Evaluation of Utah’s .05 BAC Per Se Law

Is it me or do others notice too that increasing the penalty or lowering the threshold for the crime only works for a crime like Driving While Intoxicated for preventing people from driving drunk? It doesn’t work for drugs, or theft, or shoplifting but it works for DWI. Interesting. Lower the criteria for DWI thereby more people will be violating the law and it makes more people stop breaking the law. Enforce DWI laws and more people stop drinking and driving.

In the news shoplifting is rampant yet lawmakers and prosecutors want to raise the criteria for committing shoplifting and they don’t what to prosecute shoplifting after a person is arrested. Yet the argument is that shoplifting will go down?

Why does it work in just the opposite way for DWI? In most cases DWI is the same level of crime as shoplifting and they carry the same punishment for prison. DWI has powerful lobbying groups – anti-shoplifting doesn’t. DWI carries substantial state penalties in the form of thousands of dollars in fines, shoplifting doesn’t. DWI carries substantial penalties for car insurance – not shoplifting. For DWI you need an attorney, you don’t need an attorney for shoplifting especially if its your first one. Bottom line DWI costs about $9,000.00 in fines, insurance, attorney fees, shoplifting $0.00 and in some states they don’t even want to persecute shoplifting.

The crime of DWI was made more severe in an attempt to lower the number of people committing DWI and fatal crashes. The crime of shoplifting Is being treated less harshly so people stop stealing. Does this make sense?

Why don’t government treat DWI like shoplifting? Then there would probably be NO DWIs at all!!!

Results
Legislative Review. This indicated the motivation for lowering the BAC law from .08 to .05 was a desire to improve traffic safety. The majority of objections were based on hypothesized negative effects on the economy (e.g., alcohol sales, tax revenues, and tourism), the belief arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) would increase drastically for people who had “one or two drinks,” and the assumption there would be no safety benefits.

The report can be accessed HERE

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