Best Utah SLC DUI

Best Utah SLC DUI

Utah officially uses the term “driving under the influence” (DUI) instead of “driving while intoxicated” (DWI). However, some people still use DWI and DUI interchangeably to refer to drunk or drugged driving. Utah’s DWI laws prohibit all motorists from operating a motor vehicle:
• with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05% or more, or
• while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A driver is considered “under the influence” if “incapable of safely operating a vehicle” as the result of ingesting alcohol, drug or any other substance. Utah has a not-a-drop law that makes it illegal for motorists who are under the age of 21 years to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

Getting a DUI Without Actually Driving

In Utah, a motorist can get a DUI even without actually driving. In addition to driving or operating a car, a person may not be in “actual physical control” of a car while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or with a BAC of .08% or more. The gist of this law is to keep roads safe from even the potential danger that an intoxicated driver creates when getting behind the wheel. Utah courts apply a totality of circumstances test to decide whether a particular driver is in actual physical control of the vehicle. Some factors courts consider include:
• where the driver was seated in the car
• whether the driver had the ignition key
• whether the driver was touching the steering wheel or other operating controls, and
• whether the driver was asleep or awake.
Determining actual physical control is fact-specific. No two situations are exactly alike. It’s best to consult an experienced DUI attorney to see if you’ve been properly charged with an actual-physical-control DUI.

Plea Bargaining in Utah DUI Cases

The best case scenario if you’re charged with a DUI in Salt Lake City Utah is the prosecution ends up dismissing the charge. But unless the court throws out evidence that’s critical to prove the charge, the prosecution is unlikely to agree to a dismissal. But in some cases, a reduction to an “impaired driving” charge is possible. An impaired driving charge is just an alcohol-related driving offense without the mandatory jail, fines, and license suspensions that come with a DUI conviction. In the United States, Utah has some of the most stringent DUI laws. According to state law, a motorist is considered drunk if they have a BAC of .05% or more, or if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to a level that is unsafe to drive. For those motorists under age 21, Utah has a “not a drop” law, meaning these drivers can be charged with DUI and can lose their driver’s license privilege up to the time they turn 21 years old. The can also be charged with other alcohol related charges if there is any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

Driving After DUI

When you are charged with DUI, one of your first concerns will be if you are still allowed to drive while your case plays out in court. In most situations, this will depend based on a variety of factors. Under current state law, even a first DUI offense may call for a 120-day suspension of your driver’s license and the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID).

Plea Bargaining

When you are facing these charges, it will be crucial to work with an experienced Salt Lake City Utah DUI attorney. By doing so, your attorney can work with prosecutors to plea bargain your case down to lesser charges, or possibly even have the charges against you dismissed. If you are given reduced charges such as impaired driving, the good news is that you will not be subjected to the mandatory fines, jail time, and license suspensions that are usually with DUI convictions. In the United States, Utah has some of the most stringent DUI laws. According to state law, a motorist is considered drunk if they have a BAC of .05% or more, or if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to a level that is unsafe to drive. For those motorists under age 21, Utah has a “not a drop” law, meaning these drivers can be charged with DUI and can lose their driver’s license privilege up to the time they turn 21 years old. They can also be charged with other alcohol related charges if there is any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Should you be facing these circumstances, do not hesitate to contact an attorney. Prosecutors usually have a standard first-offense plea offer. In other words, they offer everyone with a standard first DUI the same plea deal which is typically at the lower end of the allowable first-DUI sentence. Generally, an offense is considered a “standard first DUI” if the offender has no prior DUI convictions and the offense didn’t involve any aggravating factors such as accidents, injuries, or a particularly high blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

In theory, the standard offer is the same regardless of whether the defendant is represented by a private attorney, public defender, or no attorney at all. So, it would seem that hiring an attorney in a standard first DUI case might not be worth it. This conclusion certainly holds true in some cases. However, in practice, the standard offer is frequently just a starting point. Experienced DUI attorneys can often whittle down the standard offer by pointing out weaknesses in the prosecution’s case or bringing mitigating factors to the prosecutor’s attention. An attorney’s familiarity with local practices, the district attorney, and the judge can also help with these types of negotiations. Accepting a standard offer might also be unadvisable in cases where the defendant has viable defenses. However, an unrepresented defendant is unlikely to know whether there are any such defenses. So, prior to accepting a plea deal, it’s a good idea to at least get a lawyer’s opinion.

Public Defenders

Generally, all criminal defendants have the right to an attorney. If you can’t afford to hire your own lawyer, the court will appoint one for you. Appointed attorneys are normally from a public defender’s office. Public defenders handle a large number of criminal cases, including lots of DUIs. So, most public defenders are quite familiar with DUI law and defenses. Public defenders are generally well acquainted with the district attorneys and judges and know their tendencies knowledge that can be beneficial for plea bargaining. Public defenders also tend to have good trial skills because they take a lot of cases to trial. However, being represented by a public defender has its downsides. Public defenders have large caseloads. So, some defendants feel like they and their case don’t get enough attention. And you don’t get to choose your public defender you get who you get. Public defender representation is also limited to criminal court. A DUI arrest normally leads to two separate proceedings: “administrative per se” proceedings with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and a criminal court case. Generally, defendants who have a public defender will have to deal with the DMV proceedings on their own.

