Salt Lake City DUI

Salt Lake City DWI

A DUI is an acronym for Driving Under the Influence. This is generally assessed by using a breathalyzer test to find the blood alcohol content/blood alcohol concentration or BAC. The federal limit is 0.08 percent, but some states have stricter limits. For underage drivers, limits are typically set at 0.02 percent. However, many states have adopted zero-tolerance policies for underage drivers. Additionally, limits may also be lower for drivers operating a commercial vehicle. In some cases, a driver can receive a DUI without taking a breathalyzer test or even if a driver’s BAC is below the legal limit. In these cases, the charge is usually based on a field sobriety test or if the arresting officer witnessed weaving and other erratic driving. However, many states can also issue a DWI, which stands for Driving While Impaired. Typically, the purpose of using a DWI is to charge people who are impaired by substances other than alcohol. These substances can be both legal (like prescription or over-the-counter drugs) and illegal. Also, note that some states define DWI as Driving While Intoxicated; these charges are treated the same as a DUI. Typically, a DWI is more severe than a DUI, as it signals higher levels of intoxication. As such, a DWI will have harsher penalties. In some cases, a first-time offender may get a DWI downgraded to a DUI.

Utah Drunk Driving Laws, Penalties, and Consequences

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. Any charge of operating under the influence (DUI) is not limited to the use of alcohol. An individual, who is operating a motor vehicle under the influence of other drugs, including over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, and even illicit drugs, can be charged with this offense. If an individual is arrested for a DUI-type offense, the arresting officers have the responsibility to remove the individual from the situation and get them off the road. Typically, this means taking them into the police station, booking them, and then putting them in jail until they post bond. In many jurisdictions, individuals must also demonstrate a significant drop in their BAC in order for them to be released on their own recognizance after being arrested for a DUI or related offense. The actual amount of time an individual spends in jail is dependent on the situation, jurisdiction, etc.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Once an individual is convicted of a DUI offense, there is a record of it somewhere. In many cases, individuals are required to report these offenses on job applications and for other purposes, such as when applying to the military, applying to certain colleges, etc. Insurance companies often investigate an individual’s driving record for as far back as 5-7 years, and when offenses are uncovered by insurance companies, they will tend to charge higher premiums for services or will not cover the individual. Individuals subject to background checks for employment or other purposes often experience a DUI resulting in complications for certain types of employment. Even though it may not appear in some types of background checks or searches years after an individual has committed the offense, there is always a record of it somewhere. Individuals who have multiple DUI convictions, who have seriously injured or killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol, or who committed significant property damage while under the influence may have these convictions follow them around for the rest of their lives.

Utah Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Per Se DUIs

A drunk driving offense based on BAC (rather than the driver’s level of impairment) is called a “per se” DUI. The amount of alcohol a person must drink to exceed the legal limit depends on a variety of factors such as gender, body size, and number and strength of drinks. Take a look at our BAC table to get an idea of what your BAC might be at after a certain number of drinks. But remember the values are just estimates. Lots of factors that can affect BAC aren’t accounted for. It’s always best not to drive if you’ve been drinking.

DUI Arrest and Consequences Lawyer

No matter what the offense is called in your jurisdiction, if you are arrested for impaired driving, you will be facing serious consequences. If you are convicted or plead guilty, you will probably lose your driver’s license and pay fines and court fees. For a second offense, you may spend some time in jail. It is also likely that you will be placed on probation and be required to perform community service. To get your driver’s license back, you will probably have to attend defensive driving classes. In most states, you will probably undergo an evaluation of your drinking or substance use patterns as well. Based on the results of that evaluation, you may have to take part in a drug or alcohol treatment program. That program could range from attending a few support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous to entering a residential treatment facility.

After a DUI Conviction Attorney

When you get your driver’s license back, you will likely need SR-22 insurance. This could double or triple your premiums, depending on the laws in your state. On average, you can expect to pay higher premiums for three years. Depending on the state in which you reside, you may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, which makes it so you can’t start your car unless you blow into the device and it determines you have not been drinking alcohol. This requires that you pay for the device, its installation, and a monthly monitoring fee. If you get a DUI in Utah, you will have to appear before the Driver License Division. The DLD will grant you a hearing in which you can state your case within the first 10 days of having received your request. If you do not appear before the court within this time frame you will automatically lose your driving privileges for a period of no less than 90 days and up to several years.

