Can You Get Denied a Gun Permit in Utah Because of a DUI?

Utah law takes driving under the influence (DUI) charges quite seriously.  These charges can lead to time in jail and driver’s license suspensions in serious cases.  In some cases of drunk driving, you may even lose additional rights, such as the right to possess a firearm.  The Salt Lake City DUI defense lawyers at Overson Law explain when a DUI conviction can lead you to lose your gun rights in Utah.

Does a DUI Stop Me from Owning a Gun in Utah?

Salt Lake City weapons laws and weapons crimes throughout the State of Utah make gun possession illegal if you have a criminal record covering certain criminal activity.  Obviously, certain gun possession crimes make it illegal to have a gun during the commission of other crimes or to possess a loaded gun in certain ways or certain places, but most adults in Utah are legally allowed to open carry an unloaded firearm.  If you get a concealed carry permit, you may also concealed carry a gun without issues.  If you have a record of certain crimes, your gun permit application will be denied, and it will actually be a crime for you to possess a gun.

Utah’s “restricted person” laws under Utah Code § 76-10-503 make it illegal to possess a gun if you were convicted of certain crimes, do not have U.S. citizenship, had a dishonorable discharge from the military, or are a drug user.  If you are a drug user and were convicted of driving under the influence of drugs, your status as a drug user might be enough to block you from being able to legally possess a firearm, even if you aren’t convicted.

On top of these categories, Utah’s restricted person laws make it illegal to own a gun if you were convicted of a felony.  Certain violent felonies will make you a category I restricted person and can lead to increased penalties if you are caught in possession of a weapon.  Otherwise, you will be considered a category II restricted person, which still prevents you from getting a gun permit or possessing a firearm.

If your Utah DUI conviction was a felony, you will be blocked from owning a gun.  However, not every DUI in Utah is a felony.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor DUI Charges in Utah

While a misdemeanor DUI conviction might require you to pay high fines, spend time in jail, and face a driver’s license suspension, it will not usually block your right to possess a firearm.  On the other hand, felony DUI charges will prevent you from getting a gun permit and make it a crime to possess a gun because of your criminal record.  Because this restriction applies to some DUI charges and not others, it is important to understand what makes a DUI a felony under Utah law.

Misdemeanor DUI in Utah

Utah’s general DUI statute makes it illegal to drive a car when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  The law deems you automatically “under the influence” if you have a blood alcohol concentration of at least .05.  Otherwise, even without a breath or blood test, you can still be convicted of DUI if the police and prosecutors can prove that you had signs of intoxication or drug use that affected your driving, such as slow movement and reactions, confusion, trouble keeping your car in the lane, or problems driving safely.

The general Utah DUI crime is a class B misdemeanor, which means that you cannot face more than a year in jail for it.  Some DUI charges are upgraded to a class A misdemeanor if there was a minor in the car or the DUI caused an accident involving injuries.

Felony DUI in Utah

More serious DUI offenses are upgraded to a felony, which can involve more than a year in prison and can block access to firearms.  A DUI conviction will be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony if any of the following issues were present:

  • The DUI involved an accident that caused “serious bodily injury.”
  • This is your third DUI conviction within 10 years.
  • You have previously been convicted of automobile homicide or another felony DUI.

Reducing Felony DUI Convictions to Avoid Gun Restrictions

Even if you were charged with a felony DUI, there may be options to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor instead.  This can stop the law from cutting off your gun rights in some cases.  To take advantage of a reduced conviction under Utah Code § 76-3-402, you have to meet the following requirements:

  1. You need the judge to rule that the conviction of a felony would be too harsh.
  2. You need the judge to place you on probation with a suspended sentence for the felony.
  3. You need to successfully complete probation and satisfy your other penalties without any probation violations.
  4. You need to request a hearing to have the conviction reduced.
  5. The judge needs to grant a reduced sentence.

If you meet these requirements and follow these steps, the court may lower a felony DUI from a third degree felony down to a class A misdemeanor.  If this happens and you have no other felony convictions on your record or other problems that would block you from owning a gun, you may get your gun rights restored.

Call Our Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one was charged with DUI, you might lose the right to possess a gun in Utah.  Talk to a lawyer about whether your DUI charges are misdemeanor or felony charges and how you can keep your right to own a firearm if you faced serious DUI charges in Utah.  Call the Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers at Overson & Bugden today to set up a free legal consultation.  Our number is (801) 758-2287.