How to Shorten a License Suspension in Utah

In a previous article, we covered the process of restoring a suspended license in Utah. In this article, we’ll explain how certain people with DUI convictions can reduce the length of a driver’s license suspension. The sooner your suspension period ends, the sooner you’ll get to enjoy your driving privileges again.

Reasons You Can Lose Your Utah Driver’s License

It’s a common misconception that all driver’s license suspensions relate to drunk driving (DUI). While DUI-based suspensions are common, there are many other reasons a license could also be suspended, revoked, or denied. In fact, Utah Code § 53-3-220 makes license suspension, revocation, or denial mandatory for all of the following offenses, some of which have nothing to do with driving:

  • Negligent homicide or manslaughter involving a motor vehicle.
  • Committing perjury (swearing a false oath), or filing a false affidavit (written statement), involving the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
  • Committing any felony in violation of Utah’s motor vehicle laws.
  • Committing a felony that involves firing a gun from a motor vehicle.
  • Using a motor vehicle to aid in the commission of any felony (e.g. using a car to flee the scene of a felony, like a burglary).
  • Committing hit and run (failing to stop when a person is killed or injured in a car accident).
  • Having two charges of DUI, reckless driving, or a combination of both, within a 12-month time period.
  • Failing to stop a vehicle when instructed to do so by a police officer.
  • Racing on a highway.
  • Driving a vehicle without an ignition interlock device (IID) after a court has ordered an IID to be installed. Mandatory IID installation is sometimes ordered when a driver is found guilty of intoxicated driving.
  • Interfering with or disobeying child custody orders (e.g. withholding visitation).

Additionally, a Utah driver’s license will be suspended for six months if the person is convicted of drug crimes in violation of the Utah Controlled Substances Act, the Utah Drug Paraphernalia Act, or related acts banning the possession, distribution, or production of narcotics.

As you can see from this long list of offenses, it’s fairly easy to lose your license in Utah. However, there’s also some good news. If your license was suspended or denied for a first conviction of drugged or drunk driving, it may be possible to shorten the length of the suspension period. While this isn’t the same as restoring your driving privileges, it does mean you’ll be back on the road that much sooner.

gavel on top of a law book

Shortening Your Suspension Period

Just to reiterate, the following information applies to people who were convicted of intoxicated driving for the first time. With that important point in mind, let’s look at the eligibility criteria:

  • You must have already completed at least six months of the suspension period.
  • You must have avoided unlawfully consuming alcohol (e.g. underage drinking) throughout the suspension period.
  • You must have avoided any convictions related to traffic offenses throughout the suspension period.
  • You must have complied with any alcohol or drug screening requirement that was part of your sentence. Additionally, one of the following statements must be true (as applicable to your personal situation):
    • If the screening determined that you needed an assessment, then you must have completed the assessment.
    • If the screening determined that you needed to undergo treatment or counseling for substance abuse, then you must have gotten the treatment or counseling which was specified.
    • If you were required to attend a drug or alcohol education course, you must have completed the course successfully.
  • You must have obeyed all court orders.
    • If you were placed on probation, you must not have any probation violations.

If you meet these criteria, then it might be possible for you to have your suspension period reduced. To start the process, you will need to file a motion (Motion to Shorten Period of Driver’s License Suspension or Denial) and the appropriate affidavit in the court where you were originally convicted of DUI.

Your attorney will help you prepare and file your legal paperwork, so that you do not accidentally leave out information or miss any filing deadlines. Your attorney will also represent you if the prosecutor decides to object to the motion. If the prosecutor decides to object, you will have the opportunity to respond after being served with the appropriate papers.

The court may or may not decide to hold a hearing on the matter. If a hearing is scheduled, both sides will be able to present an argument as to why the suspension period should or should not be shortened. If the court decides to grant your request and the suspension period is reduced, the Driver License Division will be notified.

Last but not least, it’s important to note that a license suspension can also be extended. This will occur if you are caught driving while your license is suspended, revoked, or has been denied.

If you were arrested for DUI in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson is prepared to aggressively fight the charges and seek reduced penalties on your behalf. To set up a free and private legal consultation with Darwin, call the law offices of Overson Law LLC at (801) 758-2287 today.