Lawyer Pleading to Impaired Driving in Utah

After a DUI arrest in Utah, you may be able to enter a plea to the reduced charge of impaired driving, but only under the circumstances described here. In Utah, impaired driving is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1000.00. If you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Utah, you may be allowed to enter a plea to a reduced charge of impaired driving, but only under certain circumstances.
Advantages of an Impaired Driving Plea
If your license has not already been suspended by Utah’s Driver License Division, it will not get suspended. If your license has been suspended, the Driver License Division will reinstate your driver license before the 120 day suspension is over, but no sooner than 90 days after the date of arrest. And, unlike a DUI, there is no mandatory jail or fine with an impaired driving plea.

When Does A DUI Become A Felony Charge In Utah?

There are a couple of different ways a DUI can become a felony in the state of Utah. However, the most common way is when a driver has two prior DUI offenses and then gets a third offense within ten years. That third offense will be considered a felony. Another way is if a driver is involved in an accident and caused serious bodily injury to someone else, while driving under the influence. Then that serious bodily injury will bump the normally class B misdemeanor up to a third degree felony. A third way a DUI can becomes a felony in Utah is often overlooked and that is if someone already has a prior felony DUI. For example, there was a gentleman who had a felony DUI from when he was in his twenties. He was nearly 40 before he got another DUI and he could not understand why this one, his most recent, was charged as a felony DUI when his first had been over the ten years. That means once you get a felony DUI, every DUI after that is going to be a felony as well. Those are the main ways that we see felony DUI charges here in Utah. Many people don’t realize or remember they had these previous charges.
DUI convictions from other states can be used to enhance a current DUI for sentencing purposes if it’s within the ten year period in Utah. Basically it says, “Statutes or ordinances in effect in other states which would constitute a violation under our law.” That’s pretty broad language to say out of state DUI charges and convictions, impaired driving convictions and driving with a measurable amount of controlled substance convictions can be used in Utah to enhance the current DUI. The prosecutors do have to go to some effort to find the prior conviction because they have to show a court record. What they would have to do is contact that court in the other state and wait for a response. In most cases, the other court will send them the information. However, it does happen where they do not respond at all or can’t find the file. When dealing with prior out of state DUI conviction, the prosecutor to get him the actual proof of conviction, which can sometimes be hard to find. Often the prosecutors will show a driving record that shows a prior conviction. However, when asked specifics on where, what and when, they don’t always know.

Penalties For A First-Offense Dui In Utah

When a person is convicted of a crime, the sentencing judge will impose certain penalties. If the same person is later convicted for a second or third time, the penalties are likely to be much more severe. This is true of all criminal offenses, including DUI (driving under the influence), which is also called drunk driving or intoxicated driving. In Utah and every other state, the BAC (blood alcohol content) threshold for DUI charges is 0.05%. If a driver’s BAC is 0.08% or above, he or she can be charged with DUI. Keep in mind that for certain motorists, like commercial drivers and people under the legal drinking age, the BAC limit is lower. DUI can also be charged for driving under the influence of drugs, but in those situations, since BAC is irrelevant, charges are based on the signs of drug impairment, which officers known as D.R.E.s, or “Drug Recognition Experts,” are trained to detect. If the DUI involves narcotics, the driver can also be charged with drug crimes like possession of controlled substances. Under Utah Code § 41-6a-503, a first-offense DUI may be charged as a Class B misdemeanor, or a Class A misdemeanor, which is more serious. It depends on whether the DUI causes injury, and the age of any passengers who were in the vehicle. The penalties for a Class B misdemeanor normally include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail, while the penalties for a Class A misdemeanor normally include a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail. However, the DUI sentencing matrix, which judges refer to when imposing DUI sentences, provides different penalties.
The judge will order:
• 48 hours in jail
• Various fines and fees amounting to $1,370
• A 120-day suspension of your driver’s license
• A screening, which may result in mandatory education and/or treatment
The judge may order:
• Supervised probation
• Installation of an ignition interlock device, which will prevent your car from starting if alcohol is detected on your breath
• Up to two years of additional driver’s license suspension
How Intoxicated Driving Penalties Increase for Second and Third Offenses
Utah Code § 41-6a-503 lumps first and second DUI offenses together, describing “A person who [commits DUI] for the first or second time…” before classifying the charges. This may lead one to believe that a person convicted of DUI for a second time will receive the same penalties as he or she would for a first offense. However, a look at the Utah DUI sentencing matrix tells a different story.
For a second-offense DUI (within 10 years of the first offense), the judge will order:
• 240 hours (10 days) in jail
• Various fines and fees amounting to $1,560
• A two-year suspension of your driver’s license
• A screening, which may result in mandatory education and/or treatment
• Supervised probation
Additionally, the judge may order:
• Ignition interlock
• Up to two years of additional driver’s license suspension
If you are charged with DUI on a third occasion, you can expect the penalties to increase even more. A third-offense DUI is no longer a misdemeanor – it is a third degree felony, which is much more serious. If you are convicted of DUI in Utah for a third time, or felony DUI, the judge will order:
• Up to five years in prison, or about 63 days in jail
• Various fines and fees amounting to $2,890 (unless the defendant is sentenced to prison)
• A two-year suspension of your driver’s license
• Screening, assessment, and treatment for at least 240 hours (unless the defendant is sentenced to prison)
• Supervised probation (unless the defendant is sentenced to prison)
Additionally, the judge may order:
• Ignition interlock
• Electronic home confinement (“house arrest”)
• Up to two years of additional driver’s license suspension