Private Lawyers

When you hire a private DUI lawyer, it’s typically to represent you in DMV proceedings and criminal court. Having the same attorney work on both aspects of your case can lead to better outcomes, including a shorter license-suspension period. Most defendants see the price as the major drawback with private lawyers. Hiring a private DUI lawyer will generally cost you between $1,000 and $5,000. If your case goes to trial, it can be even more expensive. (And there are cases where spending the money for a private lawyer won’t get you a more favorable outcome than had you gone with the public defender.) However, hiring a private DUI attorney (assuming you can afford one) can be well worth it. Of course, when you’re retaining an attorney, you get to decide who that attorney will be. Attorneys who specialize in DUI cases often have an in-depth understanding of DUI law and defenses that other attorneys don’t have. In some cases, this expertise can lead to more satisfactory results perhaps, a better plea bargain or dismissal of the charges altogether. Having a private lawyer can also minimize the time you have to spend in court. In some areas, public defender clients must personally appear for all court dates. With private counsel, on the other hand, you usually won’t have to be present for routine court appearances. For many people, especially busy professionals, not having to miss work to come to court is a significant perk. Another benefit of hiring an attorney is you’ll typically get more one-on-time than you would with a public lawyer. Most people feel more comfortable with their case when they get all their questions answered and concerns addressed.

You Need an Attorney to Go to Trial

Though you’re entitled to represent yourself in a DUI trial, it’s almost never a good plan. The learning curve for trial practice is steep and usually comes only with considerable experience. A lack of legal knowledge and trial skills will put you at a severe disadvantage in court. And judges typically have little patience for self-represented defendants who don’t know the rules of court. The bottom line is you don’t want to try a DUI case on your own—if you’re going to trial, you should have an attorney.

Pleading Guilty to DUI

Most people who are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) don’t take their case to trial. Generally, trial is the way to go only if you have a decent shot at winning. If the jury finds you guilty at the end of a trial, the time and money (assuming you hire an attorney) you’ll have spent fighting your case will have been for nothing. You’ll end up in the same position or worse than if you had pled guilty or no contest—in other words, resolved your case with what’s often called a “plea deal” or “plea bargain”—at the beginning of the case. But, of course, for the average person, it’s difficult to know whether you have a real chance of beating a DUI charge at trial. However, an experienced DUI lawyer can normally tell you how strong the government’s case is and whether you have any viable defenses.

When Do You Plead Guilty or No Contest?

The first court date in a DUI case is normally the “arraignment.” At the arraignment, the judge normally asks whether the defendant plans to hire an attorney or wants a court-appointed lawyer. Defendants who have their attorney situation resolved on that first day will typically enter a plea to the charges. Otherwise, the judge might set a new court date for the defendant to come back with an attorney and enter a plea to the charges. In either scenario, the defendant’s initial plea is normally “not guilty.” For defendants, there’s usually no benefit to pleading guilty at the first court appearance. Generally, plea deals a prosecutor offers on the first day are the same or worse than offers that come later. So, it’s typically best to initially plead not guilty and get a new court date a few weeks out or so. This additional time will give your attorney the chance to review the prosecution’s evidence and come up with a legal strategy. Even if you ultimately decide to make a plea deal, this investment of time by your attorney often pays off anyway. With a good understanding of the facts of your case and some legal research, your attorney might be able to get you a better deal by pointing out problems with the prosecution’s case and possible defenses to the charges. Prosecutors who have doubts about their ability to prove a DUI at trial are more apt to offer plea bargains favorable to the defendant. So, in many DUI cases, the defendant ends up entering a guilty or no contest plea at the second or third court date. However, it’s possible for a defendant to enter one of these pleas at any point prior to the jury’s verdict. Prior to pleading guilty or no contest to a DUI, your attorney is supposed to go over the consequences of your plea with you. By entering your plea, you’ll necessarily be giving up a number of constitutional rights. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to cross-examine the witnesses against you, and the right to a jury trial. In court, you’ll likely have to sign a form that specifies the terms of your plea agreement such as fines, jail time, and the charge you’re admitting to and indicates you understand you’re giving up various constitutional rights. Oftentimes, these forms have boxes to initial next to a description of each constitutional right you’re waiving by entering the plea. The judge handling your case will typically ask you whether you signed the form and understand the consequences of your plea. Once satisfied that you know what you’re getting into, the judge will ask how you want to plea to the charge. You then respond “guilty” or “no contest,” depending on which one you agreed to. When you plead guilty or no contest to a DUI charge, the judge will find you guilty and the court clerk will enter a conviction. This conviction is exactly the same as a conviction resulting from a guilty verdict at trial. Generally, DUIs are misdemeanor criminal offenses. But if the offender has multiple prior DUI convictions or the current offense involves aggravating factors like deaths or injuries, a DUI can be a felony.

DUI Process

The DUI process is highly complex and technical, and not geared toward making things easy for the offender. The average person even the average attorney cannot reasonably be expected to understand everything that is involved in a successful DUI defense.

Arrest, Testing, and Charges

The roller-coaster ride of a DUI case begins when an officer arrests you for suspicion of driving under the influence. The officer will then take you in for a blood or breath test to verify your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If your chemical tests comes back with a BAC of .08 or above, a charge of driving with a BAC over .05 will be added. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, a “refusal” allegation will be added to your charges, and your license could be suspended for 1 year. After the testing phase, you will be booked and (depending on the circumstances and your criminal history) released on bail or a promise to appear in court. The arresting officer will prepare and submit a report to the prosecutor, who will either decline to file charges or charge you with DUI.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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How Long Do They Keep You In Jail For A DUI in Utah?

