If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah, it can be a scary and stressful time. You probably have many questions on your mind, such as what sort of DUI 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.
Drugged and drunk driving convictions can lead to serious legal consequences in Utah, including jail time, fines, restitution, probation, long-term loss of your driving privileges due to license suspension, and other penalties. It is critically important that you have a skilled, experienced, and aggressive Salt Lake City, 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.
Types of DUI Charges Our Lawyers Handle
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 an experienced criminal attorney who knows what sorts of defense strategies can be utilized in drunk driving cases.
Salt Lake City drunk driving attorney Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience representing thousands of clients in a wide variety of criminal cases, including:
- Breathalyzer refusal cases
- Commercial driver DUI
- DUI resulting in death or injury
- DUI with marijuana, methamphetamine, and other drugs
- High BAC DUI
- Repeat DUI with prior offenses
- Underage DUI (drinking and driving under age 21)
Darwin represents both adult and juvenile defendants in intoxicated driving cases, 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 or other areas of Utah.
When Can You Be Charged with Driving While Intoxicated?
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 state 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 – 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, prescription painkillers, 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.
Utah Drunk Driving Penalties: Jail, 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 minor passenger
Under Utah Code § 41-6a-503, a second or first offense DUI in Utah is a Class B misdemeanor or Class A misdemeanor. A third offense is generally a third degree felony, depending on the circumstances. Utah penalties for DUI are listed below.
- First Offense DUI
- Jail Sentence – Minimum 48 hours
- License Suspension – 120 days
- Fine – Typically a minimum of $1,400, including court fees
- Second Offense DUI
- Jail Sentence – Minimum 10 days
- License Suspension – 2 years
- Fine – Typically a minimum of $1,600
- 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.
What Happens if You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
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
Contact a Salt Lake City DUI Defense Attorney
Know your rights at all times – never consent to give any statements to the police or provide samples of your bodily fluids without first consulting with our attorneys. The law does not require you to submit to a search of your personal belongings, including your car, field sobriety tests or breathalyzer.
An experienced defense lawyer for DUI in Utah 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 the penalties you face, or even have DUI charges dismissed altogether.
Gathering evidence is the most crucial component in battling a DUI case. Our legal team works with industry experts to gather materials relevant to your case, including maintenance records of any BAC detection equipment used, to determine if authorities used outdated or inefficient equipment during your traffic stop. If there’s an error, we’re going to find it.
Call Salt Lake City DUI attorney 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 intoxicated driving charges throughout Utah, including Salt Lake County, Summit County, Tooele County, Wasatch County, Morgan County, Davis County, Rich County, Cache County, and more.