DUI Lawyer

When you need help to defend against a Salt Lake City Utah DUI charge, 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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Salt Lake City DUI Lawyer

Salt Lake City DUI Lawyer

Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol may be termed with different designations under different circumstances or in different states or jurisdictions, including DUI (driving under the influence), OUI (operating under the influence), or even DWI (driving while intoxicated). These offenses are serious and should not be taken lightly. Anyone who is operating a motorized vehicle or a vehicle with any type of drive train can get a DUI-type offense. This includes the use of motorized watercraft, lawnmowers, mopeds, and even non-motorized bicycles. Individuals using skateboards, rollerblades, etc., would not be charged with a DUI offense if they are stopped while they are intoxicated on these conveyances, but could be charged with some other offense, such as public intoxication, depending on the jurisdiction where the offense occurs.

A Drunk Driving Offense Is Not Limited to Just the Use of Alcohol
Any charge of operating under the influence (DUI) is not limited to the use of alcohol. An individual, who is operating a motor vehicle under the influence of other drugs, including over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, and even illicit drugs, can be charged with this offense.

If Arrested for a DUI-Type Offense, You Will Spend Time in Jail

If an individual is arrested for a DUI-type offense, the arresting officers have the responsibility to remove the individual from the situation and get them off the road. Typically, this means taking them into the police station, booking them, and then putting them in jail until they post bond. In many jurisdictions, individuals must also demonstrate a significant drop in their BAC in order for them to be released on their own recognizance after being arrested for a DUI or related offense. The actual amount of time an individual spends in jail is dependent on the situation, jurisdiction, etc.

Is a DUI a Felony?

DUI type offenses may or might not be felonies. In most jurisdictions, an individual who is getting a first-time DUI will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor. However, an individual who severely injures or kills someone while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs will be charged with a felony. Some states now also charge individuals with felonies even for first-time offenses if they have a very high BAC; the level can vary from state to state, but as an overall standard, a BAC of 0.15 or higher is a red flag to most legal authorities. If an individual is arrested for a DUI-type offense while their driving privileges have been suspended or restricted, they may be charged with higher-level offenses. The trend in numerous states is also to charge individuals with multiple DUI offenses with felony convictions after they have been arrested many times for DUIs or similar offenses (most often, three times or more). Thus, in many states, after an individual has two (or three) DUI convictions on their record, any subsequent arrests for DUIs are felony convictions.

Arraignments Are Easy; After That Get an Attorney

After an individual is arrested for a DUI-type offense, they will go to court for an arraignment. At the arraignment, the individual will be formally charged with a criminal offense and will be allowed to plead guilty or not guilty. The standard legal advice is to plead not guilty at the arraignment, pay the bond, get released, and then seek the assistance of an attorney for further steps in the process.

Expect Immediate Financial Responsibilities

The entire process of getting a DUI is extremely expensive. Even before one is formally convicted, one should expect to start shelling out money. Individuals often have to pay the court a bond to be released, pay a bond to get their car back, and pay towing charges. They often have to give their chosen attorney a down payment before the attorney begins working on their case. Depending on the situation, other financial responsibilities could be incurred. Even before one goes to trial for their DUI offense, they may have already spent thousands of dollars.

