Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) when you already have another traffic violation on your record can be a worrying experience. While it may require multiple traffic violations to have your license suspended in Utah, a DUI may trigger an automatic license suspension. If you or a family member was charged with a DUI, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City DUI defense lawyer. A DUI offense may cause you to have a variety of legal troubles, but Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson is here to help you. Darwin explains what happens if you get a DUI after another traffic violation in Utah.
Utah Driving Under the Influence Laws
In Utah, driving under the influence is a serious offense. “Driving under the influence” does not just refer to drunk driving, but also includes driving while under the influence of drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. Title 41 of Utah’s Motor Vehicles Traffic Code §41-6a-502 determines the requirements for charging an offender with a DUI.
Utah’s Code states that you cannot drive or be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) equals .08 grams or higher when chemically tested. BAC refers to the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream. Additionally, if you cannot “safely operate a vehicle” because you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, you can be charged with a DUI, regardless of the amount in your system. You may also be charged with a DUI if you drove or had control of a vehicle when you were over the legal limit for BAC.
Consequences of DUI After Breaking Another Traffic Law
The penalties for DUI may vary if you commit the offense during or after another traffic violation. If you only commit a DUI offense, you will be charged with a class B misdemeanor. In Utah, class B misdemeanors carry a penalty of up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
If you commit a DUI after certain other traffic violations, you may be charged with a class A misdemeanor. For example, if you are driving on the wrong side of the highway while also being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be charged with a higher offense. Other circumstances that may cause you to be charged with a class A misdemeanor include:
- Negligently causing an accident where another person was injured
- Having a passenger under the age of 16 while driving under the influence
- Being 21 or older and having a passenger under the age of 18 while committing a DUI
Reckless driving is another crime that can be simultaneously charged with DUI. Reckless driving occurs when a person has “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of other drivers, pedestrians, or property. Reckless driving can also be committed by violating multiple traffic laws in a three-mile span. Recklessly driving while under the influence is a class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors have a maximum jail term of one year and up to $2,500 in fines.
If you have 2 or more prior convictions for reckless driving or DUI within the last 10 years and you commit another DUI, you may be charged with a third degree felony. A third degree felony is a serious offense; it carries a max jail term of five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Additionally, driving under the influence is an offense that will get your license suspended for up to 120 days for a first offense. You may also have to complete at least 48 hours of community service. Having a high BAC (.16 or more) and simultaneously committing other traffic offenses may require you to use an ignition interlock device once you are eligible to drive again. An ignition interlock device checks the driver’s BAC before they can turn on their vehicle. Using a sober individual to start your car may result in criminal charges for you and the individual who started the car.
Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help You with Your DUI Case
If you or a family member is facing a DUI offense, you should contact an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney. A DUI can disrupt many areas of your life, even your career. Darwin Overson is here to provide you with dedicated legal representation to help you reclaim your life. With over 16 years of criminal law experience, Darwin has handled various offenses, including DUI and traffic offenses.
Overson Law, PLLC will work tirelessly to help you pursue the legal outcome you deserve. To schedule a free consultation for your DUI case, call us at (801) 758-2287. We answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.