When people have a bit too much to drink and get behind the wheel of a car, they can be stopped, arrested, and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). DUI charges are unfortunately common. Law enforcement tends to be very unforgiving when it comes to drunk drivers, and the penalties are often swift and harsh. If you are charged with a DUI, you should consider finding an attorney to help you.
DUIs are criminal charges in Utah. Most DUIs are charged as misdemeanors, although they can be charged as felonies under the right circumstances. The penalties for a DUI can affect your driver’s license, cost you a fortune in fines, and possibly send you to jail. The fallout from a DUI tends to last a long time too. Many drivers end up with ignition interlock devices for months after a DUI.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Utah, you need to prepare yourself for the complex legal proceedings that follow. Our Layton, UT DUI attorneys have experience handling these kinds of cases and can help you fight your charges. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case review.
Penalties for DUI Charges in Layton UT
DUIs may be charged in Utah any time a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .05%. However, the police can also charge you with a DUI if your BAC is lower than the legal limit if you are incapable of safely driving. Most DUIs are charged as misdemeanors, but some can be charged as felonies. You can speak to our Layton, UT DUI attorneys for advice on whatever you are charged with.
A person charged with their first or second DUI may face Class B misdemeanor charges. These charges may be upgraded to Class A misdemeanors if someone was injured, a passenger was younger than 16, a passenger was younger than 18 if the driver is at least 21, the driver was on the wrong side of the road, or the DUI happened on the highway or freeway.
If a driver is charged with their third DUI within 10 years of their last one, they could be charged with a third-degree felony. Not only that, felony charges could be assessed if the driver caused more serious bodily harm, or was previously convicted of automobile homicide or a separate felony DUI.
Can I Refuse a Breath Test for a DUI in Layton, UT?
There is often a fair amount of confusion surrounding breath tests and breathalyzer devices. Some people seem to think you can refuse breath tests, while others are under the impression that they are always mandatory. Either person may be correct, depending on the circumstances. While some breath tests can be refused, breath tests connected with official chemical testing are legally required. Talk to our Layton, UT DUI attorneys about your breath test.
Preliminary breath tests (PBT) are not legally required, and drivers are allowed to refuse to submit. A preliminary breath test is usually administered before being arrested when the officer is still building up probable cause. PBTs are typically not admissible in court as evidence of your DUI. However, they can be used to establish probable cause to arrest you and brought up at any hearing pertaining to issues of probable cause. Again, you are not legally required to submit to PBTs.
Official chemical testing is legally required under Utah’s implied consent laws. Under these laws, the police do not need explicit or direct consent from drivers to be tested. Drivers are said to have already consented by virtue of driving on Utah’s public roads and highways. Official chemical testing could consist of blood or urine tests, but the primary testing method is a breathalyzer. The breathalyzer used in official chemical testing is often larger and more accurate, and the results are admissible in court as evidence.
How Do the Police Stop Drivers for DUIs in Layton, UT?
The police may use a few different methods of stopping drivers when it comes to DUIs. Whatever the way you are pulled over, your stop must be lawfully supported. Many stops must be rooted in some articulable reasonable suspicion that a driver is under the influence. Other stops, like checkpoints, must adhere to specific laws and procedures to be valid.
Routine traffic stops frequently lead to DUI charges. As said before, a routine stop must be supported by reasonable suspicion. Stops that are based on hunches or gut instincts are not typically valid. The requirement for reasonable suspicion is meant to prevent arbitrary stops and stops based on unlawful reasons, like a driver’s race or ethnicity.
Reasonable suspicion could include anything that might reasonably lead a police officer to suspect an intoxicated driver. Weaving in and out of traffic lanes, speeding, and running lights and stop signs are all grounds to pull someone over. However, reasonable suspicion is not enough to execute an arrest. There must be additional evidence discovered during the stop to warrant and arrest. If you think your stop was arbitrary or unlawful, contact our Layton, UT DUI lawyers for help.
How Do DUI Checkpoints Work in Layton, UT?
Checkpoints are a bit different because all drivers who come through the checkpoint could be stopped regardless of reasonable suspicion. For stops to be valid, the officers must follow a predetermined plan for conducting stops in a checkpoint. Often, this involves stopping cars according to a numerical pattern. For example, stopping every third car would be reasonable.
Checkpoints must also be set up according to very specific rules. Usually, a checkpoint must be based on some need or reason. The police cannot set up checkpoints anywhere at any time. There must be a basis for the checkpoint. For example, if the police notice an increase in DUIs along a particular highway on Friday nights, they might have reasonable grounds for a checkpoint. If there is no real need for a checkpoint, law enforcement cannot set one up.
The police are also required to follow rigid protocols when conducting checkpoint stops. As said before, they must follow a predetermined pattern for stopping cars. In addition, the police typically keep interactions brief and ask very limited questions. Unless they notice any clear signs of intoxication, they will likely let you go. If you think you were unjustly stopped or detained at a checkpoint, speak to our Layton, UT DUI lawyers immediately.
Call Our Layton, UT DUI Attorneys for Assistance
If you are charged with a DUI, you may be facing serious criminal penalties. You might also be facing other criminal charges connected with your DUI. Our Layton, UT DUI attorneys can help you. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 and ask for a free case review today.