Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both is a severe offense. If you get pulled by law enforcement and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you will face dire consequences. The outcome of a drunk driving conviction can affect your reputation, your relationships, your work, and other facets of your life. If you or a loved one was charged with a DUI in Utah, you can’t waste another second. You need the services of a skilled Salt Lake City DUI defense lawyer at your side. Darwin Overson of Overson Law invites you to read more about DUI charges and what the penalties are for committing multiple DUI offenses.
Utah DUI Laws
A person can be charged with drunk driving if he or she is caught driving drunk. According to Utah Code § 41-6a-502, you can be charged with a DUI for operating a vehicle while under the effects of drugs and alcohol. The statute also points out that being in “actual physical control” of the vehicle while under the influence is reason enough to be charged with a DUI, even if you were not actually driving. A person is considered to be under the influence of alcohol if he or she is unable to drive safely. Additionally, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit (0.08%), you will likely be charged with drunk driving.
DUI Penalties in Utah
Utah divides its crimes into misdemeanors (lesser offenses) and felonies (severe offenses). Generally, misdemeanors carry less severe penalties when compared to felonies. However, despite being considered “lesser offenses,” they could still pose severe consequences for a defendant. Misdemeanors and felonies are broken down into the following levels of crime, with the listed penalties (listed from most severe to least severe):
First Degree Felony
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Sentence: Up to Life in prison
Second Degree Felony
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Sentence: Up to 15 years in prison
Third Degree Felony
- Fines: Up to $5,000
- Sentence: Up to 5 years in prison
Class A Misdemeanor
- Fines: Up to $2,500
- Sentence: Up to 1 year in jail
Class B Misdemeanor
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Sentence: Up to 6 months in jail
Class C Misdemeanor
- Fines: Up to $750.00
- Sentence: Up to 90 days in jail
As you can see, no matter the classification of the crime, the legal and civil consequences stemming from DUI charges can be devastating for convicted felons.
DUIs are classified under different levels of crime for different details about the offense.
First DUI Charge vs. Multiple DUI Charges
Penalties for convicted DUI defendants will change depending on how many times they broke the law. For instance, a first DUI offense is considered a Class B Misdemeanor, which could carry jail time, fines, supervised probation, an ignition interlock (if the driver is under 21 years of age), and more. A second DUI offense is also classified as a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable with jail time, fines, and more.
However, drunk driving can be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor in certain circumstances. According to Utah Law, if a person causes bodily injury while driving under the influence, he or she could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This could lead to more than 200 hours in jail or compensatory service, fines, and more.
However, a third DUI offense can be devastating for a repeat offender. A third or subsequent DUI offense is classified as a third degree felony. This means, if convicted, you will face up to 5 years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, the suspension of your driver’s license, and more. However, to be charged with a DUI-related third degree felony, all three convictions must have taken place within ten years.
In addition to these DUI penalties, individuals could face additional sanctions. For instance, according to Utah Code § 53-3-231, a person under 21 years of age cannot drive a vehicle until he or she has completed a substance abuse program. Furthermore, you could be declared an alcohol restricted driver (ARD) if convicted for a felony DUI including vehicular homicide.
DUI Lawyer Handling Misdemeanors and Felonies in Salt Lake City, Utah
Facing a DUI conviction in Utah can be very stressful and scary. The ever-strict rules and regulations against drunk drivers can put you in a very dire situation. However, if you get pulled by a police officer, your attorney might be able to fight the field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results. You should always consult with a DUI lawyer. Battling your DUI charges requires particular attention to the details surrounding your arrest and the DUI investigation. An experienced, skilled Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer can help you fight your DUI charges. There is no time to waste if you or a loved one was charged with a DUI crime in Utah. For a free consultation on your case, call the law offices of Overson Law today at (801) 758-2287.