Drinking and Driving in Utah 2023: How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive?

Drink and drive laws in Utah

In Utah, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.05% (50 mg alcohol per 100 mL of blood). You can still be arrested if your driving ability is impaired by alcohol or other substances, even if your BAC is less than 0.08%.

Drivers of commercial vehicles are not permitted to operate if their blood alcohol content is 0.04% or above. Drivers under the age of 21 are likewise considered legally intoxicated at any BAC level. Offenses of this state statute will result in a DUI or driving under the influence charge. 

Drinking one to two standard alcoholic beverages can result in a blood alcohol content of 0.05 or higher. However, because BAC varies with characteristics such as weight and gender, this figure should only be used as a guideline.

Please be advised that the purpose of this piece is to raise awareness about drunk driving and Utah’s impaired driving regulations. This page does not support drunk driving in any state or location.

The governor of Utah signed legislation in 2017 that reduced the allowable blood alcohol percentage from 0.08% to 0.05%.

According to Utah’s traffic death data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the reduction of the legal BAC limit to 0.05%, which took effect on December 30, 2018, has helped decrease fatal crashes rate and alcohol involvement in the state.

In 2020, 276 fatal vehicle accidents were recorded in Utah—21%of this total involved drivers with over 0.08% BAC level.

You should not drive if you are intoxicated. Take an Uber, a designated driver service, or a cab if you must travel after drinking.

Utah has stricter DUI statutes to help reduce the number of accidents caused by drunk driving. 

It is vital to follow the state’s drunk driving rules. If you have to drive, you should first get your blood alcohol level tested. Your blood alcohol level can be determined with an alcohol breathalyzer.

We recommend checking the official website of Utah for more information on DUI driving limitations.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Utah

Alcohol can affect your system by impairing your judgment. It can delay your reaction times, lower reflexes, and alter perceptions of distance and speed.

These events can occur even if you do not appear or feel drunk. Alcohol intoxication symptoms may emerge as soon as you take your first drink.

Alcohol enters the bloodstream within 30 minutes to 2 hours of ingestion. Your respiratory rate may slow, making clear thinking difficult.

Although the legal BAC limit in the state is 0.05%, keep in mind that everyone’s reaction to alcohol is different.

The following variables may have an impact on your blood alcohol concentration:

  • weight,
  • gender,
  • anxiousness and tiredness levels
  • hunger,
  • level of alcohol consumption, and
  • taking prescription medicines.

Some people may feel dizzy or even pass out after a few drinks. Some may appear normal, but their driving abilities may be already affected. Thus, you must first check your blood alcohol level before getting behind the wheel.

A BAC calculator and chart can help you figure out how much alcohol you can drink before driving. These approaches, however, may not be suited for everyone because everyone reacts differently to alcohol. Nevertheless, it would help to use a certified alcohol breathalyzer to calculate your BAC precisely.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Utah

Blood alcohol values of 0.010% to 0.029% are unlikely to cause significant impairment. Individuals with this BAC level appear sober. However, as BAC levels rise, signs of alcohol-related impairment become visible.

If a person’s BAC level is 0.05% or more, as determined by a chemical test, they are deemed to be driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

DUI legislations differ from one state to the next. Test your blood alcohol level before driving to avoid fines and punishment.

The following are the DUI penalties in Utah.

First DUI Offense in UT

First-time offenders of DUI in Utah may face the following penalties:

  • Jail Time: Minimum of two (2) days in jail or Forty-eight (48) hours of community service
  • Fines: At least $700 plus surcharges and court fees
  • License Suspension: Ninety (90) days up to two (2) years as decided by the court

Second DUI Offense in UT

Second-time DUI offenders may face the following punishment:

  • Jail Time: At least ten (10) days in prison
  • Fines: Minimum of $800 plus surcharges and court fees
  • License Suspension: Ninety (90) days up to two (2) years as decided by the court

Third DUI Offense in UT

Third-time DUI offenders are bound to face the following consequences of DUI:

  • Jail Time: Up to five (5) years imprisonment
  • Fines: Minimum of $1,500 plus surcharges and court fees
  • License Suspension: License revocation as decided by the court

Ignition Interlock

The court shall order the use of ignition interlock devices on all DUI offenders in Utah unless it is determined and stated on the record that it is unnecessary.

Alcohol Screening, Assessment, Education, and Treatment

All DUI offenders in Utah are required to undergo an alcohol screening and education program. If needed, the offender must complete the necessary treatments as determined in the alcohol assessment.

When Can You Drink and Drive in Utah?

A number of factors influence a person’s blood alcohol content. According to studies, gender plays a significant role in BAC levels. Men and women have different BAC thresholds. 

Men have much higher levels of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) than women. The ADH enzymes control the metabolism of alcohol. As a result, men absorb alcohol more quickly than women.

The information provided below can assist you in determining the quantity of alcohol you can consume before driving in Utah.

Although research backs up the information below, remember that alcohol may not be beneficial or appropriate for everyone because everyone reacts differently to it.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in Utah?

Drink beer and drive in Utah

According to BAC charts, a lighter individual has a higher BAC.

After consuming a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer, a 160-pound male (72 kilos) can have a BAC of 0.02%.

A woman of the same weight who consumes the same amount of alcohol may have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.03%.

This comparison demonstrates how a person’s gender affects how they metabolize alcohol.

Given the above example, limiting your beer consumption to one to two bottles is preferable if you need to drive later.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in Utah?

The ABV of a normal 5-ounce (142-milliliter) serving of wine is 12%.

As shown in the sample above, a 160-pound male can have a BAC of 0.02% after ingesting one glass of wine. A female of the same weight and drinking habits may have a BAC of 0.03%.

When additional factors such as stress, empty stomachs, and medication usage are included, these BAC levels can skyrocket.

If you intend to drive after drinking, one to two glasses of wine should suffice.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Utah?

Distilled alcohols, such as vodka and whiskey, have an ABV of 40%.

A 160-pound male can have a BAC of 0.02% after consuming a single shot of vodka or whiskey. A female with the same weight and consumption level could have a BAC of 0.03%.

As previously stated, BAC levels can rise when other factors are present.

If you must drive, limit yourself to one to two shots of whiskey or vodka.

Sticking to DUI Laws in Utah

Every driver should be educated on the dangers of drunk driving and take all possible precautions to avoid it. If you are drunk, you may lose control of yourself and your vehicle. 

Driving high or intoxicated is dangerous. As a result, the best and safest strategy is to avoid drinking before driving.

Even if you drank a few bottles or glasses of alcohol, don’t overestimate your BAC and driving capacity. Instead of driving, consider other ways of transportation.

If you intend to drive after drinking, ensure your driving ability is not impaired. It is also advised to use a reputable alcohol breathalyzer to determine your blood alcohol level.

We recommend reading the state’s official website to learn more about Utah DUI regulations.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.