh penalties if convicted.

DUI Per Se

Roughly translated, per se means "by itself." Therefore, in a DUI per se case, the driver's BAC  by itself is enough evidence for a conviction--even if his or her driving abilities were not compromised due to alcohol. The prosecutor simply has to enter your BAC reading as evidence during the trial to prove your guilt.

In Utah, like most states, the BAC limit is based on your age and/or license type. If you are over 21 years old, you can be charged with DUI if your BAC is .08% or higher. The legal limit for drivers under 21 is much lower--.02%. And you if you are a commercial driver's license (CDL) holder, you could be arrested for drunk-driving if you are caught operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04% or higher.

Utah police officers can use three tests to determine your BAC: blood, breath, and urine. Although the blood test is cited as the most accurate of the chemical tests, breathalyzer tests are commonly used because they are convenient and can be administered by the officer back at the police station, while the blood test must be conducted by an approved party (such as a doctor, nurse, or phlebotomist).  Urine tests are rarely used to determine BAC alone; they are often utilized when a person is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).

Challenge a Per Se Charge

Several pieces of evidence may be used in a DUI per se case, such as the officer's testimony, but the BAC reading is often the most important; therefore, you need an attorney on your side who can investigate the breathalyzer or blood test to determine if it is accurate. If an attorney finds that your reading is flawed in any way, that may be enough to get your charges dismissed or acquitted.