How to Restore a Suspended License After a DUI in Utah

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

In addition to receiving fines, jail time, community service, and other penalties, Utah drivers who are arrested for DUI or Driving Under the Influence will also temporarily lose their driver’s license. While this may be acceptable for city residents with great access to public transportation, a license suspension can be absolutely disastrous for people who live in rural and suburban areas of Utah, especially those who rely on their cars to commute to work, get to school, or bring their children to daycare.  In this blog post, Park City Utah DUI Defense Lawyer Darwin Overson will explain how to restore your suspended Utah driver’s license after being charged with drunk driving.

DUI isn’t the only issue which can result in the temporary loss of your driving privileges.  Utah driver’s licenses can be suspended for any number of reasons, including but not limited to driving while texting, failure to pay child support, and accumulating too many points on your license due to minor traffic violations.  While this post is geared toward DUI cases, you may find it useful even if your license was suspended for other reasons.

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How Long Does Utah’s DUI License Suspension Last?

The answer to this question really depends on the nature of the underlying offense.  Factors like your your total number of intoxicated driving offenses, whether you refused a breathalyzer test, and your age at the time of the incident can all impact the length of your license suspension.

For example, minor drivers whose cases involved underage drinking are subject to Utah’s zero tolerance “Not a Drop” law, which prohibits minors from driving with any trace of alcohol in their system — even with a BAC well under 0.08%, the normal threshold for making DUI arrests. On a similar note, the threshold is also lower for commercial drivers, such as professional truckers: just 0.04%, or half the standard level.

Suspension periods by number of offense are as follows:

  • First Offense — 120 days
  • Second Offense — 2 years
  • Third Offense — 2 years

If you were a minor, your suspension period is based on (1) your specific age, and (2) whether the arrest was made on a “Not a Drop” basis (i.e. zero tolerance), or a standard or “Per Se” basis (i.e. BAC of 0.08% or higher).

  • Under 19
    • Per Se — 2 years
    • Not a Drop — 1 year
  • 19 to 20 
    • Per Se — 6 months
    • Not a Drop — 6 months

Steps to Restoring Your Driving Privileges

Be forewarned that your license will be automatically suspended unless you take measures to intervene.

Your first step is to request the hearing.  You must do this within 10 days of being arrested — including weekends, holidays, and so forth — or your legal recourse will be severely limited. While not impossible, it is extremely difficult to successfully obtain a hearing if you miss the 10-day deadline.  Making sure you meet the deadline will keep the legal process that much smoother, faster, and more efficient for you.

To request a hearing, fill out the Hearing Request Form supplied by the Utah Department of Public Safety (Driver License Division).  This is a short, one-page form which asks for simple information like your license number, your SSN, the county where you were arrested, and the name of your criminal defense attorney.  When you finish, fax the completed form to the Driver License Division at (801) 964-4499.

At the hearing, an Administrative Law Judge or “ALJ” will hear your case and determine whether a license suspension would be appropriate, which only underscores the importance of having aggressive legal representation.  Other people who may be present at the hearing include your lawyer, and your arresting officer (though he or she may be “present” via phone).

Keep in mind that the hearing is a civil matter, and is completely separate from the criminal component of your case.  If you are later found not guilty, or the criminal drunk driving charges are dismissed, your license can be restored right away.

Even if the judge denies your request to restore your license, you may still be eligible for an alternate, restricted license called a “limited license.”  While a limited license doesn’t offer as much freedom as a normal license, it will allow you to drive to and from work so that you can keep your job and avoid facing financial hardships.

If you’ve been charged with drunk or drugged driving in Utah, or if you’re facing penalties due to refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test, the experienced intoxicated driving attorneys of Overson Law LLC can fight your charges and help get your driving privileges restored.  To set up a private and completely free case evaluation, call our law offices right away at (801) 733-1308.