Remember that when you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI charges, there is still time to defend against a conviction. You’ll face hearings over both your driving privileges and the criminal charges. These are fast moving and the odds are almost always stacked against you. Simply put, you should get a DUI lawyer to represent you.

When you are picked up for DUI, DWI or similar charges, you in fact be facing two different cases: 1) A criminal case against you brought by the state of Utah, and 2) a driver's license revocation or suspension case brought by the Utah Driver's License Division.

 

It is import to keep these to cases separate from one another and understand the potential ramifications from each. To keep your driver's license and to be able to still use it you have to win both cases. The Driver's License Division gives you the opportunity to have an administrative hearing. If you do not properly request or appear at that hearing, you will automatically lose your license for anywhere from 120 days to 3 years.

 

Understand that driving any vehicle in Utah with .08% blood alcohol level or more is illegal, and by so doing you open yourself up to criminal charges. DUI does not just mean alcohol, but also means illegal drugs and legally prescribed drugs you may be taking. What it comes down to is are you "too impaired" to operate the vehicle safely.

 

Your intoxication level can be determined through a number of test and the officer has complete discretion to pick the test he will administer. Refusing a test will impact your charges and will impact your driver's license. NOTE, even if your blood alcohol level is less than .08% you can still be charged if you cannot safely operate the vehicle. Again this is subjective, determined by the officer.

 

The Arrest

 

First, DON'T EVER REFUSE TO TAKE A TEST WHEN PULLED OVER FOR DUI! When you have been arrested the police officer should inform you that you will take a test. If you don't submit to the test, the officer will take your license on the spot. You will receive a temporary permit which is only good for 29 days, you can request a hearing to fight that suspension. Learn more here, Challenging your driver's license suspension. If your driving record is poor, you may be stopped from driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system for 5-10 years. Also, you may have an ignition interlock device installed in your car for up to three years.

 

Once you have been warned of the repercussions of refusing to take a test, you need to tell the officer that you will in fact submit to a test. AGAIN, if you refuse and you are unsuccessful in challenging the officer’s belief at your hearing, your license will be suspended for 18 months if this is your first time refusing a test. For every other refusal after that you will lose your license for 3 years.

 

There is hardly ever a benefit to you for refusing to take a blood, breath, urine or saliva test. The penalties are too steep to chance not taking one. Also, you will go to jail for 48 hours and pay a substantial fine. And just like that popular game show on TV, that's not all! You may be under home confinement with a electronic monitoring device, do community service, participate in drug/alcohol assessments and maybe even have to take and complete a treatment program. PLUS you will pay for all of this.

 

 

License Suspension

 

When you are convicted of your first DUI, your driving privileges will be atomically suspended for at least 120 days and as long as two years. Your second DUI conviction will mean a mandatory two suspension where the judge can order an additional two years on top of that.

 

The first thing you need to do when arrested for DUI is try and deal with your driver's license. Generally, what happens is the officer will take your license from you and issue you a citation. This citation is your license so to speak for the next 29 days. If you pay attention, you will see small writing at the bottom of the ticket which tells you that you may request a hearing with the Driver's License Division within 10 days of your arrest, if you fail to make this request you will have lost your license. If you do not make the request, you will not be able to appeal the DMV action of taking your license.

 

By making the request, you will receive a notice of your hearing which tells you the date, time and place of your hearing. The hearing will take place before your 29 days of driving privilege are up and you no longer have any driving privileges. Many times this hearing can take place by phone.

 

No ruling will be made during that hearing. You will find out what happens by mail within one or two weeks of the hearing. Regardless, unless you have hear otherwise, do not drive after the 29 days has expired.

Your chances of successfully appealing your DMV hearing are not very good. However, your odds greatly increase if you appeal the DMV decision with the District Court. Having an experienced DUI lawyer will increase your odds of winning.

 

 

First DUI in Utah

 

Most first time DUI’s in Utah are a class B misdemeanor. If you had an underage passenger or there was injury of some form, then the court might find you guilty of a class A.

 

There will be 48 hours of jail time imposed. A DUI attorney may find ways of helping you be granted community service in lieu of jail time. There will be fines imposed upwards of about $1,400.  You’ll also have to attend an evaluation by a counseling center where they will decide whether or not to recommend treatment programs.

 

You’ll have to request a hearing with the DMV to attempt to preserve your driving privileges. A DUI attorney can request this hearing and represent you at it. He can argue on your behalf and increase the odds of keeping your ability to drive. If the hearing is not requested, there is a 120 day automatic suspension of license which does not include the suspension period the judge may order.

 

You’ll also face 12 months’ probation in which you must not commit further offenses or face probation violation charges on top of usual criminal charges.

