Utah recently updated its DUI laws, making it easier to get arrested for DUI in Salt Lake City. In the past, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher could result in DUI charges. Today, that limit is just 0.05 – the lowest in the United States. For drivers who are below the legal drinking age of 21, DUI can be charged if there is any detectable alcohol in the blood, even with a BAC as low as 0.01. For college students at the University of Utah, a violation of these DUI laws can result in jail time, expensive fines, license suspension, and potentially even suspension or expulsion from the University. A criminal record may also cause a student to lose eligibility for loans and scholarships, prevent a student from going abroad, or fail to qualify for various volunteer, employment, and internship programs.
If your son or daughter was arrested for drunk driving at the University of Utah, or was charged with DUI under 21 at college, your family needs aggressive, strategy-oriented legal representation. Darwin Overson is a Salt Lake City DUI defense lawyer for college students at the University of Utah who has more than 16 years of experience fighting felony and misdemeanor charges. He will fight tirelessly to protect your child’s reputation and academic future. Contact Overson & Bugden online to set up a free legal consultation, or call (801) 758-2287 to speak with a University of Utah DUI lawyer today.
Is DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Utah divides criminal offenses into two groups: felonies and misdemeanors. Each of these groups is also divided into three subcategories. Misdemeanors are split into Class C, Class B, and Class A misdemeanors, while felonies are labeled as third degree, second degree, or first degree felonies. On this scale, Class C misdemeanors are the least severe offenses, while first degree felonies are the most serious.
In Utah, DUI is generally a Class B misdemeanor. However, this offense is a Class A misdemeanor under the following circumstances:
- It is a first-offense or second-offense DUI
- The DUI involved or resulted in one of the following:
- A passenger under the age of 16 (regardless of the driver’s age)
- A passenger under the age of 18 (if the driver was at least 21 years old when the DUI allegedly occurred)
- Somebody becoming non-severely injured
If you have two prior DUI offenses, your third DUI is a felony – specifically, a felony of the third degree. Drunk driving is also a third degree felony if:
- Someone is severely injured as a result of the DUI
- You have previously been convicted of automobile homicide (vehicular homicide)
What Happens if You Are Caught Drinking and Driving Under 21?
If you are arrested for DUI under the age of 21, you may be tried in Utah’s juvenile courts (which are civil) or adult courts (which are criminal). If you were 17 when the offense occurred, you may be tried as a minor, while offenders age 18 or older may be tried as adults. The court procedures and penalties for juveniles differ from adult criminal penalties and court procedures. For example, if a driver is below age of 19, his or her license may be suspended until his or her 21st birthday.
In addition to facing criminal prosecution by the state, or charges in juvenile court, you may be required to attend University disciplinary hearings, which could result in expulsion or other unwanted consequences.
Utah’s “Not a Drop” Rule
Utah has a Zero Tolerance rule for underage DUI, known as the “Not a Drop” law. It is called “Not a Drop” because even the slightest trace of alcohol in the body will result in DUI charges – even if the driver is not in an impaired state. Under the Not a Drop rule, a BAC as low as 0.01 can lead to a DUI arrest if the driver is below the legal drinking age of 21.
What is the Penalty for a DUI in Utah?
DUI penalties vary depending on how the offense is graded, the offender’s age at the time of the DUI, and other factors. Examples of DUI penalties in Utah are listed below.
First-Offense DUI Penalty
Penalties for a first DUI in Utah may include:
- 48 hours in jail
- Fines of up to approximately $1,370
- Ignition interlock (which is like a breathalyzer that can prevent your car from starting)
- License suspension
- Supervised probation
Felony DUI Penalties
The penalties for a felony DUI in Utah may include:
- Fines exceeding $2,800
- Ignition interlock
- License suspension
- Supervised probation
- Up to five years in prison
University of Utah DUI Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City
If you or your child was arrested for DUI while attending the University of Utah, it is critical to begin planning a defense strategy as soon as possible. For a free legal consultation with a DUI lawyer for University of Utah students, contact Overson Law online, or call our law offices at (801) 758-2287. We are available 24/7 to assist you.