Be Ready to Have Restrictions on Your Driving Privileges

These days, in most states, it is a safe bet to assume that once an individual is convicted of any DUI-type offense, there will be ramifications on their driving privileges. In most states, an individual who refuses to take a BAC test automatically has their driver’s license suspended. The length of time varies depending on the state but typically ranges from three to 12 months. In some states, the arresting officer confiscates the individual’s driver’s license once they are arrested, and the individual gets a temporary driver’s license until their trial. Upon conviction of any DUI offense, an individual’s driver’s license will most likely be restricted, suspended, or revoked depending on the state and the nature of the offense. First-time offenders most often have suspended licenses for a period of 90 days, but again, these suspensions can vary from state to state and case to case, and they are subject to being shorter or longer depending on the judge and situation. Most often, individuals have to meet certain specifications, such as having interlock systems installed on their car ignition if they are issued restricted driver’s licenses, or they must wait for a specified period of time to get their license back if it is suspended or revoked. In many of these later instances, individuals often have to appear before the Department of Motor Vehicles and formally evaluated in terms of their risk for future infractions in order to get their full driver’s license returned. All of these issues incur a further outlay of money, are significantly embarrassing for most individuals, and produce significant stress and resentment.

Expect to Pay More Money for Car Insurance

Individuals who have DUI offenses on their record pay significantly higher premiums for car insurance. There is no way around this. In many cases, insurance companies may drop them, and individuals are forced to seek out insurance companies that will accept them. These companies typically charge significantly higher rates for limited automobile insurance.

Expect to Be Placed on Probation

Because being convicted of a DUI offense is a criminal offense, the vast majority of individuals will be placed on probation for some period of time following their conviction. Probation costs money, and individuals can expect to shell out more money here. The specifications of probation require that an individual not use alcohol or other drugs, and not be in places where the primary purpose of the business is to serve alcohol (e.g., a bar). Other restrictions may be incurred depending on the state, situation, judge, and the individual’s probation officer. While on probation, individuals are required to notify their probation officer and get permission to leave the state and in some cases even the city in which they reside.

One Might Have to Attend an Alcohol Education Program

More and more jurisdictions are requiring that even first-time offenders attend a formal alcohol education program. The program can vary depending on the situation and the state where the program is delivered. Expect to pay for the program and have your attendance monitored in some way.
One Might Have to Complete a Formal Alcohol or Substance Use Disorder

The courts will often require that an individual be formally evaluated by a mental health provider that is attached to the court system or a private mental health provider for substance abuse issues prior to going to trial. This assessment often includes an interview with the healthcare provider/clinician and completing a series of tests. The court often uses this information to determine sentencing, probation, the need for treatment, etc. Again, these assessments can be relatively expensive, and the court does not pay for them in most cases. One should expect to shell out even more money for this court requirement if it is imposed.
Courts Most Often Require That the Individual Receives Substance Use

Will I Have To Get Treatment?

Yes. Very likely. The legal system does not want to see repeat DUI offenders. Most courts require that individuals receive substance use disorder treatment as a condition of their probation. If individuals do not attend treatment or are not able to demonstrate to the probation officer that they are attending treatment, they could be subject to jail or even steeper fines. The treatment is often specified by the judge and can include participation in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and/or substance use disorder therapy. Individuals may be required to attend inpatient or residential rehabilitation programs for alcohol abuse. The specification of treatment is often a requirement for an individual to complete probation and may be a requirement for an individual to get their driver’s license back.

Upon Conviction, Expect More Fines

Once an individual is convicted of a DUI offense, they are typically fined by the court. These fines will often eat up the individual’s bond and may require the individual to pay additional monies. Individuals can arrange to be put on a payment program because, in many cases, the fines are extensive.

More Jail Time Might Be in Your Future

States are becoming stricter and stricter regarding punishments for individuals who incur DUI-type offenses, even for first-time offenders. Judges are given less leeway in giving out fines and jail sentences in the current milieu and may be required to include incarceration as a result of charging an individual with a DUI-type offense. In most cases, judges have some leeway concerning the length of the sentence they impose, but the trend is that individuals who commit more than one DUI offense will spend some time in jail. Serious repeat offenders or individuals who have injured someone or caused property damage may be forced to spend significant time in prison. In some cases, individuals may be placed on a tether in lieu of a jail sentence and are not allowed to leave their home except during specified periods (house arrest).

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

Once an individual is convicted of a DUI offense, there is a record of it somewhere. In many cases, individuals are required to report these offenses on job applications and for other purposes, such as when applying to the military, applying to certain colleges, etc. Insurance companies often investigate an individual’s driving record for as far back as 5-7 years, and when offenses are uncovered by insurance companies, they will tend to charge higher premiums for services or will not cover the individual. Individuals subject to background checks for employment or other purposes often experience a DUI resulting in complications for certain types of employment. Even though it may not appear in some types of background checks or searches years after an individual has committed the offense, there is always a record of it somewhere. Individuals who have multiple DUI convictions, who have seriously injured or killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol, or who committed significant property damage while under the influence may have these convictions follow them around for the rest of their lives.

