With a large abstinent Mormon population, it’s easy to see why Utah had only 53 drunk driving-related fatalities in 2011, making up only 22 percent of total traffic deaths that year. However, the state’s low number of drunk driving-related fatalities is also attributed to tough drunk driving enforcement, including high-visibility law enforcement activities, increased DUI checkpoints, and felony DUIs. Since 2009, Utah has also required all convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders, to install an ignition interlock in their vehicles.
Anyone who operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher in Utah is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). A first and second DUI are class B misdemeanors while a third offense within 10 years is a third degree felony. Consequences can include a fine, jail time, driver’s license suspension, and participation in alcohol screening and, if necessary, assessment and substance abuse treatment.
- 1st Conviction: $700 fine; at least 48 hours in jail; 120-day license suspension
- 2nd and Subsequent Convictions: $800 fine; at least 240 hours in jail; 2-year license suspension
In lieu of jail time, DUI offenders may be required to perform community service or participate in home confinement through the use of electronic monitoring.
A first or second DUI is elevated to a class A misdemeanor if the offense resulted in the injury of another person, if the offender committed the offense while a passenger under the age of 16 was in the vehicle, or if the offender was over the age of 21 and committed the offense while a passenger under the age of 18 was in the vehicle.
Utah also has a Zero Tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. Anyone under the age of 21 who operates a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system will lose their license for 90 days after a first offense and for 3 years after a second offense.
Ignition Interlock Laws
All convicted drunk drivers are required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. The length of time a drunk driver must keep the device installed depends on prior convictions. Drivers under the age of 21 who commit a DUI offense must also install the device.