Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both is a severe crime in Utah. People charged with drunk or drugged driving could face severe consequences including jail time and hefty fines. The legal consequences stemming from a DUI conviction can affect everything from your relations to your job.
If you or a loved one was charged with a DUI, you need immediate legal assistance. Having aggressive legal representation by your side can be the difference between a positive outcome or losing your freedom. Salt Lake City DUI defense lawyer Darwin Overson of Overson Law explains the differences between marijuana and alcohol DUI charges and the consequences of a conviction.
What is the Difference between Drug and Alcohol DUIs in Utah?
Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or drunk driving is a severe offense. These terms refer to operating a vehicle while under the effects of alcohol. According to Utah Code § 41-6a-502, a person in control of a motor vehicle cannot legally drive if he or she is under the influence of alcohol. Utah’s strict alcohol DUI laws limit the amount of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08 grams (dropping to .05 by 2019). This means if you meet or exceed this threshold, you risk facing harsh penalties.
DUI also includes driving while under the effects of drugs. Utah law includes drug DUIs under the same statute as alcohol DUIs. Thus Utah Code § 41-6a-502 also prohibits motorists from operating a vehicle if he or she is under the influence of any drug and that drug use poses a potential safety risk. Additionally, if a person has any trace of measurable metabolite – trace molecules – of any controlled substance in their body, they risk facing DUI charges. Since marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, marijuana DUI is a crime.
Keep in mind that while many states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, it is still a Schedule I substance under federal law. Utah also criminalizes the possession, sale, and trafficking of marijuana. If the police detain you, and they find you are in possession of marijuana, you risk facing prison time and steep fines.
What Are the Penalties for Marijuana DUI in Utah?
Utah law divides criminal charges into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Typically, penalties will change depending on the specific circumstances of each case. Misdemeanors are classified as Class A, Class, B, and Class C. Felonies – which are the most severe charges – are divided into the first degree, second degree, or third degree felonies. The main differences between misdemeanors and felonies are the extent of the penalties imposed on the defendant.
Both drunk driving and driving high are considered Class B misdemeanors, which carry a penalty of up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. In addition to potential jail time and fines, you can have your driver’s license suspended. Penalties can be harsher if you are stopped by the police and refuse to be tested.
What Are the Differences Between Marijuana and Alcohol DUI?
As discussed, marijuana and alcohol DUI charges are classified as Class B misdemeanors. However, there is a significant difference that could make matters worse if you are charged with a DUI offense. If a police officer stops you and discovers you were driving while under the effects of marijuana, you may also have your car and your person searched for drugs and paraphernalia. Therefore, not only you will face the consequences associated with a DUI, you could face drug possession charges for any contraband they find.
If convicted of marijuana possession, you can face severe consequences. Penalties for marijuana possession are determined by the amount of marijuana you possess – but the threshold is very high. If you are caught in possession of anywhere under 100lbs of marijuana, you can face up to a year in jail, plus thousands of dollars in fines.
Finally, keep in mind that DUI charges can be harsher if you committed previous offenses, caused any injuries while driving under the influence, or were charged with vehicular manslaughter. An experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer can help you fight your charges.
Our Salt Lake City Marijuana DUI Defense Attorney Offers Free Consultations
Don’t waste one more minute if you or a loved one was charged with any alcohol or drug-related offense. The sooner you retain an experienced and skilled Utah attorney, the better your chances of beating your charges. Utah criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson is ready to uphold your constitutional rights aggressively and strategically. To learn more about your case in a free consultation, call Overson Law today at (801) 758-2287.