Reasons Prosecutors May Reduce or Dismiss DUI Drug Charges

• Lack Of Probable Cause To Stop Your Vehicle: Before a police officer can stop your vehicle, he or she must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to do so. Probable cause is “reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop” This means that you were observed having violated a traffic law, such as:
1. Speeding,
2. Failing to stop completely at a stop sign, or
3. Straddling the lanes.
An example of lack of probable cause to stop you is racial profiling.
What Happens If There Are No Witnesses?
If no one makes a statement to the officer and there are no indicators as to who the driver is, there may not be sufficient probable cause to arrest any of the persons standing near the vehicle which is known as the “no driving” defense.
However, if there is any evidence that could suggest that one person was likely the driver such as:
• The way the seat is adjusted, or
• The fact that one of the parties is the registered owners of the vehicle
The officer may have enough probable cause depending on the totality of the circumstances.

What If The Engine Is On But You Did Not Move The Car?

If your engine is running, the officer can assume you had just driven or were about to drive. Other indirect or circumstantial evidence of your having driven include:
• A warm engine
• Gear is in drive
• There is a damaged vehicle at scene of an accident
• The absence of an alternative driver
An adjunct to this is a scenario where you had been in an accident but left the vehicle and the scene and returned home or went to a nearby bar or restaurant where police found you. Unless you admit that you had not ingested any drugs (or alcohol) during the interim between the time you left the vehicle and your being questioned by police, you could just have likely become impaired after you left the scene.

What Symptoms of Impairment Are Officers Looking For?

Classic symptoms of impairment are slurred speech; watery, bloodshot eyes; fumbling with documents; and an inability to understand simple directions or questions. It may be different for drivers under the influence of a drug since different drugs produce different symptoms. If DUI marijuana is suspected, for example, your coordination is usually not affected. Few people who smoked or ingested marijuana exhibit slurred speech or have watery, bloodshot eyes, though they may appear glassy. If the officer testifies to this, a defense expert can counter with studies that refute such conclusions in the majority of subjects.

Field Sobriety Tests

In traffic stops where the officer has observed symptoms of drinking or of ingestion of a drug, the officer may request that you take a series of field sobriety tests that test your coordination and balance. These may include:
• Walk and turn
• Stand on one foot
• Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)
Do You Have To Take Field Sobriety Tests?
You are under no obligation to take any of these tests and will not be penalized at all if you refuse. However, the majority of defendants are either too fearful of appearing uncooperative, or are unaware that they can refuse to take the tests, and commit to taking them. This includes blowing into a PBT, or preliminary breath test, which only detects the presence of alcohol in your blood. Its results are not admissible as evidence but do provide probable cause to suspect you are under the influence of alcohol.
The following are some of the legal grounds on which your DUI case can be dismissed:
• Improper cause for stopping your vehicle by the police
• Illegal seizures and searches by the police
• Illegal field sobriety tests conducted by the authorities
• Illegal chemical tests conducted by the authorities
• Your blood was withdrawn without consent and a warrant
• Violation of a right to speak with your Lawyer
• Successful ousting of license suspension

Illegal Field Sobriety Tests

There are certain kinds of field sobriety tests. There is also a specific manner in which they can be conducted. A test done without your consent is one of the reasons the judge may dismiss your DUI charge. Furthermore, if these tests are run in an invalid fashion, then the arrest is considered to be invalid. According to expert impaired driving lawyers, the most common reason for dismissal of a DUI is due to using faulty testing instrument. Thus, they can challenge the validity of the results of a test in a court of law.
• The conclusions will be false if breathalyzer is not calibrated well before use.
• The results may be inadmissible in the courtroom if you have a specific medical condition.
• Blood tests need to be administered using standard procedures. Blood must be drawn by a specialist technician. There should be no alcohol-based cleaning agents used where blood is drawn. The blood vials must contain an adequate amount of preservative and coagulant, which should not have expired. They should also be correctly mixed with the sample. This sample should be properly labeled and stored in safe custody at all times.

Right to Speak with Your Lawyer

At the time of the arrest, you should be properly notified by the police officers that you can speak with your lawyer. The defendant can challenge the authorities to have violated this basic right while being arrested.

If your lawyer can successfully dismiss the license suspension against you, then the prosecutor might be forced to offer you a plea bargain. He or she may withdraw all DUI charges against you for a much lesser penalty because their case will become weaker in the eyes of the law once the driving suspension is over. Although it seems very difficult to remain positive when you are facing Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges, you should never accept the charges easily. Hire a competent DUI lawyer to defend you.

Salt Lake City DUI Lawyer

When you need legal defense from a Salt Lake City DUI Lawyer, 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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