Being charged with DUI (driving under the influence) is a devastating event for a college student. In addition to facing expulsion, loss of eligibility for student loans, and other academic or professional consequences, the student also risks criminal penalties – including jail time and heavy fines. If your son or daughter was arrested for DUI at Salt Lake Community College, he or she needs the protection of a skilled and experienced DUI defense lawyer, like Darwin Overson, founder of Overson Law, PLLC.
An aggressive and dedicated advocate for criminal justice, SLCC defense attorney Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience fighting misdemeanor and felony charges involving drunk driving. If you or your child was arrested on drunk driving charges at SLCC, Darwin Overson is here to provide strategic representation. It may be possible to reduce or avoid penalties, limiting the damage and disruption of a criminal charge. To schedule a free legal consultation with a DUI lawyer for college students at SLCC, contact Overson Law online today, or call (801) 758-2287. We are available 24/7 to help you.
What Are the DUI Laws in Utah?
The Utah DUI law, Utah Code § 41-6a-502, bans drivers from operating any type of motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or controlled substances, whether illegal street drugs (such as marijuana) or prescription medications (such as prescription sleep aids). There are a few different ways that a driver can violate the statute and break Utah’s DUI law, resulting in criminal charges:
- A driver can be charged with DUI if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is measured at or above 0.05. While this limit is 0.08 in most other states, Utah recently decreased the threshold from 0.08 to 0.05, effectively adopting the country’s strictest BAC limit.
- A driver can be charged with DUI if he or she “is under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle,” in accordance with Utah Code § 41-6a-502(1)(b). In other words, a person can be arrested for DUI regardless of BAC if he or she is driving unsafely due to intoxication by drugs, alcohol, or both.
- If a driver is under the age of 21 (such as many college freshmen or first-year students), he or she can be charged with DUI for driving with any measurable BAC, even if the measurement is 0.02 or 0.01 and the driver is not impaired. This is known as Utah’s “Not a Drop” law.
Utah Penalty for DUI
It is important to take DUI charges seriously and consult with a proven and trusted attorney regarding your family’s legal options. There can be serious criminal penalties if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated, in addition to various penalties imposed by Salt Lake Community College. Depending on the severity of the violation, you may even be at risk for expulsion, losing all you have already worked for.
The penalties for DUI in Utah, and classification of intoxicated driving offenses, are outlined at Utah Code § 41-6a-503. Under this statute, DUI is generally classified or graded as a misdemeanor offense. In general, DUI is a Class B misdemeanor, with some exceptions where the offense is a more serious Class A misdemeanor. For instance, DUI is a Class A misdemeanor if the driver “was 21 years of age or older and had a passenger under 18 years of age in the vehicle at the time of the offense,” as specified at Utah Code § 41-6a-503(1)(b)(iii). Third and subsequent offenses are felonies.
The penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Utah generally include a jail sentence of 48 hours, or 48 hours of community service, depending on the case. There can also be costly assorted fines, which, in total, can amount to more than $1,300. Moreover, the defendant’s vehicle can be impounded and his or her license suspended for a period of 120 days – a major inconvenience for busy students and commuters.
In addition to facing risks like jail time, license suspension, vehicle impoundment, and fines, the student can also be placed on probation, ordered to undergo counseling, and in some cases, ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in his or her vehicle. An IID works similarly to a breathalyzer and will prevent the engine from starting if alcohol is detected above certain thresholds.
Utah DUI Defense Attorney for Salt Lake Community College Students
A DUI charge might seem insurmountable, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your academic career. With deft and proactive representation, it may be possible to mitigate or avoid penalties – and avoid a criminal record. However, it is crucial to move quickly and seek legal help as soon as possible. For a free legal consultation with an experienced Salt Lake City DUI defense lawyer for community college students, call Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287, or contact Overson Law online.