Should You Plead Guilty To A DUI?
DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. Because the way definition is phrased, there is a great deal of local interpretation as to what “under the influence” really means. Drivers are often arrested because of a cop’s suspicion. This can happen even if the individual passed a Breathalyzer test. The police may try to make examples out of sober drivers in order to deter future incidents of actual drunk driving.
It is not against the law to drink moderately and then drive home once sober. Nevertheless, drivers may face accusations of DUI and suffer severe penalties. Some drivers have been locked up in jail, had their license suspended or have been forced to pay high fees to both lawyers and the state. A conviction will make your car insurance rates soar and may even affect your future employment.
This is why it’s important for accused drivers to consult with a qualified DUI attorney to discuss their legal options. Do not be content with the attorney provided for you by the state. Do not assume that the charges you’re facing fit the crime committed. The most experienced lawyers do charge a fee but statistically, get better results. An experienced attorney can plead not guilty and fight for your rights if you were wrongfully charged. Even if you were guilty of drunk driving, he or she can help you get a fair and balanced sentence.
After pleading guilty to a DUI in Utah, you will likely have several questions running through your mind. Although you should discuss the pros and cons of pleading guilty to a DUI in Utah with your attorney, here is a look at a few of the most common Utah DUI FAQs asked by people who are considering such a plea.
Do I have to tell my employer about my DUI?
State law does not require you to tell your employer, but your company contract may require you to provide notification of your arrest and conviction. This is most commonly encountered with jobs were operating a motor vehicle is required.
Will I lose my job after pleading guilty to a DUI in Utah?
Whether or not you lose your job is entirely dependent upon your employer.
Can my family or friends find out about my guilty plea?
While you are not legally obligated to tell your friends and family that you have been convicted of a DUI, it is a good idea to share this information with someone. This way, you will have someone to talk to who can provide the emotional support you may need at a difficult time. In addition, it is important to note that your case records can be made available to the public. As such, it will not be difficult for those you know to discover the information on their own.
What kind of penalties will I be facing after pleading guilty to a DUI in Utah?
The penalties you face will largely depend upon the type of agreement your attorney has negotiated on your behalf. In addition, certain aggravating factors can affect the types of penalties you face. Having a BAC of.15 or higher, having a child in your car at the time of the arrest, or being a driver who is under the age of 21, all will have an impact on the types of penalties you face. Jail time, fines, and mandatory alcohol treatment are all possible penalties that may be levied.
If you have recently been charged with an alcohol-related offense, you may be going through a lot of different emotions including shame, fear, and maybe even some panic. If you are like most people who are caught driving impaired or over the legal limit of alcohol in your bloodstream, you likely did not intend to drive impaired, or perhaps not even realized you were over the limit.
Perhaps after the fact, you’ve had the chance to think back over the events that preceded your drunk driving charge and you’ve now accepted that indeed, you did have a few drinks too many. And perhaps you’re now considering pleading “Guilty” to the charge and just getting it over with.
This is an understandable choice. Many people who are charged with a DUI end up deciding that defending against the charge will be too costly and time-consuming.
In some jurisdictions such as the Province of Ontario in Canada, it appears that the system is set up to encourage you to plead guilty to the alcohol-related driving offense. If you do plead guilty in that Province and are sentenced within 90 days of the offense date, you may have the opportunity to apply for early reinstatement of your driver’s license. You could apply after 90 days of your court-ordered suspension have expired as long as you have paid your fine and have enrolled in the Back On Track remedial program.
However, if you plead not guilty but subsequently are found guilty by the Court, this option is not available to you. You must wait the full year of suspension before you can apply for your license.
Is it away for the Province Of Ontario to encourage you to plead guilty and avoid a time-consuming trial? It could be. And it just might be a strong reason for you to make a decision to plead guilty rather than defend against the charges.
Should you still obtain legal counsel even if you are planning on pleading guilty? Yes, you should!
A lawyer can be of immense help to you in navigating the court system and has experience in understanding the nuances and formal procedures that are required in criminal court. As well, they may be able to assist you in obtaining a lesser sentence than what the State or Crown Attorney is recommending the Judge give you. A lawyer acting on your behalf could help persuade a judge that a lesser sentence is appropriate in your particular situation and for the circumstances that lead up to your arrest and charge.
