Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious charge in Bountiful. The penalties can be severe, even for first-time offenses.
While DUI cases are complex, our DUI lawyers can help. Utah has a much lower legal limit than other states, so it is much easier to be charged with DUI here. In most cases, a driver will face a license suspension and fines, but it might be possible to have evidence suppressed in the case or argue for lesser charges that keep you out of jail.
Call our DUI attorneys today at Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free evaluation of your case.
How DUI is Charged in Bountiful, UT
Utah is unlike other states in that it has a much lower threshold for drunk driving. Commercial and minor drivers also have separate legal limits.
Utah’s Legal Limit
Utah has some of the most severe DUI laws in the country. In fact, it is illegal for anyone to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05% or higher, regardless of whether they feel intoxicated or not. The BAC threshold is usually 0.08% in most other states. Thus, it is possible to be stopped and charged with DUI even if you do not feel the effects of the alcohol you drank. This can happen when several drinks are consumed quickly. It might take time before impairment sets in, leaving the person with the false belief that they are okay to drive.
Further, commercial drivers are held to an even stricter standard than average drivers. If a commercial driver is found to be operating their vehicle with a BAC of just 0.04%, they can be charged with DUI.
Children arrested for underage DUI face many harsh penalties in Bountiful. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink in Utah. If there is virtually any alcohol in a minor’s system, they can be arrested for DUI. Underage drivers will usually have their licenses suspended until they are 21. However, if the driver is less than a year from 21, their license will be suspended for a full year from the date of suspension.
These might not be the only consequences an underage driver faces. Besides being illegal to drink and drive, it is completely illegal for a minor to drink. If charged with DUI, an underage driver could receive additional charges, including underage drinking, reckless driving, and many others.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
In Bountiful, if you are under the influence of drugs and it impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle, you can be charged with DUI. This means they can charge you even if you have not been drinking but still show signs of impairment from taking medications or illegal substances. Utah has a zero-tolerance policy for taking drugs while driving. If drugs are detected in your blood or urine after being arrested, you will face the same consequences as someone arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. This also applies to legally prescribed medications that inhibit your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
How to Defend Against DUI Charges in Bountiful, UT
Our DUI defense attorneys have several methods they can employ to help fight your DUI case in Bountiful. The most important first step in defending a case is gathering all the evidence against you in the state’s possession and reviewing it for weaknesses. This includes investigating police records to see if any mistakes or violations of your constitutional rights were made during your arrest. For instance, if evidence was illegally seized, we can file a motion to have that evidence suppressed, which will keep it out of a trial. In some cases, this might be sufficient to have a case dismissed.
Another strategy is to review the chemical reports to see if there were any errors in the police’s equipment or procedures. If evidence was processed incorrectly or the wrong blood or urine was tested, we can fight to have the evidence thrown out.
We can also challenge whether the police had probable cause to arrest you in the first place. The police need probable cause to make an arrest. This means that they have evidence that a crime has been committed and you are the likely suspect. If the officers did not do a field sobriety test or breathalyzer but arrested you because they merely suspected DUI, they will likely arrest you on suspicion of DUI and take a blood test. However, we can fight the arrest and the introduction of any evidence taken by the police during and after the incident.
If the state’s case against you seems strong, it might still be possible to have your charges downgraded in Utah. If the prosecutor in your case can be negotiated with, your DUI charge could be lessened to a charge for impaired or reckless driving. However, this is usually reserved for first-time offenders and your record will still reflect that the arrest was related to a DUI offense.
Potential Consequences for Multiple DUI Convictions in Bountiful, UT
Several penalties are typically levied when convicted of DUI, even if it is a first offense. You could still have your license suspended regardless of whether you are ultimately convicted. First-time offenses are usually classified as Class B misdemeanors. These typically carry the most lenient sentences, which can still include hundreds of dollars in fines and a 120-day license suspension. Depending on the facts of the case, some jail time could be included beyond the time spent inside after arrest. A charge can also be upgraded to a Class A or a felony if there are aggravating factors, like injuries or children involved.
If it is a driver’s second DUI conviction, the punishment will be harsher. Penalties can include a jail sentence of up to at least 10 days, your license being suspended for two years, and a minimum of $1,600 in fines.
Third-time offenses are the most serious and are charged as third-degree felonies. You can also be charged with a third-degree felony after your first or second DUI if the crash involved serious harm. Defendants could be sentenced to five years in prison, as well as a two-year license suspension. If a driver already has a felony conviction for DUI, the prosecutor will likely upgrade the charges further to seek harsher penalties. If a DUI accident involved someone’s death, the driver could be charged with vehicular manslaughter or automobile homicide.
Our Bountiful, UT DUI Lawyers Can Help
Contact Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free review of your case with our DUI lawyers.