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What Happens When You Go To Court For A DUI In Utah?

What Happens When You Go To Court For A DUI

When you appear for Court the first time that is called your initial appearance or Arraignment. You will likely be in a courtroom full of other people who have been arrested as well and are doing the same thing you are. Take some time to watch what the judge is saying to the other people when they talk – as you will probably get the same questions.

The procedure at an Arraignment is this:

• The judge calls your name, and you will walk to a podium right in front of the judge.
• The judge verifies that you are the person they called and that your name and address are correct in their file.
• The judge will read you the charges against you as well as the maximum possible sentence you could receive from those charges.
• The judge will ask if you have an attorney at that time or if you need some time to obtain one.
• The judge will then ask you for your plea – Guilty or Not Guilty to the charges.
• The judge will go over your bail conditions. Your monetary bail amount will likely stay the same, but the judge could add or remove any conditions of bail.

The above list of items is covered by the judge at the arraignment. Different judges may add a few other minor issues, but overall that is what you can expect.

Here’s the tip that will significantly increase your chances of getting a reduced plea. Always, always plead ‘Not Guilty’ to your charges. If you plead Guilty at the Arraignment – that is it. You will be sentence by the judge right there. You will not have any opportunity to weigh the evidence against you or put on a defense to the charges. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to withdraw that guilty plea at a later time. If you plead guilty at Arraignment, you may be sent to jail right there, as a first time DUI charge carries a mandatory minimum 24 hour jail sentence. Depending on your criminal and substance abuse history, you could receive more jail time than the minimum 24 hours. Pleading ‘Not Guilty’ gives you time to discuss your case with an attorney. A good attorney will help you weigh the evidence to see if you can fight the charge or receive a plea agreement to a lesser charge. You can always decide to plead guilty later, but pleading Not Guilty at the Arraignment is the only way to buy yourself some time. If you plead Not Guilty, you will be released to go home after court. Your actual court time in front of the judge will range from 2-10 minutes. Having an attorney by your side will help ensure your protection. An attorney can make sure that the only thing you have to say at your Arraignment is, “Not guilty.”

DUI Court Procedure

Given the large number of DUI cases most court systems handle, many have a dedicated section of the criminal court system with separate court procedures for dispensing with DUI cases quickly and easily. This means that your DUI case will likely finish up more quickly, but it could also make it more difficult to know what to expect.

Court After a DUI Arrest

After your DUI arrest you’re probably worried about going to court. Being worried about going to court for your DUI case is normal. However, you have nothing to worry about with the right DUI attorney. In a misdemeanor DUI case the next stage is typically referred to as a “status conference”. A status conference is a chance for your DUI attorney to meet with the prosecutor and the judge. This is when they discuss your case. If there are any outstanding discovery issues these are typically discussed at this point. However, if discovery (meaning all of the evidence) is finished, then the prosecutor, the DUI attorney, and the judge will discuss a potential resolution of your case. This is what many people referred to as “working out a plea deal”. Many misdemeanor DUI cases are resolved a status conference. This is important to know because some lawyers in Tulsa will charge a very high fee, but claim that the fee includes a trial. This makes sense only if your case goes to trial. However, these attorneys are typically charging you for something they won’t give you. If an attorney quotes you a price that includes a “trial”, ask them to list their last five trials. Chances are they haven’t been to trial in a long time, but charge all their clients for the trial.

Preliminary Hearing

The next stage in a felony DUI case is the preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is a hearing where the prosecutor must prove that probable cause exists in your case. If they can’t do this, your case is over. If they do, your case is set for trial. Only the prosecutor is required to call witnesses and present evidence at the preliminary hearing. Like a misdemeanor DUI, a preliminary hearing is also a chance for the DUI attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge to discuss a possible resolution of the case without going to trial.

Allen Hearing

An Allen hearing is a formal discovery hearing. Both sides inquire and disclose whether or not they have completely turned over all evidence to each other as required in discovery. Not all cases require Allen hearings. In our client’s cases we request all evidence through the prosecutor by discovery, as well as Open Records Act requests and by issuing subpoenas. This may seem repetitive, but it’s the best way to make sure that we have all of the evidence in your case. It also helps us make sure the prosecutor isn’t trying to hide something.

Suppression Hearing

A suppression hearing is when the defense files a motion asking the judge to throw out evidence obtained by the police. There are a number of reasons why evidence is suppressed. The most common reasons are that the evidence was illegally obtained in violation of the Constitution.

