At What Point Do I Need a Lawyer for a DUI in Utah?
Throughout the state of Utah, law enforcement officers as well as prosecutors take the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) very seriously. Not only can a conviction for this crime come with huge financial penalties and long jail terms, it can also lead to a loss of your reputation and an inability to find gainful employment due to having a criminal record. The best thing you can do to help yourself is to retain an experienced Salt Lake City DUI defense attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon after your arrest as possible. Below, our skilled DUI attorneys explain the definition of a DUI in Utah, when you should retain a lawyer to defend you, and what we can do to bring your case to the most positive possible resolution.
What is the Crime of DUI in Utah?
In Utah, it is illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, Specifically, those who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05% or more, or who are found to have any amount, even metabolites, of an illegal, non-prescribed drug in their system, are considered to be intoxicated for the purposes of this law. Usually, this is a determined through a mandatory breathalyzer test to determine BAC or blood or urine tests to detect the presence of drug metabolites in your system.
However, the crime can still be proven if you refuse to take such a test, which is a crime itself, or if for some other reason these samples were not able to be taken or were ruled inadmissible. The officer who arrested you will usually have stopped you due to some sort of erratic driving, made observations about your demeanor, like if you smelled of alcohol or slurred your words, asked you questions about where you were and how much your drank, and asked to you take roadside tests like standing on one leg. You can be convicted based on this circumstantial evidence and testimony from the arresting officer and others even if the BAC test was never performed.
When Should I Hire a Lawyer After My DUI Arrest?
The answer to this question is as soon as possible. You are not required to speak to the officer either before or after your arrest, beyond offering your name and the required driving information, until your lawyer is present. You or a loved one hiring a lawyer as quickly as possible will give us the chance to get to the station and be present for any attempts to interview you. Even if you feel you have nothing to hide, we can make sure the police do not elicit something from you in a tricky way that can be used against you later in the case. Furthermore, our skilled Utah attorneys for a criminal arraignment can prepare you for this initial court appearance.
You will also want a lawyer for your bail hearing, which will occur within 72 hours of your arrest and booking at most. At this hearing, a judge will determine whether you can be released on your own recognizance, meaning without bail, released on bail, or must remain in jail for the duration of the case against you. Usually for a first time DUI, bail will be set, but if you have multiple prior convictions for DUI or other crimes, or if the DUI involved a death, the judge may choose to hold you. Our experienced Utah bail hearing lawyers at Overson Law, PLLC understand the factors that go into a judge’s bail decision, such as your criminal history, the nature and severity of the offense, your flight risk, and your ties to the community. We can make the most persuasive arguments to get you released on little to no bail.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help with the Rest of My DUI Case?
The mandatory sentencing guidelines for DUI offenses can be quite harsh, and they get tougher depending on the number of prior DUI convictions that you have as well as certain other aggravating factors. For a first or second DUI, the charge will usually be a class B misdemeanor, punishable by at least 2 days and up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. However, the charge can be upped to a class A misdemeanor, punishable by at least 10 days and up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines, if you meet certain conditions like having a passenger under 16 with you in the vehicle at the time of the offense. The charge will be a third-degree felony, punishable by at least 62 days and up to 5 years in jail and fines up to $5,000, if you have two prior convictions or meet another qualifying condition like causing some serious bodily injury.
Our skilled DUI defense attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC can work to get collect evidence, tell your side of the story, and get these charges downgraded or dismissed so that you do not face the most serious potential penalties. Potential deals include the prosecutor downgrading the charges to something less serious like reckless driving or agreeing to recommend a lenient sentence in exchange for you pleading guilty. Of course, if you do not wish to take a deal, our skilled trial lawyers are always ready to fight for a not guilty verdict in the courtroom.
Call Our Skilled Utah DUI Defense Attorneys Today
DUI is a serious charge that can lead to serious penalties. However, if you act quickly to retain an experienced Utah DUI defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC, we will have a good chance at getting your charges downgraded or dismissed or at least mitigating the consequences of your actions in some way. We will leave no stone unturned working to craft a winning defense for you. Call our firm today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.