Reader Question: Utah and DUIs?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Peter asks: Longtime reader from learning about you from a Libertarian listserv I was on.  Your opinions of the government and AGWs eerily mirror my own and I have yet to read any of your articles with which I disagree on a single point and have, in fact, learned much in the course of it.  I am moving to Salt Lake City for work in order to get out from under the yoke of the state of Maryland. I read your article on the DUI threshold in Utah and found it chilling, though less so as I don’t do that anymore. On any level. As I got my own DUI here in Maryland about three years ago. It was…..a trying time. They understand the power of milking their citizens for revenue here and I was hoping that in Utah it might be a bit less like that. Despite the religious undercurrents in Utah (which I don’t care for at all, though I have met many Mormons in my work and they have proven to a man to be superlative individuals), do you feel that Utah is less statist than Maryland? Thank you for your consideration.

My reply: I think Utah is differently statist than Maryland. Better in some ways, worse in others. This is true of all states. In my state, for example, the state’s restrictions on guns were relatively minimal compared with, say, California. But we have both income and personal property taxes on vehicles and the state is notorious for especially tyrannical traffic laws. You will find similar pros – and cons – in Utah. However, Utah is largely rural and if you relocate to a rural part of the state you will probably find, as I have, that you will enjoy a great deal more in the way of everyday personal liberty because even if something is “the law,” it will generally not be enforced as aggressively in rural areas, if only because there are fewer AGWs to enforce them and because rural people tend to be more mind-their-business (not yours) types. This has been my experience, at any rate.

In re DUI: The entire country is headed toward a .05 BAC standard like Utah’s and eventually, outright prohibition via “zero tolerance” of any alcohol (or arbitrarily illegal “drugs”) whatsoever in one’s system.

There are several problems with this from a liberty standpoint, including the further erosion of probable cause (at .05 BAC, not many people will be “weaving” or showing outward signs of being “drunk” or even “impaired,” at least not by alcohol) and this will result in more draconian testing, such as forced blood draws at the whim of the AGWs manning “checkpoint.”

More generally, it’s also another precedent for the ongoing dumbing-down of the system. Everyone is to be presumed “drunk” – and an imbecile – and treated accordingly. Even when an individual has given no legitimate cause to presume he is either.

Note that even current “drunk” driving laws do not require the presentation of any evidence that the driver was not in control of his car; that he was weaving or driving erratically or struck another vehicle, etc.

It is sufficient merely to establish that he “blew” a point-whatever-it-is BAC.  Even if the AGW were to admit in open court that your driving was flawless and gave no indication that you were anything other than in full control of yourself and the vehicle. It would be irrelevant as a defense.

Consider how dangerous this as a precedent in law. Consider how this precedent – and the habituation of the public to such a thing as normal – has resulted in being treated as a presumptive “terrorist” at the airport.

Consider how likely it is that we will shortly be treated as presumptive Corona Carriers – and forced to submit to testing and vaccination – on the same precedent and principle.

Can’t be too saaaaaaaaaaaafe. And one size – tyranny – fits all.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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2 COMMENTS

  1. As I’ve said before, I live in the first town east of the Utah-Colorado border that legalized marijuana. There are seven pot shops in town, making it second to the natural gas industry for employment. Any given weekend there are lots of Utah plates in the parking lot. And every so often when riding in Moab I’ll catch a whiff of a toker with the windows rolled down. Over the years they’ve relaxed/reformed many of their screwy laws about alcohol too. But you’ll still have to ask for regular coffee instead of decaf.

    So pretty much like everywhere else, don’t attract attention from Jonny Law and you’ll probably be fine.

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