 

In Utah, there is often an ignition interlock device ordered to be placed on your vehicle for 18 months. You’ll be forced to pay for its installation and a monthly fee to keep it operational.

 

If your BAC is .16 or higher, you’ll face alcohol abuse treatments and supervised probation.

 

Second DUI Offenses

 

Second DUI offenses carry a 2 year license suspension and 10 days in jail or a work service program. There will be further fines as well.

 

Although the penalties are harsher, an attorney can still fight second offense charges for you. We can find weaknesses in the prosecutor’s arguments and find facts to mitigate charges.

 

ARD Offenses

 

An alcohol restricted driver or ARD is one who has been convicted a various DUI or related offenses, for specific information on which offenses can lead to an alcohol restricted driver charge (a class B misdemeanor) see Alcohol Restricted Driver Law Information. If you find yourself previously convicted of one of these offenses and you then drive or control a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in your body, you will be guilty of this charge.

 

You become an alcohol restricted driver by committing one of the many alcohol related offenses or you have your driver's license suspended by the Driver's License Division for alcohol related driving offenses. Your status as an ARD can last between 2-10 years. Further, anyone under 21 will become an alcohol restricted driver.

 

This is a class B Misdemeanor and fines range up to $1,000 and possible jail sentences of up to 6 months. The court can make you install an ignition interlock device, remember you will pay for the installation. If you are an under age offender you will have further driver's license problems.

 

 

Breath and Blood Tests

 

When you have been pulled over for a suspected DUI by an officer, you will be given some type of field sobriety test. If the officer believes, based on that field test, that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer will then have you take a breath test or maybe even a blood test. Utah uses to types of breath tests; (1) portable breath tests or PBTs and (2) Breathalyzer® or Intoxilyzer. These tests will give the officer a better indication of the amount of alcohol in your system. Based on that test, if you are arrested you will then be submitted to a more accurate test, the Breathalyzer® or Intoxilyzer. The officer can ask for your consent to the test or get a warrant if you refuse, beware of refusing test, there are harsh consequences. For more information of refusing test, see Refusing a DUI Test.

 

PORTABLE BREATH TESTS

 

A Portable Breath Test is a small handheld machine use to give an officer a better idea of your blood alcohol content. These test aren't completely accurate and the specific result from the test will not be admissible in court, but may be used by a testifying officer as to whether the test was positive or negative. Because the test is not completely accurate, using only a Portable Breath Test is not generally enough for you to be convicted of DUI, additional tests will be needed.

 

BREATHALYZER® OR INTOXILYZER DEVICES

 

Once you have failed a field sobriety test and a portable breath test you will most likely be arrested for DUI. After the arrest, officers will generally take you back to the police station where they will administer a Breathalyzer® or Intoxilyzer test where they will get a more accurate indication of your blood alcohol content.

These test determine your blood alcohol content by measuring the amount of vapor containing alcohol in your lungs. Essentially what happens is the machines estimate how much alcohol there must be in your system for your breath to measure that much alcohol vapor. These machines don't measure your blood directly but make a determination based on averages, such as the average size of a person, how long the average person blows into the machine, etc. If you aren't average and there is some deviation from average, then your test may be inaccurate.

 

An experienced DUI attorney will be able to understand if there is a discrepancy in you test. If you or a family member has been arrested for DUI in Utah, they will benefit from having an experienced DUI lawyer to help them successfully navigate through the process. The consequences are too serious and potentially long lasting to try and do it by yourself.

 

Drug DUI

 

If you were arrested in Utah for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs (both illegal and certain prescription drugs), it is important to quickly. A DUI conviction on your record will have serious consequences on your employment, those with special licenses, and students. Beating DUI charges is not necessarily an easy task nor one that should be expected, BUT an attorney can examine all elements of your case and help file motions to exclude evidence obtained illegally or other useful strategies. Using an experienced attorney will help make sure you get the best possible result.

 

Under Utah Code, Driving with any Measurable Controlled Substance in the Body, does not necessarily allege that a person is impaired by any controlled substance. Instead, this crime is focused on whether the person has any measurable controlled substance in the body. This criminal statute allows any person to be charged with the crime for driving with any metabolite of a controlled substance in the person's body. A metabolite is a by-product that can be present in the body long after the "high" experience after using the illegal substance has disappeared. Law enforcement officers in Utah have broad discretion to target or select people suspected of using drugs even though the officer may have good reasons to know the person is not driving while impaired from any controlled substance.

