Salt Lake City Traffic Ticket Lawyer

Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer

Many people shrug off traffic tickets without realizing the serious consequences that can result. Traffic violations range in severity from minor infractions to criminal offenses, and in some cases, the penalties involve costly fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and even incarceration in jail or prison. If you or a family member was pulled over, arrested, or received a speeding ticket or other traffic citation in Utah, you need an experienced Salt Lake defense attorney who can protect your rights while fighting to lessen the consequences you face.

If you or a loved one has received a traffic ticket, missed a traffic court date, had their license revoked or suspended, been charged with DUI, or needs legal help with any other matter involving a crime or infraction, our Salt Lake City defense law firm is ready to provide assistance. To talk about your traffic citation or alleged crime in a free and confidential legal consultation, contact Salt Lake City traffic violation attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 today.

Do You Need a Lawyer for Traffic Violations in Salt Lake City?

Utah traffic violations are often combined with additional charges, which can be even more serious. The nature of the violation should be explained on your ticket or traffic citation, which should also supply a time and date you are expected to appear in traffic court.

If you intend to dispute the ticket rather than pay the fine, you will be required to enter a “not guilty” plea, at which point a trial will be scheduled if you cannot come to an agreement with the prosecutor. With a knowledgeable Utah traffic lawyer representing you at trial, you will have a better likelihood of successfully disputing the citation. Therefore, it is in your best interests to hire a traffic ticket lawyer in Salt Lake City if you have received a citation.

If the violation is very serious, such as hit and run or DUI, representation by a defense attorney is especially crucial. Serious traffic violations such as these are treated as criminal offenses, which means you can be imprisoned for months or even years, depending on the details of the case, if you are convicted.

Common Traffic Offenses in Utah

Generally, people face traffic tickets for violating general rules every day. However, there are several traffic violations that happen with more frequency than others. The following represents some of the most common traffic offenses in Salt Lake City, Utah:

Running a red light

Red-light running is one of the most dangerous practices thousands of drivers engage in every year. According to the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2018, 846 people lost their lives in red light running accidents in the U.S. Due to the inherent dangers of running a red light, Utah has enacted stiff penalties for engaging in this dangerous conduct. You may get several points deducted from your license if you are caught, or it may be suspended altogether if you have accumulated enough deduction points.

Additionally, you can also face fines or infractions. No matter how innocent your charges may seem, it is essential to hire a skilled multiple traffic violations lawyer. Your penalties may increase if you are a repeat offender. Our Salt Lake City multiple traffic violations lawyer can help you with these matters.

Running a stop sign

Running a stop sign is often charged as an infraction, which can lead to a relatively small fine. However, running a stop sign can lead to an accident, which may lead to criminal charges if there are any deaths involved. If you have been charged with an offense such as vehicular manslaughter, you need to hire an experienced Salt Lake City multiple traffic violations lawyers. We can help defend you against your alleged offenses and build a strategic defense for your case.

Parking violations

Every day, hundreds of people – if not thousands – face tickets for alleged parking violations in Salt Lake City. The most important thing to remember is that you must pay whatever fine is on your ticket on time to prevent any additional penalties. Additionally, you can also challenge your ticket. However, it would be best if you had the assistance of our Utah multiple traffic violations attorneys who can help you through this issue.


Speeding is common in Utah. Police officers are always vigilant and will stop anyone suspected of driving over the law-established speeds. As with other traffic violations, the penalties may result in tickets that should be paid as soon as possible. Engaging in multiple speeding infractions can lead to the suspension of your driver’s license. However, if you are caught speeding in a school zone, your charges may be increased to a misdemeanor. It is essential to understand that there are ways you can fight the charges against you. Our Salt Lake City multiple traffic violations lawyer can help you with these and other legal matters.

While this is not an exhaustive list of common traffic offenses, it illustrates the types of infractions drivers are accused of daily. While, in many instances, you can get fines for these infractions, you can also face more severe consequences depending on your particular circumstances. It is critical to have skilled, experienced, and dedicated criminal defense representation at all times, no matter the extent of your infraction and potential penalties.

Sentencing and Penalty Guidelines for Serious Traffic Citations and DUI

The consequences of a traffic ticket can range considerably. At the lower end of the spectrum, the driver might be facing consequences such as fines, temporary license suspension, and/or points added to their driving record. If the violation is of a serious nature, such as driving while intoxicated, or causing another person’s death or injury, the offense may be classified as a misdemeanor or even felony and prosecuted accordingly.