How Long Do They Keep You In Jail For A DUI

Most people are aware that a DUI offense can have various negative consequences including Driver’s license suspension (though it may be possible to continue driving with an ignition interlock device (IID) installed), Fines and Mandatory alcohol program. However, the possibility of serving jail time is likely the scariest consequence of a DUI conviction or DUI probation violation. It is not always clear when a DUI can land you in jail.

How long you go to jail for drunk driving in Utah depends on your blood alcohol content (BAC) and whether you have previous drunk driving convictions. The penalties for a DUI conviction in Utah range from no jail time to as many as five years in prison. But even if you escape jail, you could face a number of other penalties for drunk driving in Utah. These penalties could include license suspension, probation, fines, and mandatory alcohol treatment. You will also face many DUI costs of which you were likely unaware.

DUI Penalties in Utah

In Utah, the courts take drunk driving seriously. Even for a first offense, you could face probation, fines, traffic safety school, and alcohol treatment. The penalties get progressively worse if you receive subsequent convictions or if your BAC rises above certain thresholds. The DUI penalties in Utah based on the number of previous convictions you have are as follows:

No Prior DUI Convictions

If you have no prior DUI convictions and your BAC was at or above 0.08% but below 0.1%, you could face:
• Up to six months’ probation
• A maximum fine of $300
• Mandatory traffic safety school
• Possible alcohol treatment

If you have no prior DUI convictions and your BAC was 0.1% or above but below 0.16%, you could face:
• A one-year driver’s license suspension
• Up to six months in prison
• A maximum fine of $5,000
• Mandatory traffic safety school
• Possible alcohol treatment

If you have no prior DUI convictions and your BAC was 0.16% or above, you could face:
• One-year driver’s license suspension
• Up to six months in prison
• A maximum fine of $5,000
• Mandatory traffic safety school
• Possible alcohol treatment

One Prior DUI Conviction

If you have one prior DUI conviction and your BAC was at or above 0.08% but below 0.1%, you could face:
• Up to 12 months driver’s license suspension
• Up to six months in prison
• A maximum fine of $2,500
• Mandatory traffic safety school
• Possible alcohol treatment
• One-year ignition interlock

If you have one prior DUI conviction and your BAC was at or above 0.1% but below 0.16%, you could face:

• Up to 12 months driver’s license suspension
• Up to six months in prison
• A maximum fine of $5,000
• Mandatory traffic safety school
• Possible alcohol treatment
• One-year ignition interlock

If you have one prior DUI conviction and your BAC was 0.16% or above, you could face:

• Up to an 18-month driver’s license suspension
• Up to five years in prison
• A maximum fine of $10,000
• Mandatory traffic safety school
• Alcohol treatment
• One-year ignition interlock

Two or More Prior DUI Convictions

If you have two or more prior DUI convictions and your BAC was at or above 0.08% but below 0.1%, you could face:
• Up to a 12-month driver’s license suspension
• Up to two years in prison
• A maximum fine of $5,000
• Alcohol treatment
• One-year ignition interlock
If you have two or more prior DUI convictions and your BAC was at or above 0.1% but below 0.16%, you could face:

• Up to an 18-month driver’s license suspension
• Up to five years in prison
• A maximum fine of $10,000
• Alcohol treatment
• One-year ignition interlock

If you have two or more prior DUI convictions and your BAC was at or above 0.16%, you could face:

• Up to an 18-month driver’s license suspension
• Up to five years in prison
• A maximum fine of $10,000
• Alcohol treatment
• One-year ignition interlock

First, Lawyer can review the circumstances of your case and determine if it is possible to create reasonable doubt as to your guilt. Perhaps the arresting officer did not follow proper protocol. Maybe the breathalyzer used to capture your BAC was not properly calibrated. There are dozens of potential ways to call your guilt into question. If it looks as if the prosecution has unassailable proof of your guilt, a lawyer can negotiate with the state to knock your DUI charge down to a lesser charge. Everyone who gets a DUI immediately goes to the “this is the end of the world” extreme, but in reality, DUI’s are charged against all different types of people, and there are definitely folks who you know who have gone through this but have not made their battle publicly known. So the primary thing to know is that you’re not the first person that has gone through this and that people have made it through these circumstances before without it ruining their lives.

Getting one DUI charge doesn’t make you an alcoholic, a bad person, or a low-life. On today’s roadways, police officers generally do not show mercy to anyone who has had even one drink, some marijuana earlier in the day, or, on certain occasions, those drivers who are just taking their medications as prescribed. In short, getting a DUI is a lot easier than you think. If and when it happens, you just have to be ready. For a first-time DUI, an officer does not have to book you into jail and often times, if you are respectful to the officer, he will bring you home after he has processed the DUI so that you can at least sleep in your own bed. Your car will always be impounded when you’re arrested on suspicion of DUI, so getting that back should probably be your first priority, as the bill can rack up quickly if it sits there too long. If you are booked into jail on your first DUI, it is smart to try to bail out as quickly as possible. Bail on a first DUI generally will be $1,000, and you can, therefore, get a bail bond for about $100, or you can post the full amount, which means that it will all be returned to you at the conclusion of the case. One tip here is that if you are eventually convicted of a DUI (under a 0.15 BAC), you will have a mandatory minimum of 24 consecutive hours in jail. Therefore, if you’ve been in jail for let’s say 20 hours and then bail out, you will not be given credit for that.

