We have kept an eye out on Utah ever since they first began talking about lowering the legal BAC level to 0.05% and when they, if fact, enacted the lower BAC limit in 2019. We had hoped that the restrictions would end there, not just with Utah, but across the country, all the while watching as more and more states, including California, started to consider lowering their legal blood alcohol limits to 0.05%.
Well, it looks like Utah legislature has struck again.
House Bill 325 seeks to create an “Alcohol-Restricted Individual Program,” which would essentially allow the government to monitor and restrict a person’s right to purchase alcohol. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, “Under HB325, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control would create the program, which would ‘prohibit a state store from selling, offering for sale, or furnishing liquor to an individual enrolled in the program.’”
The bill allows for individuals to join and be removed from the list voluntarily.
However, in addition to voluntary enrollment, any first-time conviction for driving under the influence could carry with it a sentence requiring a person participate in the Alcohol-Restricted Individual Program
This new requirement would be in addition to the mandatory penalties the court would hand down which includes up to 6 months in jail, fines up to $1,000 plus court costs, an alcohol assessment and attendance at a state-approved alcohol and drug educational program, and a license suspension.
State-run liquor stores would be required to scan a person’s driver license to determine whether a person is participating in the program in order to approve or deny the purchase.
A DUI conviction could potentially lead to mandatory enrolled a program that would limit, if not outright restrict a person’s right to purchase and consume alcohol.
According to Fox 13, “all alcoholic products (except beer) are sold through DABC stores. Even bars and restaurants must purchase their liquor through the state.” However, it remains unclear as to whether other alcohol-serving establishments, such as restaurants, would also be subject to the law.
Forget about restaurants, what about the many other ways that a person can get alcohol? A person convicted of a DUI could have a friend or family member purchase the alcohol for them. A person convicted of a DUI can go to a social gathering where alcohol is served, either commercially or personally.
Is it just me or does this seem like a futile attempt at the government telling us what we can and can’t consume? It certainly seems so given the many glaring issues with mandatory participation in the program.
Having said that, it’s nice to know that the legislature took at least some time to protect its citizens from governmental overreach. The bill goes on to require that “The department may not: disclose any information related to an individual currently or previously enrolled in the program, or retain any information related to an individual previously enrolled in the program.”