Getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Lehi can have serious and long-lasting consequences if convicted. In order to avoid the worst penalties, it is critical that you get help defending your case.
Fortunately, our DUI defense attorneys can support you as your case goes through the criminal justice system. It is easier to be charged with DUI in Utah since Utah has a very low legal limit. However, the state needs to prove several elements to prove you were driving under the influence, which we can help you fight.
Call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation with our DUI defense lawyers.
DUI Charges in Lehi, UT
Utah boasts some of the toughest DUI laws in the US, where driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05% or above is illegal regardless of how inebriated one feels. Thus, it is critical to get the defense you deserve by working with our DUI defense attorneys. Unlike most other states with a BAC threshold of 0.08%, Utah’s law can catch drivers off-guard, especially if multiple drinks are consumed in a short period of time. Consequently, a person may be charged with DUI even if they don’t feel the effects of the alcohol they drank, as impairment can set in later. Moreover, commercial drivers face an even stricter standard, as operating a vehicle with a BAC of just 0.04% can result in a DUI charge.
Physical Control of the Vehicle
However, you must be in “physical control” of the vehicle to be charged with DUI in Lehi. The police will determine whether you are in physical control of the car by evaluating the “totality of the circumstances.” This simply means that the investigating officers can take note of any fact that might indicate you were driving at the time. This can include numerous factors, but if the driver was in the driver’s seat or the engine was running, regardless of whether the car was parked, they will usually be considered in physical control of the vehicle. Other factors that could indicate control of the vehicle include where the police stopped occurred and whether the driver was sleeping at the time.
DUI for Minors
Harsh penalties also await children arrested for underage DUI. As per Utah law, it is unlawful for anyone under 21 to consume alcohol, and even a trace amount in a minor’s system can lead to a DUI arrest. Typically, underage drivers have their licenses suspended until they turn 21. However, if the driver is turning 21 soon, the suspension lasts for a year from the date of suspension. Not only is it illegal to drink and drive, but it is also illegal for minors to drink any amount of alcohol, and they could also face additional charges such as reckless driving and underage drinking.
DUI and Drugs
Driving under the influence of drugs can also result in DUI charges in Lehi. Impairment caused by medications or illegal substances can lead to charges even if the driver has not consumed alcohol. Utah has a “zero-tolerance” policy, meaning that you can be charged if found driving with any amount of drugs in your system while driving. Drugs are usually detected by testing a driver’s blood or urine after they are arrested. Even if your medications are legally prescribed, you can still be charged with DUI if operating a vehicle while under their influence.
How DUI is Penalized in Lehi, UT
DUI penalties can range from civil penalties like license suspensions to harsher consequences, including prison time. The penalties you face for DUI in Lehi will depend on several factors. One of the most important factors is whether you have prior DUI arrests or convictions. If this is a driver’s first or second DUI offense, they will typically be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors are punishable with a license suspension and up to six months in jail. You will also be made to pay several hundred dollars in fines if convicted.
However, charges could be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor if the drunk driver injures someone in a DUI accident. Other aggravating factors that could result in this higher level charge include whether there was a minor passenger in the car, if the driver was driving down the wrong side of the road, and whether the DUI stop occurred on the highway. Class A misdemeanors can be punished with an automatic license suspension and up to one year in jail.
If a drunk driver caused serious injuries or has two or more DUI convictions within the past 10 years, they could face third-degree felony DUI charges. Felonies carry the most serious penalties in Utah. If convicted of a third-degree felony DUI, a person could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines. If a DUI accident resulted in another person’s death, a drunk driver could also face vehicular homicide charges, which can be punished with imprisonment lasting between five and fifteen years.
Driver License Suspensions and DUIs in Lehi, UT
A conviction for DUI in Lehi will also have civil consequences, namely having your license suspended. First-time offenders might only lose their license for 120 days, but it could be longer if there were aggravating factors in your case. If convicted of a Class A DUI misdemeanor, your license could be suspended for one to two years. For third-degree felony DUI convictions, a driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of two years.
You will usually also have your license suspended if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test after being stopped by the police. Driver’s that refuse a breathalyzer test will have their license automatically revoked and suspended for several months or years.
Fortunately, you have the opportunity to challenge a license suspension in a civil hearing. A driver’s license hearing is a separate process from your criminal case and will usually not impact what happens in criminal court. However, you must act quickly to challenge your license suspension. Utah law provides only ten days from the date of your DUI arrest to request a hearing with the civil court. If you do not request a hearing within this period, your license suspension will automatically go into effect. However, if you fail to request a hearing but your DUI charges are dropped, or you are found not guilty, your license should be automatically restored.
Our Lehi, UT DUI Defense Lawyers Can Help
For a free case review, speak with our DUI defense attorneys at Overson & Bugden by calling us today at (801) 758-2287.