DUI penalties can be severe and life-changing. Even if you are planning on pleading guilty, a lawyer may find something amiss in the case against you that perhaps there may be a good chance you could be found not guilty.
As with any serious allegation against you including a drinking and driving charge, getting the advice of a lawyer is highly recommended.
Why not plead guilty to a DUI and just take the penalties? You can be done with this entire thing in a few months, right?
Actually, pleading guilty to DUI charges is rarely a smart move. It’s understandable that you may have been drinking, perhaps a lot, and just want to face the music and be done with it. But you have to understand that you have a right to a trial by law. If you plead guilty, you are not just saying “I am guilty”; you are also accepting the penalties.
Hire a DUI Lawyer
You need a lawyer, especially if you are planning to plead not guilty. Hopefully, you are not pleading guilty and forgoing a lawyer.
In order to hire a good lawyer, you need to know their experience in and out of court. While plea bargains are rare, your lawyer may try to get one. You can find many experienced DUI lawyers in your area by looking online or through local law firms.
It’s important to let your DUI lawyer take control of this case. Yes, you are the one facing fines, jail time, and license suspensions, but your lawyer is the one with experience in DUI court. Be involved and find out what is going on, but also let your lawyer prepare a strong defense.
Tell Your DUI Lawyer Everything
You want to be completely honest with your lawyer. This is essential. If you, for example, hide the fact you have other charges, it can severely hurt his or her ability to defend you. If you did drink in excess, your lawyer needs to know. If you did say things to the officer, your lawyer must know. And you should also explain what exactly happened in the arrest.
A DUI defense is often about how valid the breath and blood tests were. You can also question what the arresting officer did or how he or she acted. This again should be left to your lawyer.
There are many ways to lessen penalties if not have them thrown out completely. You will likely be facing a judge, who often has handled court cases like yours dozens if not hundreds of times. It will be hard to have the charges thrown out, but it is very possible. At the least, a strong DUI defense can cast doubt on the charges against you.
An officer might perform the breathalyzer wrong; he or she might have treated you inappropriately; you may have never been read your rights – these all can lessen penalties. When it’s between no jail time and weeks in jail, hundreds of dollars in fines or no fine, and a one-year license suspension or a slap on the wrist, it’s easy to see why you should reconsider pleading guilty.
Speaking with a drunk driving attorney, once you have been released from the city or county lock up, can mean the difference between a rushed and unsuccessful defense and a dismissal of all of the charges against you. The penalties of a DWI conviction can have long term and devastating effects upon your professional, personal and financial future. So the sooner you deal with the allegations the better.
An experienced DUI lawyer can review the details of your arrest and evaluate the validity of the evidence that law enforcement officials claim to have against you. Did you blow higher than 0.05% on your breathalyzer? Perhaps you did. But was the breathalyzer test administered in a timely manner in order to accurately reflect your blood alcohol content at the time you were actually driving? Did you perform poorly during the field sobriety testing? Perhaps you did. But did the officer make any inquiries pertaining to any physical limitations, handicaps or conditions that might hinder your performance of the tests?
You may be under the impression that your DWI charges are simply yours to accept, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Many elements must be considered before you decide to just throw in the towel and accept the penalties. First-time offenders convicted of driving while intoxicated, as an example in the State of New Jersey, will face a suspension of their driving privileges, fines, fees to the state, surcharges to the DMV, incarceration and an obligation to complete a course in Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation.
In total, you could be facing more than $3,800 in fees and fines. The various “fees” various states have imposed on DWI charges generate millions of dollars in revenue and taxes on an annual basis. On top of that, there are the financial penalties that will be imposed by your insurance company or the expenses that you will be obliged to pay for drug and alcohol counseling, the installation of an ignition interlock device (if it’s mandated) or probationary supervision.
The details and processing of a DUI can be incredibly complex and confusing. Facing the courts without the aid of a legal professional is virtually the same as submitting a guilty plea or pleading no contest to the charges. The prosecutors are not interested in pursuing the validity of your evidence or ensuring that it was not obtained by the means of an illegal search and seizure – their job is to win cases. The job of the drunk driving attorney is to question all evidence.
DUI Lawyer Free Consultation
When you need help with DUI charges in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506