It may be wise to sit there for 4 more hours to get the full 24 hours in, which may mean you don’t have to go back to jail later on. Once you are out of jail and you’ve retrieved your car, the best thing you can do is call a DUI attorney. It’s actually wise to call a DUI attorney before you’ve decided whether to take the breath test at the station as well, but here we’re focusing on what to do after you’ve been arrested. Most times when you leave jail or after you’ve been dropped off by the officer, you do not have a court date in your hand yet. You will receive a summons in the mail in the weeks or months following the arrest, which will tell you what your first court date is and what court it will be held in. Again, sometimes this summons comes during the week of the incident and sometimes you have to wait and wait for it to arrive. This depends on several factors, one of which is whether you did a breath test or a blood draw. Blood draw cases have to be sent to be tested and then the results are returned to the prosecutor’s office. This means that your summons in a blood draw case will generally take longer. Just because the summons might take a while to get to you, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to just sit back and do nothing after the arrest, as there is also the Department of Licensing side to a DUI case.

When you get arrested for a DUI you will generally be given a form showing you how to request a Department of Licensing (DOL) Administrative Hearing. This hearing must be requested within 20 days of arrest, regardless of what is happening with your criminal case, so there is a reason to get moving on talking to a DUI attorney once arrested. If you do not request a hearing within this 20-day time period, and your breath test was over the legal limit, your license will be suspended automatically starting 60 days after the incident date. While you don’t technically need an attorney for the DOL hearing, to not have one is to basically throw away the money for the hearing ($375.00) as these are complex hearings where legal issues need to be understood and argued. An attorney can talk to you about what happened while it is fresh in your memory and can even help you submit the DOL hearing request. Essentially, the defense for your DUI can start long before the criminal charge is filed.

In addition to the benefits of having things fresh in your mind and having an attorney there to help you with the DOL hearing from the beginning, there are another few benefits to getting an attorney on board right away. There may be investigative items that need to be looked into which will disappear with time. An attorney might want to have you get started with a drug and alcohol evaluation right away. An attorney may want to start preparing pretrial motions for your case so that they can put the prosecutor on notice of issues right off the bat. These are just a few of the reasons to consult an attorney right away, but the main reason this makes sense is that you’re usually going to be paying an attorney a flat fee for representation, so why not get your money’s worth and have him or her help you throughout? It should be the same cost either way so let your attorney work for you from the get-go. A DUI charge is a daunting task, but having a trusted attorney on your side throughout makes you realize that this won’t be the end of your life as you know it.

An arraignment is the act of bringing a defendant to court and formally reading the charges against him or her. It is at this point that you enter your plea: guilty or not guilty. However, that’s not the only jail time you will serve if you are convicted. All DUI crimes in Utah come with jail time. How long you are in jail depends upon the severity of the crime with which you were charged. Upon being arrested on a DUI charge, you will be brought to the police or Sheriff’s station for processing. If you are injured in a crash related to a DUI, you will be brought to the hospital first, and then processed upon your release.

Once you arrive at the station, you will likely be ordered to take a chemical test to measure the amount of suspected alcohol or drugs in your system. After that, you’ll be read your rights and questioned. You can have a lawyer present for this, if you so choose. From there, your driver’s license will likely be taken away, and you will be given a temporary license in its place. You will be informed that your license is to be suspended, however you have ten days to fight the suspension. You may want to consider retaining a lawyer to help you fight this. Living without a license is incredibly stressful, especially when trying to get to work and back. And the last thing you need is to be charged with driving without a license. While you may be held in a jail cell during this process, this is local prison, not a prison for hardened criminals. If this is your first DUI-related conviction, or if your last DUI-related conviction was more than 10 years ago, you will be sentenced to a minimum of 48 hours in jail, up to but not exceeding six months. Time served will be in a local prison, rather than a state prison and you can usually serve your time in the same city of your arrest. A DUI defense lawyer may be able to work out a negotiation in your favor. For instance, he or she may be able to convince the court to supplement your 48-hour jail sentence with a five-day work release instead.

If, however, this is your second or third offense, the punishments may be more severe:
• Second DUI Offense – Up to a year in a local jail
• Third DUI Offense – Mandatory six months to a year in a local jail
• Fourth (or More) DUI Offense – Up to 3 years in state prison
If you have four or more offenses, it no longer matters if they were within the last ten years. You can be sentenced to up to three years in jail, even if it has been ten years since your last conviction.

DUI Attorney Free Consultation

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Utah, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Can You Get A DUI Without Being Pulled Over?

Can You Get A DUI Without Being Pulled Over

Yes. Yes You Can.

This is a step-by-step guide as to what you should do if you get pulled over for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or a DWI (Driving While Impaired). This is not a substitute for using common sense and avoiding behavior that might put you in jeopardy of being stopped for a DUI or a DWI. It is also not a substitute for getting assistance from a qualified, competent attorney. When in doubt, contact your lawyer.

