Troopers prepare for new 0.05 BAC law on Sunday

Local News

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) Just in time for New Year’s Eve, Utah’s DUI laws will become the strictest in the nation this weekend. 

The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit will drop from 0.08 to 0.05 at midnight Sunday morning. 

For state law enforcement, they’ve been required to re-familiarize themselves with Field Sobriety Tests. 

“Troopers will start their shift on Saturday it will be at 0.08 and when the clock ticks to Sunday it will be 0.05,” Sgt. Nick Street said. 

With the lower BAC, Sgt. Street said it will be business as usual for the Utah Highway Patrol. 

Law enforcement will continue to make arrests based on witnessed impairment and results from the Field Sobriety Tests. 

“Being a trooper working our DUI squad, I have seen impairment between that 0.05 and 0.08 threshold. Those individuals under the new law will be arrested,” Sgt. Street said. 

In that threshold, 30 people were killed in the last ten years in Utah, according to UHP.

Former prosecutor Kent Morgan told ABC4 News on December 18 that it’s unclear how prosecutors and judges will handle charges involving the lower BAC.

“Will they be more lenient? I think it something everybody has to look at,” Morgan said. 

DPS expects an initial uptick in arrests as Utahns adjust to the change. 

This isn’t the only time we have been the first to lower the legal BAC.

In 1983, Utah became the first state to lower the BAC from 0.10 to 0.08.

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