In fact, a DUI charge that is, a “driving under the influence” charge can come as a result of a wide range of scenarios, and a person can be charged with driving under the influence of a number of different substances in addition to alcohol, including drugs and prescription medications. A DUI charge also does not necessarily mean that your blood alcohol level was above .08. While a BAC of .08 or above is always grounds for a DUI charge, you can be charged with a DUI simply for being deemed “substantially incapable” of operating a vehicle. That’s something that’s up to the judgment of the officer arresting you. But while it’s important for motorists to know that it may be easier than you think to earn a DUI charge, it is also vital that you are aware of the many different ways that you can get these charges dismissed if you have a capable attorney on your side. DUI charges come with some extremely serious consequences in Utah, especially for repeat offenders or individuals with criminal records. These consequences include jail time, hefty fines, and the suspension or revocation of your license. In addition, certain DUI offenders in Utah may be required to install a bulky, invasive, and costly ignition interlock device on their vehicles, which will prevent them from driving if their BAC exceeds a certain level. But for many people convicted of driving under the influence, the worst consequence is the stain a DUI leaves on your permanent record. You’ll have to live in the shadow of your conviction for years, forever explaining the DUI on your record and struggling to secure employment, find housing, or obtain a loan. Luckily, though, a DUI charge does not always mean a DUI conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a knowledgeable lawyer may be able to put together a strong defense to help get your DUI charges dropped. Some possible grounds for dismissing a DUI case include:
1. Officer error. Though many people consider police officers to be infallible, the fact is that they make mistakes just like everybody else. If there was an error somewhere in your arrest details, this could be grounds for dismissal.
2. The infringement of your rights. Before a DUI charge can be issued, a police officer has to pull you over and determine that you appear to be inebriated. But in order for an officer to pull you over in the first place, there must be probable cause that you are doing something wrong. Then, the officer must develop reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence. If an officer failed to follow the proper legal procedures, a case may be made that your rights were infringed upon.
3. Insufficient proof. If your case goes to court, the prosecution will rely heavily on evidence gathered at the scene of the crime. Often, roadside sobriety tests are not completely accurate, and if a lawyer can prove that the evidence is inadequate, a judge may have no choice but to dismiss your case.
4. Problems at the checkpoint. Searches and checks that occur at checkpoints can sometimes be unlawful for a number of reasons, often because officers have infringed on a person’s Fourth Amendment right against unwarranted search and seizure. If the checkpoint practices that resulted in your arrest were illegal, your case may be dismissed.
Each DUI case is different, and your case may come with its own unique set of circumstances that could serve as grounds for dismissal during a trial. An experienced attorney with a successful track record will be able to dissect the details of your case and find potential weak points in the charges, which may wind up either lessening the penalties of your crime or allowing you to have the charges dismissed completely. With the help of a skilled attorney, you may be able to avoid life-altering consequences such as huge fines, jail time, and a stain on your record.
What Happens After Someone Is Released After A DUI Arrest?
The first thing you will notice after you are released from jail on a DUI is that you have left jail without your driver’s license. Upon arrest, and upon your release, law enforcement will take your driver’s license from you immediately, and you are given a pink temporary license. That temporary license and the information on it, is critical. Unfortunately, because of shock and the pain of what they have just experienced, most people will put those papers away thinking that they may not need to look at them until they go to court. However, that temporary license instructs you that you must contact the DMV within ten days of a release. If you fail to contact the DMV within ten days, you will automatically lose your license. If it is the first offense, you will lose your license for four months. That is going to be your first taste of reality. When you are released, you are also issued a notice to appear in court. This will advise you which court to appear in, and the date that you are required to appear. It is critical for your attorney to see every hour of the time spent between the initial consumption of alcohol, and to that moment when you are released. Often, there are things that you may note that seem irrelevant to you at the time, but may be critical for your attorney to use in your defense.
Mistakes Made In The Initial Days Of A DUI Arrest
The biggest mistake is to try to put it out of your mind. People will try to deny either what had happened, hoping that it all goes away. You want to address your defense the moment you are released from jail. Not only that, it is critical you get in contact with the Department of Motor Vehicles so you can protect your license. There are things that you can immediately do that later on may not be available. For example, if you had consumed alcohol at a bar, perhaps returning to that bar to obtain the names of witnesses, and see if the bartender recalls serving you, or recalls what you were served. Anything that will assist you in your defense. At a later time, some of this information may no longer exist, such as videotapes, which may be destroyed after a period of time. These may very well show some critical element of your defense. Therefore, it is critical to take advantage of that potential evidence as soon as possible. A DMV hearing can be requested by either the client themselves, or your attorney. The reason for that is there are numerous hearing officers; most of those hearing officers are unreasonable. Some are less unreasonable than others.
Dealing with DUI Charges
An arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can be scary and stressful, but knowing what to expect from the legal process can help in dealing with a DUI charge. DUI laws are governed by state law, so details may differ depending on where you were charged and also whether you are a minor, but what follows is a general overview of what you need to know if you’re facing DUI charges for a first offense that didn’t involve either bodily injury or death.