• Find a safe place to pull over: Remember, as soon as the police officer decides to pull you over for a DUI or a DWI, he starts making observations that he will put in the police report. To initiate the stop, he has already noted something that he thinks shows you are driving drunk or impaired. You cannot do anything about those observations at this point, but the police report can have a significant impact on the outcome of both your criminal trial and any hearings related to the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. One of the first things the officer will most likely note is how you pull over. If you drive erratically, slow down too abruptly, or pull over in an unsafe location, the officer notes it in the report and it is just one more tick in the drunk or impaired column.
• Don’t make any sudden or suspicious movements: Officers are trained to be cautious and to protect themselves, first and foremost. They always approach the car from behind so they have a clear view, and so the driver would have to turn completely around in order to shoot or attack them. So, do not make any sudden movements, do not twist around to watch the officer approach, do not jump out of the car or try to crouch down in embarrassment. In fact, your best bet is to keep your hands on the wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock until the officer approaches your window and asks to see your identification.

• Be polite: The obvious reason to treat the officer respectfully is that you are far less likely to be arrested if he believes you are sincerely respectful. If you are rude, insincere, or hostile, the officer is much more likely to take offense, arrest you, and do everything possible to get you convicted, including writing a very incriminating police report. If the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle, you must comply of face the very real possibility of being charged with resisting arrest. Be very helpful and friendly; as though you have nothing better to do than comply with the officer’s requests because, frankly, at that moment you do not. Of course, avoid coming off as insincerely helpful or friendly, as that can be just as off-putting as direct sarcasm.
• Do not answer any potentially incriminating questions, but do not lie: The anxiety of getting pulled over is something police officers are trained to use against you. In this kind of situation, people are far more likely to incriminate themselves, particularly if they are not telling the truth. You DO have to give your name, license, registration, and insurance information to the police officer, but if the officer asks you if you have been drinking, or how much and you are concerned that you might incriminate yourself simply say, “I’m sorry, officer, but I’ve been advised not to answer any questions.” You will almost definitely be put under a lot of pressure at that point, you may be arrested, and you may automatically lose your license, but all of those things can be much less serious than spending time in jail because you incriminated yourself. If you have had only one or two drinks, you should use your discretion about saying so. With few exceptions, one or two drinks will not put you over the legal limit, but that varies from person to person and drink to drink, so when in doubt, say nothing. Lying is never a good idea. If you answer a question, answer it truthfully. If you lie, and the officer knows it, the fact that you lied can, and most likely will be used against you in court.

• Refuse a field sobriety test: You are under no legal obligation to perform a field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are one of the most effective tools at the officer’s disposal for collecting evidence against you, not because they are reliable indicators of intoxication, but because it gives the officer subjective observations upon which to base his decision that you are intoxicated. Again, refusing a field sobriety test may result in a suspension of your driver’s license, but would you rather have a scientific examination say you were not drunk or impaired (and therefore not going to jail for DUI or DWI) or would you rather have a jury hear an hour of testimony from a uniformed police officer about how stinking drunk he subjectively thought you were based on a very unscientific field sobriety test?
• Refuse a hand-held breathalyzer: Roadside breathalyzers are notoriously unreliable, and there are countless ways to skew their results. Refusing to blow will almost always result in an automatic suspension of your license, but again, that is much less serious than going to jail. So, refuse to blow while on the road. On the other hand, you may be required to submit to a number of other tests including blood draws or a more sophisticated breathalyzer at the police station. If you have been taken into custody and are being required to submit to these tests at the police station, do not refuse or you may be resisting arrest.

• Take a chemical test at the police station: You are obligated by law to take a chemical test at the police station. In most states, you can choose between a blood test or breath test. Many DUI lawyers advise people to take the breath tests because they are more unreliable, so their validity can be more effectively attacked in court.
• Once you have been released, write down everything you can remember about your arrest: The more notes you take about your arrest, the easier it will be for your attorney to fight the charges against you. Fresh memories are often more accurate, so do this as soon as you can. If possible, include the following details in your notes:
I. what you were doing and where you were before you drove
II. how much you had to drink and what you were drinking
III. how long after you were drinking before you were stopped
IV. how the officer behaved and any instructions he gave you
V. what you said to the officer and how you responded to his instructions
VI. where you were pulled over
VII. when and if you were read your Miranda rights
VIII. when and if you took the chemical test and how long it had been since your drank
• Contact an attorney: You both need and deserve an experienced DUI or DWI defense attorney who will fight for your rights. The single most important thing you can do for yourself is to find a qualified attorney who knows the applicable laws and can help guide you through the legal process.
You can be charged with DUI in Utah without driving a car after drinking. This is possible because the intent of Utah drunk driving laws is to protect the public from the injuries and property damage drunk drivers can do. Utah DUI laws make driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances a criminal offense. Your physical control of a vehicle after you have had too much to drink can get you convicted of drunk driving in Utah and expose you to harsh penalties. Most of the time, a driver arrested for DUI in Utah is stopped after police observed the driver weaving across lanes or committing another infraction.

