New Utah’s BAC Limit –Necessary Change or Hidden Agenda

With Utah’s BAC limit lowered to a mere .05%, residents are questioning whether or not the change was necessary or if there was a hidden agenda; perhaps increased revenue for the state?

Designated driver needed for a dinner date

BAC Limit

Photo by: Mark Bonica

Beginning in December 2018, anyone enjoying a glass of wine with dinner in Utah may want to call a cab or bring along a designated driver. Utah’s new lowered BAC limit will make it almost impossible for any average person to have a single drink and still be legally safe to drive. Although most distressing vehicle accidents where alcohol is a factor involve drunk drivers with a limit well over the current BAC limit, Utah went ahead and set the bar extremely low with a BAC limit of .05%, the lowest in the nation.

Tourists beware

Speaking of the rest of the nation, those planning on vacationing in Utah need to read up on laws in Utah that differ from where they are visiting from. The big change that may catch tourists by surprise is the lowered BAC limit. The rest of the country shares a similar BAC limit of .08% which Utah had also agreed upon until recently. Now those who travel through Utah, occasionally having a drink but attempting to be good citizens by staying under the BAC limit may end up with drunk driving charges; charges that are not only being called outrageous, but downright expensive.

Money, money, money

Photo by: Ervins Strauhmanis

Photo by: Ervins Strauhmanis

While bars and restaurants throughout Utah are foreseeing the monetary repercussions the new BAC limit will have on their businesses, all Utah residents who enjoy an occasional drink may end up feeling the financial blow as well. Come December of next year, driving with a BAC of .05% or more will result in DUI charges. Driving under the influence of alcohol in Utah is a class B misdemeanor as long as no one was injured and there were no minor passengers in the car. Along with a small stint behind bars and a suspended driver’s license, driving under the influence results in a hefty fine. Although most judges will order an initial fine of $700, it usually ends up costing more than $1,300 after other fees and taxes; More than a thousand dollars for every person that is caught driving under the influence. Until recently, those drivers forking over $1,300 were the ones that pushed the “one drink with dinner” to maybe 2, 3 or more. With the new BAC limit in Utah, there is likely to be an influx of generally responsible drivers facing DUI charges and more money coming out of their pockets.

More DUI arrests equal increase revenue

Losing $1,300 can be devastating to those on a budget or for individuals and families who are living paycheck to paycheck. There are some who won’t be complaining however, and that is the state of Utah. When a hefty fine is paid, the money usually gets redistributed, with a portion going to a state treasury for programs such as: domestic violence activism; school districts; and law enforcement training. The remainder may be divvied up between the courts, cities, and other funds that are not explained entirely. In other words, the state of Utah and all its entities lose nothing with the lowered BAC limit and end up better off financially for it. The residents and business however are the ones losing.

Stay informed on BAC limit

Photo by: Nick Fisher

Photo by: Nick Fisher

It is important for Utah residents or those visiting Utah to stay informed on current laws so as not to be blindsided when they are quickly pulled over by eager to arrest officers. By limiting drinks, taking public transportation, or arranging a designated driver, it may help to keep any extra “alcohol money” from ending up in the greedy hands of the state. For more information on current and upcoming Utah laws including those regarding the new BAC limit, contact a criminal defense attorney experienced in DUI charges.

Utah College Student Arrested on Campus for Prostitution

A Utah college student was arrested for prostitution over the weekend at her campus dorm room.

Struggling student?

Prostitution

Photo by: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

18 year old Ramajeh Marie Patrick who lives on Dixie State University campus in student housing was arrested March 10th 2017 after a lengthy investigation by campus police. There had been reports of multiple middle aged men seen on campus security footage wandering around campus after hours before ending up in Patrick’s dorm room. During the investigation, an online ad was located in which Patrick advertised prostitution. An undercover officer posed as a John and met Patrick at her dorm room, where she was then arrested by officers on scene for prostitution as well as running a massage business without a license.

Prostitution

Utah Code 76-10-1313 states “A person is guilty of sexual solicitation [prostitution] when the person:
a) Offers or agrees to commit any sexual activity with another person for a fee, or the functional equivalent of a fee;
b) Pays or offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person to commit any sexual activity; or
c) With intent to engage in sexual activity for a fee or to pay another person to commit any sexual activity for a fee engages in, offers or agrees to engage in, or requests of directs another to engage in any of the following acts:
i. Exposure of a person’s genitals, the buttocks, the anus, the pubic area, or the female breast below the top of the areola;
ii. Masturbation;
iii. Touching of a person’s genitals, the buttocks, the anus, the pubic area, or the female breast; or
iv. Any act of lewdness. ( . . . )”

Penalties-expected and unexpected

Photo by: Klaus Pichler

Photo by: Klaus Pichler

Prostitution is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1000 dollar fine. Strangely enough, the charge Patrick is facing for giving massages is considered a greater offense. Running a massage business without a license is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a full year in jail and a $2,500 fine; More than double the jail term and fine amount possible for prostitution. The details released of the investigation do not include whether or not Patrick was even being investigated for running a massage business, but she confessed to it as well as prostitution when she was being questioned by campus police. Unfortunately, Patrick’s case is another good example of why it is always best to consult with a criminal defense attorney before admitting to anything.

Utah Couple Facing Voyeurism Charges after Using Drone to Invade Privacy of Neighbors

A Utah couple is facing class A misdemeanor voyeurism charges after they used a personal drone to invade the privacy of their neighbors.

Nosy drone

Photo by: Andrew Turner

Photo by: Andrew Turner

39 year old Aaron Dennis Foote of Orem, Utah and his 34 year old girlfriend Terisha Lee Norviel were arrested after a neighbor saw the drone filming through his open window, seized the unmanned aircraft, and handed it over to police. Authorities discovered the drone had been used to film multiple people while in their bedrooms and/or bathrooms on single level as well as multiple level residences. Police were able to quickly apprehend Foote and Norviel after using info collected by the drone including a picture of Foote’s face as well as his license plate.

Voyeurism

According to Utah Code 76-9-702.7, there are various penalties associated with voyeurism. The penalty for voyeurism is a class B misdemeanor if the person “views or attempts to view an individual, with or without the use of any instrumentality;

(a) With the intent of viewing any portion of the individual’s body regarding which the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, whether or not that portion of the body is covered with clothing;

(b) Without the knowledge or consent of the individual; and

(c) Under circumstances in which the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

That charge is increased to a Class A misdemeanor if the victim of voyeurism is a child less than 14 years of age.

Voyeurism using concealed electronic equipment

VoyeurismWhen concealed electronic equipment such as a hidden camera or a spy drone outside a window is used to commit voyeurism, the charge is increased to a class A misdemeanor or third degree felony if the voyeurism is committed against a child under 14 years of age. Again, the charges remain the same based strictly on intent. Whether or not the person committing voyeurism succeeded in viewing the private areas of the other individual(s) body remains irrelevant.

Criminal penalties

According to Utah State Courts:

• a third degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine;

• a class A misdemeanor carries a possible jail term of up to one year plus a $2,500 fine;

• Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Anyone facing charges for voyeurism, with or without a drone, should consult with a criminal defense attorney to discuss any felony or misdemeanor charges.