If you have been charged with DUI in Salt Lake City, you face penalties that include jail time, license suspension, hefty fines, and other consequences. However, it may be possible for an experienced defense attorney to have your charges reduced to impaired driving, which is a lesser offense than DUI. As a result, penalties for impaired driving may be lighter than penalties for driving under the influence in Utah.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving, it is vital that you contact an impaired driving defense lawyer in Salt Lake City for help right away. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free legal consultation, or contact our law offices online to schedule an appointment. We are here to help you fight DUI and related charges 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Impaired Driving vs. DUI Charges
Utah’s impaired driving law is located at Utah Code § 41-6a-502.5. This statute establishes the circumstances under which impaired driving may be charged, but does not provide a definition of the offense. This is due to the fact that impaired driving and DUI share similar “elements,” or criteria for the offense.
In Utah, it is unlawful to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that equals or exceeds 0.05. This also applies to the operation of vehicles other than cars, such as boats or motorcycles. However, even if a motorist’s BAC measures below 0.05, he or she can still be arrested and charged if the driver is too impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, including prescription medications, to drive safely.
Utah Impaired Driving Laws
To reiterate, impaired driving is a lesser charge than DUI. This means the resulting penalties may be lighter than the penalties that would result from a conviction of DUI. For this reason, it may be strategic to seek a charge of impaired driving. However, this type of outcome depends on the prosecutor’s willingness to agree to a plea deal, among other factors. Therefore, it is essential to make sure you are represented by an experienced, persistent defense lawyer who understands what sort of defense tactics can be used to fight or reduce your charges and the associated penalties.
Utah Code 41-6a-502.5(1) provides the following: “With the agreement of the prosecutor, a plea to a class B misdemeanor [DUI] violation… may be entered as a conviction of impaired driving,” depending on factors like whether the defendant successfully completes probation and follows court rules. Note, however, that some DUI charges are felonies or Class A misdemeanors in Utah.
What Are the Penalties for Impaired Driving in Utah?
Reducing a conviction from DUI to impaired driving can mitigate the penalties you face in court, including the length of time your license is suspended. It may be possible to avoid having your license suspended altogether. Other potential consequences of an impaired driving conviction in Utah include:
- Fines of up to $1,460
- Mandatory probation
- Mandatory evaluation and treatment, where deemed necessary, for alcohol and/or substance abuse
How Are Penalties for DUI Different?
The penalties for DUI are more severe than the penalties for impaired driving, which is why the latter outcome may be desirable depending on the case. Utah DUI penalties may include fines, jail time, license suspension, and additional consequences, depending on factors like the nature of the charge (e.g. felony or misdemeanor), the defendant’s BAC (e.g. above 0.05 or above 0.16), and the defendant’s criminal history, if any (e.g. first offense or second offense). For example, the penalties for a first- or second-offense misdemeanor DUI without a high BAC may include:
- First Offense DUI Penalties
- 120-day license suspension
- At least 48 hours of jail time
- Fines of approximately $1,400 and up
- Possible probation
- Second Offense DUI Penalties
- 2-year license suspension
- At least 10 days of jail time
- Fines of approximately $1,600 and up
- Mandatory probation
Salt Lake City Impaired Driving Defense Attorneys
If you or one of your family members has been arrested for drunk driving in Salt Lake City, it is in your best interests to contact a DUI defense lawyer immediately, like the attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC. At Overson Law, we have more than 16 years of experience fighting DUI and related charges in counties throughout Utah. Representing both adults and juveniles, we handle all types of criminal charges related to intoxicated driving, including impaired driving, DUI, DUI under the legal drinking age of 21, repeat DUI offenses, and drug DUI/drugged driving charges.
If you have questions about getting a DUI reduced to impaired driving in Utah, contact Overson Law online, or call our law offices at (801) 758-2287 for a free, completely confidential consultation. We are here to assist you 24/7 with all aspects of your DUI or impaired driving case, including jail visits and license suspension hearings.