When a police officer smells alcohol, hears slurred speech or observes other signs of intoxication, the officer will ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test and, in most cases, makes an arrest. DUI laws also allow the arrest of someone who seems to have had too much to drink and has physical control of a vehicle, regardless of whether the individual was observed driving. Utah law allows the arrest of someone who has driven or attempts to drive, or who indicates they have driven or will drive while allegedly drunk or on intoxicating drugs. In a defining case, an individual whose blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) was later determined to be more than the legal limit was found asleep in the driver’s seat of a car with its engine running. The car was on private property, but with easy access to a public highway. When the individual was awakened by a police officer, the defendant attempted to restart the car and drive off. Though police did not wait for him to drive the car, the defendant was found to have been in physical control of the vehicle and guilty of DUI. Another scenario where a DUI arrest might result is a pedestrian observed to be talking loudly and having trouble walking, then clumsily unlocking and climbing into a car. A police officer would have probable cause to stop and charge the individual with DUI based on their physical control of a car. Further, Utah courts weighing an individual’s innocence or guilt were required to consider:
• Where and in what position the defendant was found in the vehicle
• Whether the vehicle’s engine was running
• Whether the defendant was awake or asleep
• Whether the vehicle’s lights were on if the defendant was apprehended at night
• Location of the vehicle’s keys
• Whether the defendant was trying to move or had moved the vehicle
• Whether the defendant’s vehicle was located on public or private property, and
• Whether the defendant must have driven to the location where apprehended.
A person shall be deemed not to be in actual physical control of a vehicle if:
• The person is asleep inside the vehicle
• The person is not in the driver’s seat of the vehicle
• The engine of the vehicle is not running
• The vehicle is lawfully parked, and
• Under the facts presented, it is evident that the person could not have driven the vehicle to the location while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a controlled substance or a prohibited substance.
But even if, after drinking, you are sleeping in the back seat of your legally parked and not running car, you can be arrested for DUI. You could be arrested if you admit or imply that you drove after drinking, or if police are responding to complaints about you or a car like yours. For example, if your car is parked badly and/or there are skid marks indicating you stopped abruptly when you parked, police may have probable cause to suspect you drove to that spot while under the influence. If you are parked far enough from any drinking establishment to make the walk to your parked car unreasonable, police could suspect you drove there. The penalties for a DUI (driving under the influence) (also called “DWI” (driving while intoxicated)) offense can be serious. If you’ve been arrested for DUI and want to fight the charge, you should understand all of the available defenses. With a viable defense, you might be able to persuade the prosecution to drop or reduce the charges, prevent the suspension of your driver’s license, or win an acquittal at trial.
In a DUI case, the prosecution must prove the person being charged (the “defendant”):
• drove a vehicle, and
• was “under the influence”—meaning the person was either impaired or had a prohibited amount of drugs or alcohol in his or her body.
Most DUI defenses target one these two components because the prosecution must prove both to get a conviction. The defenses available to a DUI defendant depend to some extent on state law. In some states, you can’t be convicted of a DUI unless you were actually driving a vehicle. So, if you were asleep in a parked vehicle in one these states when police arrived, you probably have a good defense. But most states don’t require proof of actual driving for a DUI conviction. All the prosecution needs to prove is that you were “operating” or “in actual physical control” of a vehicle while intoxicated. In other words, you can be found guilty even if you weren’t caught behind the wheel with the car in motion. When police don’t use proper arrest procedures, it can sometimes provide you with a good defense to a DUI charge. Defenses related to arrest procedures typically involve arguing that because police didn’t follow the law when stopping or arresting you certain evidence should be thrown out. Generally, police need probable cause to stop your vehicle, and if they’re going to arrest you for a DUI, they need probable cause for that too. For the traffic stop, police have probable cause if there’s reason to believe the driver or someone else in the vehicle has broken the law. (DUI checkpoints and roadblocks are, however, an exception to the probable cause rule.) Basically, any traffic violation will suffice. But if police pull you over without a legitimate reason, a court is likely to say all the evidence subsequently obtained is inadmissible in court. A valid traffic stop doesn’t necessarily make a DUI arrest proper—the officer must also have reason to believe the motorist was in violation of the state’s DUI laws. Probable cause for a DUI arrest usually comes from the officer’s observations and sometimes breath-test results. Both forms of evidence can be tricky to challenge. An officer might say you performed poorly on field sobriety tests (FSTs), smelled of alcohol, and had slurred speech. For most judges, that would be enough for probable cause. And in most situations, breathalyzer results showing your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the limit are going to make challenging probable cause an uphill battle. Occasionally, Miranda warnings come into play in DUI cases. Police are generally required to give Miranda warnings prior to questioning a suspect who’s in police custody. So, if a DUI suspect who’s in police custody and hasn’t been given Miranda warnings makes an incriminating statement in response to police questioning, the statement probably can’t be used in court against the suspect.
All states have two types of DUI charge: one based on actual impairment (an “impairment” DUI) and another based on the amount of drugs or alcohol in the driver’s system (a “per se” DUI). For proving impairment DUI, the officer’s observations can be an important part of the prosecution’s case. An officer’s observations of impairment might include:
• poor FST performance
• the odor of alcohol
• bad driving
• bizarre behavior
• slurred speech, and
• bloodshot eyes.
To beat a DUI charge, the defense might need to challenge the significance of an officer’s observations. It just depends on the circumstances, but it can be difficult to convince jurors that the officer’s conclusions about the driver’s intoxication were wrong. One way to challenge an officer’s observations is to bring in witnesses who were present when you were arrested and saw things differently than the officer. Unfortunately, in many cases, there aren’t any witnesses. Or, if your witness was a passenger in your car, the prosecution might argue that your witness is biased.

Utah DUI Defense Attorney Free Consultation

When you need legal help with a DUI charge in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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How Can I Avoid A DUI Conviction

When people are arrested for DUI, most arrestees think that they have no chance to win. Many prospective clients have told me that they felt guilty by virtue of being cuffed and taken to jail. Additionally, almost 100% were (at the time of arrest) unaware of their legal rights when being questioned and evaluated by the police officer. Once you are out of jail, it is time to take action to avoid a DUI conviction.

