Western Governors University is an online university with headquarters in Salt Lake City. Offering affordability and convenience, the University has become popular with students of all backgrounds, with over 100,000 currently enrolled. If you or your child is charged with DUI while enrolled at Western Governors University, the consequences can be serious. A conviction or arrest may threaten their enrollment status, their eligibility for student loans, and their eligibility for jobs or internship programs. They could also be at risk of going to jail, paying large fines, losing their driver’s license, and potentially, facing probation.
Your family needs an attorney who will take the charges seriously and dedicate themselves to handling your child’s case strategically. Founder of Overson Law, PLLC, Salt Lake DUI lawyer Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience fighting felony and misdemeanor charges in Utah. For a free legal consultation with Darwin, call Overson Law at (801) 758-2287, or contact us online today.
What is the DUI Law in Utah?
The Utah DUI statute is Utah Code § 41-6a-502. Even though this statute is located within the state’s traffic code rather than its criminal laws, drivers should make no mistake: DUI is a criminal offense in Utah, and those convicted can be harshly penalized. The penalties for DUI in Utah are discussed below.
Utah Code § 41-6a-502 outlines several scenarios that can result in DUI charges. These scenarios are as follows:
- Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) measurement that meets or exceeds 0.05. This is significantly lower than the 0.08 threshold applied in most U.S. states.
- Driving with any measurable BAC, no matter how low, if the driver is below the age of 21. This strict measure against underage drinking is aptly called Utah’s “Not a Drop” rule.
- Driving while “under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or… [both] to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle,” regardless of whether the drug is illegal (such as marijuana) or prescribed (such as Ambien).
Is DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Utah splits crimes into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. DUI is typically a misdemeanor in Utah, but can be graded as a felony if the defendant has a record of prior drunk driving offenses. Felonies and more serious misdemeanors are tried in District Court, while lesser misdemeanors are tried in Justice Court.
If the defendant is under 18, Utah’s juvenile courts have jurisdiction, or authority over the case. (Only in the most serious cases, such as charges involving attempted murder or aggravated robbery, are juveniles tried as adults in Utah.) This is significant for three reasons: juvenile courts are civil (non-criminal), provide a greater measure of privacy, and tend to impose more lenient penalties.
Utah DUI Penalties for a Student at Western Governors University
Utah penalties for intoxicated driving depend on several factors. These factors include:
- Whether it is a first, second, or third offense
- Whether anyone was injured as a result of the DUI
- Whether passengers below the age of 18 were present in the vehicle
- Whether the driver refused to submit to a breathalyzer test
- The driver’s age at the time of the offense
- The driver’s BAC or, in drug DUI cases, the type and quantity of drugs involved
While these factors can cause variations in DUI penalties, state guidelines create a basic framework that judges are obligated to follow. Penalties for a first-time DUI offense in Utah may include 48 hours in jail (or equivalent community service, under certain circumstances), assorted fines potentially exceeding $1,300, suspension of your driver’s license for up to 120 days, possible probation, and other consequences, along with a criminal record.
What is Impaired Driving?
Impaired driving is a separate offense related to driving under the influence. The Utah impaired driving statute is Utah Code § 41-6a-502.5. You must be charged with DUI before your attorney can have the charge reduced to one of impaired driving. The prosecution may offer to reduce the charge to impaired driving in exchange for a plea agreement, but be careful: it is never wise to make major legal decisions without consulting an experienced DUI lawyer first, especially not when you or your child’s future and very freedom are at stake. You should contact a DUI defense lawyer for help right away if your son or daughter was arrested for drunk driving while attending online courses at Western Governors University.
DUI Defense Attorney for Online Students at Western Governors University
Don’t let a DUI charge disrupt your life any more than it has to. Hire a trusted, trial-tested attorney to protect your rights, prepare you for hearings, and fight for a case dismissal, acquittal, lesser charge, or penalty reduction. Contact Overson Law online to set up a free consultation, or call today at (801) 758-2287 for 24-hour assistance throughout Utah.