UnicodeDecodeError: 'utf8' codec can't decode byte 0xa5 in position 0: invalid start byte

This error occurs when trying to decode a byte string using the UTF-8 codec and the byte at the given position is not a valid start byte for a UTF-8 encoded character.

Here is an example of how this error might be encountered:

    byte_string = b'\xa5' # contains an invalid start byte for UTF-8
    text = byte_string.decode('utf8')
except Exception as e:

To handle this error, you can use the errors parameter of the decode() method to specify how to handle invalid bytes.

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For example, to ignore invalid bytes, you can use the following:

byte_string = b'\xa5'
text = byte_string.decode('utf8', errors='ignore')
print(text) # prints nothing

Another option is to replace invalid bytes with a replacement character, such as the Unicode replacement character (U+FFFD) by using 'replace':

byte_string = b'\xa5'
text = byte_string.decode('utf8', errors='replace')

It's important to note that, the above solutions can only be used if you are sure of the encoding of the byte string and that it's not really UTF-8 encoded. If it's not sure, you might want to try other encodings or use a library that can detect the encoding.