• Avoid any type of vehicle if you have become impaired by overindulging, because any means of transportation can lead to a drunk driving or drugged driving conviction. Motorized equipment, such as golf carts, riding lawn mowers, electric wheelchairs or scooters will qualify as a vehicle in almost every jurisdiction. In other states, even a bicycle or a horse will be considered a vehicle for purposes of most states’ driving under the influence laws.

• Don’t assume that you can’t be arrested for drunk driving on private property, because you can be charged with drunk driving in most states, regardless of your location. Other states prohibit driving while intoxicated in parking lots accessible by the public or other roads or driveways leading to a public road.

• Even a car being towed can lead to a driving under the influence conviction if the person sitting behind the wheel is intoxicated, so avoid even getting in the front seat of a car if you are intoxicated. Be aware that current DUI laws are written by legislators and interpreted by judges to obtain more convictions, not fewer.

• If sleeping inside a car after you have been drinking, do so in the back seat, with the ignition off and the keys in your pocket, with the car off the highway. Better yet, put the ignition key in the trunk and use the remote release switch to get access once you are able to drive safely. To avoid a possible DUI, you must avoid inadvertently being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.

• Breath testing machines are the most commonly used type of forensic test used by police. These mechanical devices are subject to error when you have been recently exposed to solvents volatile fumes, such as lacquer, paint, gasoline, or dry cleaning fluids. Be sure to advise your drunk driving lawyer of any exposure during the day before being arrested, and save the bottles that contain the chemicals.

• Existing “illegal per se” laws in 49 states allow the police to make a case against you regardless of your level of impairment. Therefore, either keep your alcohol consumption to moderate levels, or don’t drive at all after having more than a few drinks. Underage drivers are typically subject to lower per se alcohol levels ranging from 0.00 to 0.02 grams per cent. This means one beer or glass of wine for many smaller body weight drinkers.

• Where faced with a traditional driving under the influence charge (as opposed to “per se” DUI charges), and the indicated level of alcohol allows the state to have an inference of intoxication in its favor, the defendant’s DUI-DWI attorney must introduce evidence of non-intoxication or successfully impeach the officer’s account of the signs of impairment to rebut the inference, or face virtually certain conviction.

• At a jury trial, if the trial judge incorrectly instructs the jurors about inferences (making it irrefutable or mandatory), such instruction constitutes reversible error. Many cases that involve reversals get dismissed or reduced to a non-DUI disposition.

• With blood tests, if the crime lab or hospital personnel drawing or testing the blood for the state’s test do not follow the required state rules and regulations, the test results can be totally excluded from the evidence. In many driving while intoxicated cases, once the blood results are excluded, the DUI charge is dropped, and the case is resolved on the underlying non-serious traffic offense (i.e., speeding or lane violation).

• In administering any of the state’s tests, if the person operating the machine is not qualified or currently certified in accordance with state law, the test is invalid. Requiring strict proof of the testing officer’s certification can often lead to a dismissal or a favorable “plea bargain“, where some flaw or defect in the proof of current certification is called into question by the DUI-DWI defense attorney.

• By proving that the defendant was not in actual physical control of the vehicle, the case can be won, since one of the elements of the driving while intoxicated offense is missing. In some cases, the officer will not have observed the driver behind the wheel, and is unable to get an admission (confession) from the person he or she suspects was driving. Remain silent in such situations, and ask for an attorney. Remember that circumstantial evidence (such as having the keys in your pocket) can tie you to the vehicle.

• With DUI blood tests, the use of an alcohol laden swab on subject’s skin can contaminate the puncture site and render the blood test either inadmissible in some states, or create reasonable doubt of the reliability of the results at trial.

• Where state DUI law requires it, failure of the police to timely advice the defendant of his right to a second, independent test of blood, breath or urine, as mandated by state implied consent law causes the state’s test to be excluded from evidence.

• In some states, where the defendant is accused of an “illegal per se” DUI case, proof (by use of retrograde extrapolation techniques) that the defendant was not above the state threshold level (typically 0.08 grams per cent for drivers age 21 and over) because he or she was still in the absorptive stage at the time of the arrest, eliminates one of the elements of the per se DUI. A similar tactic can help in a common law driving while intoxicated case where you are facing an “inference” of intoxication threshold, since reasonable doubt can be raised about what the person’s blood alcohol level was at the time of driving.

• The police lacked probable cause to make the traffic stop, so all tests and evidence gathered as part of the illegal arrest must be thrown out of court. These cases are always fact-specific, and require a highly skilled drunk driving defense lawyer to obtain the necessary proof at pre-trial motion hearings.

• The use of medical or other expert testimony can prove that the defendant’s physiological system is unusual so that the state’s test results can be excluded or adjusted downward to an amount below the state’s threshold for the inference of intoxication, or simply presented to the jury in a fashion to create reasonable doubt about the quality and accuracy of the state’s tests.

• The failure of the arresting officer to follow through in giving the required implied consent warning swill cause the state’s BAC test results to be excluded from trial.

• If the arresting officer mis-states the required wording of the implied consent warnings, the state’s BAC test results will be excluded from trial, or the entire case may be dismissed.

• In some states, evidence of defendant’s refusal to be tested is not relevant to the question of whether the driver was driving under the influence at the time of driving. In such states, if the prosecutor mentions the defendant’s failure to submit to the state’s test, such introduction of evidence is improper in a jury trial.

