All Minors Are “Alcohol Restricted Drivers” in Utah
The legal definition of an “Alcohol Restricted Driver” in Utah is a long, complex quagmire of a law, with multiple categories and sub-categories of people who have been convicted of various alcohol-related traffic crimes or administrative offenses within a certain number of years (you can read it, if you dare, here).
There is, however, a very easy way to get on the list: by being under 21.
This has some interesting consequences. A minor who has alcohol in his system is always in violation of Utah Code 32b-4-409, the “minor in possession” law. But as soon as that minor gets behind the wheel, he or she is also in violation of 41-6a-530, the Alcohol Restricted Driver statute, and they will often be charged with both crimes.
In some ways, it doesn’t make much sense–the minor is not driving “drunk.” If he was, he would be charged with a regular DUI, just like anybody else. Really, including minors in the “Alcohol Restricted Driver” definition is just a way to punish the same thing twice. The minor can also received MORE consequences for that Alcohol Restricted Driver conviction than an adult convicted for the same offense, because a special provision of the driver’s license code requires that the minor lose his license for at least 6 months on a first offense. That minor will also be required to complete a substance abuse class before getting that license back at all. (See Utah Code 53-3-231).
Sorry my young friend, we trust you to vote for our elected officials (here’s your ballot), and we trust you to join the military and fight our enemies (here’s your M-16), but possessing a beer, that is too much for you to handle. You must be punished!
(Click these links to learn more about the Alcohol Restricted Driver law and the Minor in Possession law, the consequences of conviction, and what to do if you’ve been charged).