The DUI Legal Process
First, it is important to note that in many states, you may be charged with both driving under the influence and having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit (often called a “DUI per se”), although one charge is often dismissed if you plead guilty or proceed to trial. Regardless, the first step after a typical DUI charge is usually an arraignment, a hearing during which a defendant is formally charged with a crime before the judge. You will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty, but you can change your plea later; for this reason, you may not yet need a DUI attorney. You can simply plead not guilty, and you may have the option to request a jury trial at this point as well. If the charge is a misdemeanor and you haven’t already posted bail, you will likely be released on your own recognizance, which means you are trusted to come back to court for your next legal proceeding. After your arraignment, you should start thinking about hiring a DUI lawyer or having one appointed for you if you cannot afford one. Remember, again, that DUI laws vary greatly by state, so be sure your DUI attorney specializes in your jurisdiction. With your attorney, you can decide how you would like to approach the DUI charge. The general options are as follows:
• Plead guilty
• Try to plea bargain down to a lesser charge
• Request a trial before a judge
• Request a jury trial
Plea bargaining, or reaching an agreement between the defense and prosecution, often involves agreeing to a conviction for reckless driving, called a “wet reckless” because it involves drinking and driving. In exchange for the plea, the defendant receives a lesser sentence than would have been available for the more serious offense. Note that “wet reckless” pleas are prohibited by law in some states. If you choose to go to trial to fight the DUI charges against you, you will most likely face an uphill battle. In all states, a blood alcohol level of 0.08% is enough for a DUI conviction regardless of whether you exhibited impaired behavior. Your attorney can challenge the test results, but your likelihood of winning goes down the higher your blood alcohol level was above the legal limit. If your blood alcohol was below the legal limit, however, a good DUI attorney may be able to help you beat the charge. Whether you would be better served by a judge or jury trial will be specific to the facts of your case and is something you would want to discuss with an experienced DUI lawyer. Moreover, as the elements of a DUI offense vary by state, it will depend on your jurisdiction’s DUI laws as to your chances of beating a DUI charge.
DUI Penalties Attorney
Drinking and driving, even as a first offense, is a serious crime and the penalties for it reflect that; they may include one or more the following:
• Fines from $500 to $2,000
• Jail (up to one year incarceration)
• Prison (one year or more incarceration)
• License suspension
• Community service
• House arrest
• Use of ignition interlock device on vehicle (vehicle will not start until driver passes a breathalyzer test)
• Impoundment of vehicle
• Participation in a victim impact program
• Participation in a drug/alcohol abuse treatment/prevention program
Note that penalties tend to be more severe if the defendant’s blood alcohol level was considerably higher than the legal limit (double or more), someone was injured or killed, or if the defendant is a repeat offender. In some states, refusal to take a breath, urine or blood test can result in a suspended driver’s license regardless of whether the defendant is found guilty on a DUI charge.
Statute of Limitations for DUI Charges
DUI charges often have a specific time limit to try and attempt to convict the individual arrested by police for suspicion of the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving. The timeframe often depends greatly on the state, but it could extend based on special consideration by the judge or the factors of the case such as when the evidence is still in the process of collection. It is important to hire a lawyer to help with DUI charges. These are often simple misdemeanor charges, but some charges may elevate to the felony level depending on the case factors. The lawyer may help mitigate the damage of these charges and extend the time of the case to the point that the charges may exceed the usual statute of limitations. The general time may restrict prosecution to two years from the original date of arrest. However, some states have less or more time to ensure the courts may attempt to convict the person. Some states will only have one year from the date of arrest to file charges in the courts and proceed with the case. These time limits may exceed if the prosecution does not have the sufficient evidence to proceed with the DUI charges. Others may not charge the person until there is enough valid information about the situation and all factors. These limits usually only apply to non-felony DUI charges. If there are any other crimes that occur at the same time or aggravating factors, the charges may rise to the felony level. At this point, the time limit may disappear or extend significantly. Generally, the prosecuting lawyer will file the charges with the first court date for DUI matters. However, there are other times when this prosecuting legal professional will need to wait. This may occur from analysis of blood panels, urine samples or when the blood alcohol level is close to but below the 0.08 percent limit. Some prosecutors become busy with backlogged cases and paperwork. Upon the first court date, the defendant will learn if the lawyer filed the charges or if there is an update waiting for a later time. This update may arrive by mail when or if the prosecutor will file charges for the DUI.
The DUI Case and the Mistake
There are many defendants that believe the statute of limitations passes because the prosecution failed to take the person to court in the time limit for the state. However, this statute only applies to charges filed not prosecuting the matter. The mistake does not understand that the case may still proceed in the future. The lawyer may not take the person to court for the case in the time limit, but he or she may already file the charges within the one- or two-year restriction. Failure to appear in court when necessary based on updated information could lead to a warrant for arrest or other penalties.
DUI Statute of Limitations
Some states may not run on a timeframe to pursue a DUI charge against a person. The laws of the state may protect the law enforcement agencies in arrests and help to progress the case through a prosecutor that provides him or her sufficient time to take the person to court. In the states that disregard this concept, the person may face charges filed immediately or wait until multiple years pass before getting an update about the possible court case for the DUI. In some cases, one state may require another to use certain penalties when the convicted person moves.
Possible Consequences of A DUI Conviction
Some simple consequences of the DUI conviction include the temporary loss of a driver’s license through suspension, fines and jail time. Others may increase to ignition interlock systems that require the person to breathe into the machine before driving. If the person behind the wheel does not have a BAC lower than the limit, and in some cases much lower than the 0.08 percent, he or she cannot drive until the BAC decreases or a certain amount of time passes.
Legal Support for DUI and the Statute of Limitations
Some defendants facing DUI charges may need to hire a lawyer to help pass the time or assist with mitigating the damage. With creativity and various strategies, the lawyer may assist the individual through the charges passed the statute of limitations. Presenting a valid case is essential to aid the defending party.
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!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506