• Most states do not permit automatic or forcible retrieval of a blood test sample from a suspected DUI driver unless a judge has issues a search warrant after either death or serious injury to another person has resulted from a DUI-related serious accident. Therefore, results obtained in such cases will be void.

• At trial, the prosecution must prove proper venue (that the criminal offense occurred in the court’s jurisdiction) in most states. Failure to prove venue will cause a conviction to be set aside at a timely post-trial motion, if the jury convicts the defendant.

• When a prosecutor draws up an accusation (sometimes called a complaint or information, in some jurisdictions), if the defendant’s name is incorrectly listed (wrong name), then the criminal defense attorney representing the defendant can assert this issue after jeopardy has attached, and win the case. This is sometimes called a demurrer or motion to quash.

• Typographical or drafting errors in the accusation, made by the prosecutor, can create a win for the defendant if critical language is omitted in the wording. This is sometimes called a demurrer or motion to quash.

• Put together a “kit” of items to assist you to avoid incriminating yourself and in order to be prepared in the event you are stopped by the police.

• Use “Driver’s Rights” cards (or similar cards provided by your DUI-DWI attorney) which speak for you in asserting your legal rights in the event of a confrontation with police. These cards can help you not incriminate yourself and help avoid providing the police with potentially inculpatory evidence (such as alleged slurred speech).

• Before going out for the evening, always prepare your vehicle by checking to make sure it has no equipment defects, that the tag is current and is visible (including all decals showing the current tax year being valid) removing any and all incriminating items (such as open containers of alcohol, drug paraphernalia) and any valuables. By having no valuables in the vehicle, if you need to leave your vehicle (and not drive), you won’t be concerned about your laptop or other important items being in the vehicle.

• Eat heartily before starting to drink and include high carbohydrate foods to help delay absorption of any alcohol that you will be drinking later that night. Studies show that eating before and during alcohol consumption can slow the person’s gastric motility from roughly 30 minutes (with no food) to over 2 hours. This keeps the “peak” alcohol level at a lower number as compared to drinking on an empty stomach.

• A fever or an elevated body core temperature (possibly caused by hot flashes or immersion in a hot tub) can cause a breath test reading to read artificially high. Most breath machines are pre-set to assume that every test subject has a perfect body temperature of 98.6°. For every degree higher (centigrade), the breath machine will overestimate the results by roughly 6.5%.

• If you are taking any type of prescription medication or non-prescription medication, avoid driving at all after drinking due to the possibility of the medication will either have a geometric impairing effect when combined with alcohol (called “synergistic effect”) or that the medication could actually contain alcohol which will be added to the alcohol that you will be drinking. The combination of alcohol and any medication, even Tylenol or aspirin, can cause the driver to unintentionally become more impaired (i.e., have slowed reaction times in handling divided attention tasks).

• Don’t drink at all (much less drive after drinking) if you are taking prescribed medications since the possibility of synergism or some other adverse effect from combining alcohol and drugs could kill you or cause the death of someone else.

• Be aware that a person’s body water determines how readily your body will absorb alcohol, and that lean, young men are best able to tolerate alcohol while old, overweight women are the least able to tolerate alcohol.

• Women should be especially cautious about what type of alcohol and what quantity they consume since studies have demonstrated that a male drinker’s stomach typically produces more of a digestive enzyme which helps metabolize alcohol than is found in women’s stomachs. This means that the average 150 pound woman is at an impairment disadvantage when compared to an identically built 150 pound man who consumes the exact same quantity of alcohol over the same time period. Also note that most prescribed and many over-the-counter medications (such as Zantac, Prilosec, Nexium or even Tums or Rolaids) designed to prevent gastric reflux or indigestion will remove or make inactive this valuable digestive enzyme. Hence, any person taking such medications or heartburn aids should cut alcohol consumption by one-third or even more.

• If you plan a night of drinking, start by having up to 32 ounces of water before any alcohol consumption, and alternate a glass of water between each alcoholic drink to help slow the rate of consumption.

• Studies have shown that carbonation in highball mixers, sparkling wines, and draft beer tends to accelerate the rate of absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream, causing you to get drunk than you would by using non-carbonated alternatives. Change what you drink and remain sober longer.

• Use non-carbonated fruit juices or other mixers with wine to dilute the alcohol content of your beverage, and thereby extend the time in which you can safely continue consuming wine.

• Stop all alcohol consumption at least 2 to 3 hours before starting home, and drink water during this time period to improve your chances for a favorable breath, blood or urine test if you are stopped later that night. Remember, if you drink heavily, even 10 hours of waiting will not eliminate a sufficient amount of alcohol to drop your blood alcohol level below your state’s per se limit. When heavy consumption occurs, don’t risk driving at all.

• Use a hand-held breath alcohol testing device to see what your approximate blood alcohol content is before leaving for home. Wait at least 30 minutes after drinking to use it, and remember that these devices are not highly accurate. If you are close to the legal limit, don’t risk driving. In the event of an accident involving death or serious injury, you can be charged with a felony vehicular homicide offense (vehicular manslaughter in some states) with any measurable level of alcohol in your system. In bad weather (rain, snow, ice) the number of accidents can increase by a factor of 20 or more, so make the decision to not drive at all when such conditions prevail.

• Give yourself some field sobriety tests to see what levels of impairment you may have, and avoid driving at all if you have difficulties performing the tests.

Avoid A DUI Conviction Attorney Free Consultation

When you need legal defense help for a criminal DUI case in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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