Alcohol is psychologically and physically addictive. The risks of using alcohol also include respiratory depression; depression of the immune system; increased risk of heart disease, cancer, accidents, or hypertension; brain damage; damage to unborn fetus; or impotence at high-dosage levels. Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. These infants often have irreversible physical abnormalities and mental disabilities. Research shows that children of alcoholic parent are at greater risk of becoming alcoholics.
High doses of alcohol cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described. Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
It is illegal to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle, even when parked, while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Utah's Implied Consent Law requires submission to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. Refusal will result in revocation of your license for one year. You are in violation if your BAC is .08 or greater or the officer judges you to be impaired.
Class B misdemeanor for the first and second conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Not less than 48 hours in jail,
- Serve 48 hours in a compensatory-service work program
- Pay a fine of not less than $700
Class A misdemeanor for the following
- Bodily injury was inflicted upon another person
- There was a passenger under 16 years of age in the vehicle at the time of the offense
- Was 21 years of age or older and had a passenger under 18 years of age at the time of the offense
- Not less than 240 hours in jail
- Serve 240 hours in a compensatory-service work program
- Pay a fine of not less than $800
Third degree felony for the following
- Inflects serious bodily injury upon another
- The person has two or more convictions, each of which is within ten years of the current conviction.
- If the conviction is at any time after a conviction of automobile homicide that is committed after July 1, 2001
Note: A person is guilty of a separate offense for each victim suffering bodily injury or serious bodily injury or death.
Sentencing: if the court suspends prison time and places the defendant on probation, the court shall impose
- A jail sentence of not less than 1500 hours
- Pay a fine of not less than $1500
- Place under a supervised probation
- An order requiring the person to obtain a screening and assessment and substance abuse treatment at a substance abuse program providing intensive care or inpatient treatment and long term care closely supervised follow-through after treatment for not less than 240 hours.
Suspension of driver license
If a person is 21 years of age or older at the time of arrest, The Driver License Division will suspend the operator's license of a person convicted for the first time of an offense committed on or after July 1, 2009; and revoke for a period of two years the license of a person if the person if the person has a prior conviction and the current driving under the influence violation is committed within a period of ten years from the date of the prior violation and on or after July 1, 2009.
Minors in Possession (MIP)
It is illegal for minors (under 21) to buy, possess (even hold), or drink alcohol. Penalties: Up to six months imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine; Class B misdemeanor. When a minor who is at least 18 years old, but younger than 21 years old, is found in violation of this law, the court hearing the case shall suspend the minor's driving privileges
It is illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to operate a vehicle while there is any measurable alcohol (less than .08) in his or her body. Penalties: Loss of license for 120 days or until the person is 21 years old, whichever is longer, required substance abuse assessment, and may face MIP laws. A second offense within ten of a prior denial or suspension and committed on or after July 1, 2009 will results in suspension until the person is 21 or for a period of two years whichever is longer.
It is illegal to drink any alcoholic beverage while operating, or as a passenger in, a vehicle (parked or moving), or have an open container in a vehicle. Once a container is opened, one can be arrested for possession. Violating an open container law is a Class B misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine.
It is illegal to sell or supply alcohol to a minor. Penalties: Up to one year imprisonment and/or up to $2,500 fine; Class A misdemeanor.
It is illegal to drink in a public building, park, or stadium or to be so intoxicated that you disturb others or injure yourself or others. Maximum penalty is 90 days imprisonment and/or $750 fine; Class C misdemeanor. It is also illegal to sell or supply to intoxicated persons or to purchase alcohol if intoxicated. Maximum penalty is six months imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine; Class B misdemeanor.
Unlawful Transfer or Use of Identification Card
It is illegal to give or use another's identification card to (1) procure alcoholic beverages, (2) gain admittance where alcohol is sold or consumed, and (3) obtain employment that requires employees to handle alcoholic products. Maximum penalty: six months imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine; Class B misdemeanor.
Dram Shop Liability
This refers to any person who provides alcoholic beverages illegally to underage persons or who provides alcohol to someone who is apparently intoxicated or, given the circumstances, may be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. If the intoxicated person causes injury to persons or property while intoxicated, the person who furnished the alcohol is liable for injuries, property, or support to any third person or their spouse, child, or parent.