If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Utah, it can be a scary and stressful time. You probably have many questions on your mind, such as what sort of penalties you could face, who will find out about the charges against you, and whether there could be any negative consequences for your job or career.
Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that drugged and drunk driving convictions can lead to serious legal consequences in Utah, including jail time, fines, restitution, probation, and long-term loss of your driving privileges. It is critically important that you have a skilled and aggressive Utah DUI lawyer on your side to protect your rights and fight for your freedom. To set up a free legal consultation, call the law offices of Overson & Sheen at (801) 895-3143 immediately.
Utah Drunk Driving Attorney Handling Felony and Misdemeanor DUI Charges
The Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice reported over 13,000 DUI arrests in 2012. That averages out to more than 35 drunk driving arrests every single day. Utah has tried to reduce DUI accidents by aggressively prosecuting people who allegedly drive while intoxicated, so you need a knowledgeable and experienced criminal attorney who knows what sorts of defense strategies can be utilized in drunk driving cases.
Salt Lake City intoxicated driving attorney Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience representing thousands of clients in a wide variety of criminal cases, including DUI with drugs, DUI with high BAC, DUI resulting in injury, and DUI with a history of prior offenses. Darwin represents both adult and juvenile defendants, and handles numerous misdemeanor and felony charges involving alcohol and automobiles, including but not limited to:
- Automobile Homicide – Utah Code § 76-5-207
- Breathalyzer Refusal – Utah Code § 41-6a-520
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – Utah Code § 41-6a-502
- Impaired Driving – Utah Code § 41-6a-502.5
- Operating a Vehicle without an Ignition Interlock System – Utah Code § 41-6a-518.2
- Public Intoxication – Utah Code § 32B-4-421
- Reckless Driving – Utah Code § 41-6a-528
- Tampering with an Ignition Interlock System – Utah Code § 41-6a-518.1
- Vehicular Manslaughter – Utah Code § 76-5-205
Whatever alcohol-related charges you or your family member may be facing, call Darwin Overson right away to start exploring your legal options. It is vital to begin analyzing the charges and preparing for court as soon as possible if you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Salt Lake City.
When Can You Be Charged with Drugged, Impaired, or Intoxicated Driving in Utah?
Generally speaking, a person can be charged with DUI under Utah Code § 41-6a-502 if his or her BAC, or blood alcohol content, is 0.08% or greater. However, certain types of drivers can be charged with drunk driving with a much lower BAC.
For example, CDL drivers, such as professional truck drivers, can be charged with intoxicated driving for having a BAC of just 0.04%. Under Utah law, drunk drivers who are under the legal drinking age of 21 can be charged with intoxicated driving for having a BAC as low as 0.01%. Utah strictly enforces a zero tolerance policy for drivers who drink while underage.
When it comes to DUI with drugs instead of alcohol – for instance, driving under the influence of marijuana in Utah – the driver’s BAC is obviously not a measurable factor. In cases of suspected drugged driving, Utah relies partially on “drug recognition experts” (D.R.E.s), who undergo special training to detect the signs of intoxication by marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and other controlled substances.
Impaired driving is a separate but closely related offense under Utah Code § 41-6a-502.5. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to have a drunk driving conviction entered as an impaired driving conviction with the prosecutor’s agreement. Impaired driving is a lesser offense than intoxicated driving.
Should I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test, and Are There Penalties for Refusal?
Technically speaking, it is within your rights to refuse a breathalyzer test, which requires you to blow into a device that measures your BAC. However, you should be aware that refusing a breathalyzer in Utah can lead to penalties similar to those imposed for an actual DUI conviction.
This stems from a law known as “implied consent.” Utah’s implied consent law, which can be found at Utah Code § 41-6a-520, holds that all drivers are considered to have given their consent to a chemical test or breath test, simply by the act of operating a vehicle. If a driver refuses a breathalyzer in violation of the implied consent law, there can be serious consequences for your driving privileges. License suspension penalties are described below.
- First Breathalyzer Refusal – 18 month license suspension
- Second Breathalyzer Refusal – 3 year license suspension
- Third Breathalyzer Refusal – 3 year license suspension
Utah DUI Penalties: Jail Sentencing, Criminal Fines, and License Suspension
As mentioned above, intoxicated driving convictions can lead to the imposition of devastating penalties. These penalties can become even harsher if there are any aggravating factors, such as:
- Having a record of previous offenses
- Causing injury or death
- Committing DUI with a passenger under the age of 16 (or, in some cases, under the age of 18)
Under Utah Code § 41-6a-503, a first offense DUI in Utah is a Class B misdemeanor or Class A misdemeanor. A third offense is a third degree felony. When aggravating factors are present, misdemeanor DUI can potentially be charged as a felony, or as a more serious type of misdemeanor. Utah’s penalties for drunk driving are listed below.
First Offense DUI
- Jail Sentence – Minimum 2 days
- License Suspension – 120 days
- Fine – Typically a minimum of $1,400
Second Offense DUI
- Jail Sentence – Minimum 10 days
- License Suspension – 2 years
- Fine – Typically a minimum of $1,600
Notice the dramatic increase in license suspension from a first offense to a second offense: approximately four months increases to period of two full years.
Third Offense DUI
- Prison Sentence – Maximum 5 years
- License Suspension – 2 years
- Fine – Maximum $5,000
While criminal fines, license suspensions, and jail sentences are the first penalties most defendants think about, they are far from being the only repercussions of a drunk driving conviction. In addition, you could also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car, meaning the engine will not start if the device detects alcohol on your breath. You may also be ordered to perform community service, be placed on probation, or be required to receive counseling or treatment. You could even lose your gun privileges.
Contact a Salt Lake DUI Lawyer if You Were Arrested for Driving Under the Influence
The charges against you are serious. However, you don’t have to face this challenging time on your own. An experienced defense attorney can guide you through the court process and make sure that your legal rights are not violated. It may be possible to reduce your charges, or even have them dismissed altogether.
Call Utah DUI lawyer Darwin Overson at (801) 895-3143 to set up a free and private legal consultation. Darwin is ready to make holding center and jail visits, and handles DUI charges throughout Utah, including Salt Lake County, Summit County, Tooele County, Wasatch County, Morgan County, Davis County, Rich County, Cache County, and more.