 

DUI Under 21

 

Drinking and driving by a minor is considered an especially serious offense in Utah. Utah has a strict Zero Tolerance policy, any person under the age of 21 who operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .02% or higher faces serious consequences. In addition to sentencing, the person may also find themselves facing unintended consequences. A DUI conviction can shut many doors in employment and education opportunities. If the DUI was committed during a school-related event, the student may find themselves facing an additional disciplinary hearing by the college or high school.

 

DUI with Death or Serious Injury

 

DUI charges are aggressively prosecuted in Utah, if a DUI also involves serious bodily injury or even death of another, the penalties and consequences will be more severe and long lasting.

 

Under Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-207 a person can be convicted of Automobile Homicide. If a person operates a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the conduct negligently causes the death of another person, he/she may be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison and have a third degree felony on their record.

 

If a person operates a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the conduct criminally causes the death of another, he or she may receive a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

 

DUI and Implied Consent

 

When arrested for DUI in Utah, you will be required to take a urine, breath, blood or a test of "oral fluids" (saliva). Utah law states that if you are arrested lawfully by a police officer who had probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence, then you automatically consent to taking a test to determine you blood alcohol content (BAC), this is known as "Implied Consent". The police officer has complete discretion to choose which test to administer and the test needs to be administer as soon as possible from when you were last driving. The officer who pulls you over can even ask you to take multiple tests. You are required to take all the tests the officer asks you to take, if you refuse, you face the penalties of refusing to take the tests. If you do in fact consent to the officer's test or tests, then you have the right to request a test done by a doctor or other medical professional of your choosing. Don't be misled, there is no right to talk to an attorney before deciding to take the test, you best option is to just take the test and deal with the result afterword.

 

Being arrested for DUI doesn't mean you have to be the one driving. It is enough that you have actual physical control of the vehicle. This means the driver is in the car and can make it moves if he/she wants to. Even more, you can be convicted of DUI in Utah even if you never had any intention of making the vehicle move. A case regarding this issue from 1993, State v. Barnhart, shows you have potential liability when sleeping in a parked car and an officer finds you.

Under Utah Code, Driving with any Measurable Controlled Substance in the Body, does not necessarily allege that a person is impaired by any controlled substance. Instead, this crime is focused on whether the person has any measurable controlled substance in the body. This criminal statute allows any person to be charged with the crime for driving with any metabolite of a controlled substance in the person's body. A metabolite is a by-product that can be present in the body long after the "high" experience after using the illegal substance has disappeared. Law enforcement officers in Utah have broad discretion to target or select people suspected of using drugs even though the officer may have good reasons to know the person is not driving while impaired from any controlled substance.

 

DUI Under 21

 

Drinking and driving by a minor is considered an especially serious offense in Utah. Utah has a strict Zero Tolerance policy, any person under the age of 21 who operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .02% or higher faces serious consequences. In addition to sentencing, the person may also find themselves facing unintended consequences. A DUI conviction can shut many doors in employment and education opportunities. If the DUI was committed during a school-related event, the student may find themselves facing an additional disciplinary hearing by the college or high school.

 

DUI with Death or Serious Injury

 

DUI charges are aggressively prosecuted in Utah, if a DUI also involves serious bodily injury or even death of another, the penalties and consequences will be more severe and long lasting.

 

Under Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-207 a person can be convicted of Automobile Homicide. If a person operates a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the conduct negligently causes the death of another person, he/she may be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison and have a third degree felony on their record.

 

If a person operates a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the conduct criminally causes the death of another, he or she may receive a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

 

DUI and Implied Consent

 

When arrested for DUI in Utah, you will be required to take a urine, breath, blood or a test of "oral fluids" (saliva). Utah law states that if you are arrested lawfully by a police officer who had probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence, then you automatically consent to taking a test to determine you blood alcohol content (BAC), this is known as "Implied Consent". The police officer has complete discretion to choose which test to administer and the test needs to be administer as soon as possible from when you were last driving. The officer who pulls you over can even ask you to take multiple tests. You are required to take all the tests the officer asks you to take, if you refuse, you face the penalties of refusing to take the tests. If you do in fact consent to the officer's test or tests, then you have the right to request a test done by a doctor or other medical professional of your choosing. Don't be misled, there is no right to talk to an attorney before deciding to take the test, you best option is to just take the test and deal with the result afterword.

 

Being arrested for DUI doesn't mean you have to be the one driving. It is enough that you have actual physical control of the vehicle. This means the driver is in the car and can make it moves if he/she wants to. Even more, you can be convicted of DUI in Utah even if you never had any intention of making the vehicle move. A case regarding this issue from 1993, State v. Barnhart, shows you have potential liability when sleeping in a parked car and an officer finds you.