Trial

The final stage of the initial criminal case is a trial. A trial can have a judge or a jury determines the outcome. You are entitled to a jury trial; however, sometimes both sides will agree to have a judge conduct the trial. A jury trial in a DUI case can be extremely complicated. Typically, there are law enforcement witnesses, civilian witnesses, and scientific evidence witnesses. The science in the DUI case can be extremely complicated and requires a thorough understanding in order to present and defend the case clearly to a jury. A confused jury is dangerous. As a result, you need a DUI attorney who can explain the complicated law and scientific evidence of the DUI to a jury. In the end the most important thing to have when you go to court is an experienced DUI attorney who knows how to get the best possible outcome for you in your case. Without a good lawyer, your case will not be thoroughly analyzed and have the right issues brought up in court to help you get your life back on track as soon as possible.

If you are arrested for drunken driving in any county in Utah. There are several things that are going to happen that will cost you money. If you are convicted of driving under the influence and you want to get your driving privileges back, things are going to get very expensive.

Court appearances, fines, and fees are just the beginning for convicted drunk drivers. There is also the expense of going to DUI School, getting evaluated for a drinking problem, getting treatment if you have a problem, paying higher insurance premiums and having an interlock device installed on your vehicle, in many states. The following sections outline in detail some of the things that will happen if you get a DUI. None of them are fun, and most are expensive.

Arrested and Booked

If you are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, the first thing that will happen is you will be placed into a police vehicle and taken to the nearest police station or jail. There your photograph (mug shot) will be taken and you will be fingerprinted. In some states, you can be released immediately if someone comes to the jail and pays your bail and drives you home. Several states now have laws requiring you to be held for a period of time until you sober up.

Lose Your Driver’s License

In all states, even for a first-time conviction, your sentence will include the loss of driving privileges for a period of time. Even in states that offer a hardship license that allows you to drive to work or school during the time your license is revoked or suspended, your driving privileges are drastically curtailed. In some states, if you refused to take the field sobriety test or submit to a breathalyzer or blood test, your driver’s license is suspended immediately, even before you go to court.

Pay a Fine

If you are convicted of driving while intoxicated, part of your sentence will definitely include paying a fine. All states have laws setting minimum and maximum fines for drunk driving, but those penalties can be enhanced by other circumstances. For example, if the property was damaged, someone was injured or a child was endangered as a result of your driving while drunk, the fines can be increased. In most states, you will also have to pay the court costs associated with your case.

Go to Jail

In a growing number of states, jail terms have become mandatory even for first-time drunk driving offenders. Typically, first-offender jail terms are only one or two days that can be served on a weekend, but it is still jail time. For repeat offenders, jail is mandatory in most states and the terms are longer than a couple of days. And again, if there are aggravating circumstances connected with your DUI case, the penalties can be increased.

Complete the Terms of Probation

Even if you are not sentenced to any jail time for your DUI conviction, you will probably be given a probation sentence, the terms of which are determined by the sentencing judge. If you fail to meet the terms of probation, you can be sent to jail, even if you are a high-profile Hollywood celebrity. Regardless of the terms, the probation sentence itself is another expense you will have to pay. Typically, this is a monthly fee you must pay for the cost of administering and supervising your probated sentence.

Go to Driving School

In almost all jurisdictions, if you want your driving privileges returned after a drunk driving conviction, you will have to complete an alcohol and drug education program, usually referred to as drunk driving school. These classes include hours of drunk driving prevention education and an assessment of your drinking habits. And there is a fee for attending these classes, another expense you must pay to get your driver’s license back.

Undergo Alcohol Evaluation

As part of the court-ordered alcohol education and assessment program mentioned above, a trained counselor will also evaluate your pattern of alcohol consumption to determine if you have an alcohol abuse disorder. Typically, the evaluator will ask you a series of questions about how alcohol affects your life. If the evaluation finds that your drinking rises to the level of alcohol abuse or dependence, you may also have to undergo a court-approved alcohol treatment program before you can get your driving privileges back.

Pay Higher Auto Insurance

In most states, if you get a drunk driving conviction, you will have to get a special insurance policy, known as SR-22 insurance, before you can drive a vehicle. The cost of SR-22 insurance, in states where it is required, can double or even triple your premiums. Usually, you will be required to carry this most expensive auto insurance for a period of three years.

Utah DUI Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help with a DUI Charge in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC (801) 676-5506 For Your Free Consultation. 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

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About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.