Utah's driving under the influence (DUI) statute 41-6a-502, prohibits operating a vehicle while the driver:
Most DUI cases in Utah are charged as a class B misdemeanor. Certain aggravating factors can cause the DUI to be charged as a class A misdemeanor or even a felony. Those factors can include the number of prior convictions or an injury caused by a crash.
After an arrest for drunk driving, you need a qualified and experienced attorney on your side to protect your rights. We can help you fight the case at every stage. Whether your case involves a refusal to submit to testing or a high alcohol concentration in the breath or blood, we can help you fight the charges.
Act quickly to speak with an attorney. You only have ten (10) days after your arrest to request a hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver's license. The attorneys at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP, are experienced in drunk driving defense at every stage of the case. We represent clients in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas, including Tooele County, Summit County, Morgan County, Davis County, Utah County and Wasatch County.
We can begin your defense today. Call (801) 532-5297.
Additional Information about DUI in Utah
After a DUI arrest, the arresting officer will usually confiscate your driver’s license and give you a citation that operates as a notice of the administrative suspension. The citation also operates as a temporary license that expires in 29 days. You only have ten (10) days after your arrest to request a hearing to contest the administrative suspension.
The administrative suspension is not based on a criminal conviction for DUI but is triggered by the arrest itself. For this reason, the administrative suspension is sometimes called the "on the spot" suspension.
For drivers who are 21 or older at the time of arrest, the following suspension periods will be imposed for a first offense:
Suspension Times After a Second DUI Arrest
For drivers who are 21 or older at the time of arrest, the following suspension periods will be imposed for a second offense:
If the driver is under the age of 21 at the time of the arrest, then the administrative suspension periods for drivers depend on whether the case involves a Per-Se arrest under UCA 53-3-223 or a Not-a-Drop arrest under UCA 53-3-231.
For a driver who is 19 or 20 years old at the time of stop, the following suspension periods will be imposed for a first offense:
For a driver who is 18 years old or younger at the time of arrest, the following suspension periods will be imposed for a first offense:
Utah law provides for many different types of DUI-related charges and aggravating factors.
Aggravating factors that establish a class A misdemeanor include the following:
Aggravating factors that can elevate a first or second DUI offense to a third-degree felony DUI include the following:
A DUI conviction can result in serious penalties including incarceration, compensatory service, electronic home confinement, fines, screening, assessment, educational series, treatment, supervised probation, ignition interlock, and license suspension.
The different types of DUI-related statutes are listed in Utah code section 41-6A Part 5 and include the following:
Most DUI cases involve a breath alcohol test with a reading over .05 (often called the breath test case). The goal in a breath test case is getting the breath test result excluded at trial because the breath test operator did not comply with administrative rules for administering the test.
In some cases, your attorney can also fight to have the results excluded if the breath test machine was not properly maintained or calibrated.
Other cases involve a blood test and sometimes a urine test. The blood test is particularly common in cases with a serious accident where the driver or another person is injured and goes to the hospital.
Another common type of DUI case prosecuted in Utah involves a refusal to submit to the test requested by the arresting officer (either a breath, blood, or urine test). In a refusal case, the prosecutor does not have a chemical test result showing a "per se" BAC level over the legal limit.
Instead, the prosecutor can only prove the case with evidence beyond all reasonable doubt that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug, to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle. Evidence that the person refused testing is usually admissible in these cases.
According to Utah code 41-6a-513, prior to agreeing to a plea of guilty or no contest, the prosecutor must examine the criminal history or driver license record of the defendant to determine if the defendant's record contains a conviction, arrest, or charge that should be considered to enhance the new charges.
In the past, some people escaped harsher penalties for DUI by quickly entering a plea in court before the prosecutor or court knew about prior convictions that triggered harsher penalties. In these cases, the quick plea did not allow sufficient time for law enforcement or prosecutors to review the defendant’s criminal history.
To prevent a defendant from entering a plea to a misdemeanor when the crime should have been charged as a felony, Utah created this law to impose plea restrictions.
As provided in 41-6a-518.2, after a conviction for a first DUI, the driver is automatically restricted to driving a vehicle that has an ignition interlock device (IID) installed for eighteen (18) months from the date of conviction or the effective date of the license suspension.
For a person under 21 at the time of the arrest who is convicted of a first DUI, the driver is automatically restricted to driving a vehicle that has an IID installed for three (3) years.
For a second DUI conviction for DUI impaired driving, or an alcohol-related reckless driving violation, or if the person’s license was revoked for refusal to submit to a chemical test after being arrested for driving under the influence, the driver is automatically restricted to driving a vehicle that has an IID installed for a period of three (3) years from the date of conviction or effective date of the revocation.
A Felony DUI carries a six (6) year IID restriction. An automobile homicide carries a ten (10) year IID restriction.
If an interlock-restricted individual drives a vehicle without an IID installed, the driver may be cited for violating the Interlock Restricted Driver (IRD) law. A conviction for violating the IRD law will result in a driver license revocation for one (1) year and an additional three (3) year IID restriction from the date of conviction.
Also, if the driver is arrested for violating the IRD Law when they are restricted, the vehicle may be impounded.
In a typical DUI investigation, the law enforcement officer will stop a vehicle, usually for a moving violation such as failing to maintain a single lane or speeding. When the officer makes contact with the driver, the officer might report detecting the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the driver's mouth. The officer might also report that the driver has slurred speech, bloodshot glassy eyes, has a blank stare, or acts lethargic. In some DUI cases, the officer reports that the driver has trouble providing a driver's license, registration, or proof of insurance.
Based on these initial observations, the officer might decide to conduct a DUI investigation. If so, the officer will request that the driver exit the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests and/or a preliminary breath test. Based on evidence obtained during the investigation, the officer might arrest the driver for DUI. The arrest is based on the officer's suspicion that the driver is less safe to drive because he or she is under the influence of alcohol or impaired by a chemical or controlled substance.
After the arrest, the officer will also ask the driver to submit to the intoxilyzer test and read the driver the chemical test admonitions verbatim off the DUI Report Form. The refusal admonition is often read verbatim off the DUI Report Form, which informs the driver that if he or she refuses to submit to the test, the driving privilege could be revoked for 18 months or until age 21 for a first refusal, or for 36 months or until age 21 for a second or subsequent refusal.
If the driver refuses after receiving the warning, the officer might attempt to obtain a warrant for the driver's blood to test it for the presence of alcohol or controlled substances. After the arrest for DUI, the officer will place the defendant in the rear seat of the police vehicle and transport the defendant to the local county jail.
An experienced DUI defense attorney in Salt Lake City, UT, can look at every aspect of your case from the typical scenario to the more complicated procedures used after a crash, to determine whether the law enforcement officer made any mistakes that might result in the suppression or exclusion of evidence.
Utah Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice - Visit the website of the Utah Sentencing Commission to find the most up-to-date statutory overview for DUI. The commission is responsible for advising the legislature on issues regarding sentencing for adults and juvenile offenders. The USC publishes guidelines, conducts research, and responds to public inquiries.
Call the DUI attorneys at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat to discuss your case. Whether your case involves a breath test, a blood test, or a refusal to submit to testing, we can help. We represent both adult drivers and young people under the age of 21 charged under Utah's zero tolerance statute.
With offices conveniently located in Salt Lake City, we are ready to meet with you to discuss your case. Find out what you need to do right now to protect your rights. Our lawyers represent clients in Salt Lake County and the surrounding areas including Tooele County, Summit County, Morgan County, Davis County, Utah County, and Wasatch County.
Let us help you at each stage of your case as we fight for the best possible result. Call today for a free consultation at (801) 532-5297.
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