To provide just one example, under Utah Code § 76-5-207.5 a driver can be criminally charged if he or she hits and kills somebody while distracted by a cell phone. This crime, which is a form of homicide, can be prosecuted as a third-degree felony or even second-degree felony, placing it just one level below the criminal class that contains rape and murder. DUI, a very common charge, is generally prosecuted as a Class B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor, or third-degree felony, depending on factors like whether it is the driver’s first DUI offense or a repeat offense.

Depending on whether a traffic matter is classified as a crime (felony or misdemeanor) or an infraction, the resulting penalties may include the following:

  • Utah Traffic Infractions – Fine of up to $750, no jail time
  • Utah Traffic Crimes 
    • Class C Misdemeanor – Fine of up to $750, up to 90 days in jail
    • Class B Misdemeanor – Fine of up to $1,000, up to 6 months in jail
    • Class A Misdemeanor – Fine of up to $2,500, up to 1 year in jail
    • Third Degree Felony – Fine of up to $5,000, up to 5 years in prison
    • Second Degree Felony – Fine of up to $10,000, up to 15 years in prison

Drivers should keep in mind that this list does not represent all possible consequences of a traffic violation. For example, a driver convicted of DUI in Utah might be required to have an ignition interlock device, which works similar to a breathalyzer, set up in his or her car.

Utah’s Driver License Division Point System

The Utah Driver License Division (DLD) sets forth a point system through which they can keep tabs on your driving record. Depending on the type of infraction and the severity of it, the DLD will add points to your driver’s license. In more severe cases an individual can have their license suspended without accumulating points. According to Utah’s Driver License Division, some of the most common traffic violations receive the following demerit or infraction points as follows:

  • Following another car too closely: 60 infraction points
  • Failing to yield right-of-way: 60 infraction points
  • Running a stop sign: 50 infraction points
  • Running a red light: 50 infraction points
  • Reckless driving: 80 infraction points
  • Speeding over the limit by 1mph to 21mph: 35 to 75 infraction points, depending on the circumstances
  • Texting while driving: 60 infraction points

If a person reaches 200 points in a 3-year period, he or she will have their driver’s license suspended for 3 months to 1 year. People under the age of 21 will have their license suspended for 1 month to 1 year if they accumulate 70 points in a 3-year period.

The DLD grants the opportunity to clear your records, provided you follow good driving behavior for a set period. Additionally, if you participate in the state’s driver improvement course and complete it successfully, the DLD will remove 50 points off your driver’s license.

Additional Consequences

As we mentioned, you can face the consequences beyond a mere infraction and a small fine for your traffic violations. It is essential to understand how Utah divides crimes. Typically, the state split crimes into misdemeanors and felonies. Both misdemeanors and felonies are subdivided into different categories. For instance, misdemeanors are divided into classes A, B, and C, while felonies are divided into first, second, and third-degree.

Typically, misdemeanors carry the lesser types of criminal consequences out of all criminal offenses in Utah. For example, Class C misdemeanors are the more inferior type of offense within the misdemeanor category. If you are convicted, you can face up to 90 days in jail and $750 in fines. Conversely, if you are convicted for a Class A misdemeanor, you can face up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines.

Felonies, on the other hand, represent the most severe types of criminal offenses you can be charged with. A criminal conviction for a felony carries the most devastating penalties. A third-degree felony conviction can lead to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. However, your penalties can increase exponentially if you are convicted for a first-degree felony. A criminal conviction for a first-degree felony can lead to life in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Other than losing your license – which is bad enough – you could also face further consequences. While typically there is no jail time for a traffic ticket, depending on specific circumstances, a person could still face incarceration. For instance, if a person was speeding and, as a consequence, crashes into another vehicle, they could face charges for reckless driving. Reckless driving is classified as a Class B misdemeanor in Utah. If found guilty, you could face jail time, and infraction points would be added to your driver’s license.

Fighting your Traffic Tickets in Court

There are times where a person may want to challenge or contest their traffic tickets in court. Once the hearing date has been established with the court, the person has the opportunity to prepare for the case. Failing to appear at your scheduled hearing can cause several consequences including bench warrants for your arrest.

Contesting your tickets in court require collecting relevant and essential evidence. Eyewitness testimony from passengers in your vehicle or someone else who witnessed the incident is good evidence to help your case. Traffic camera footage can also be excellent proof of what really happened. You would also need to be prepared for questioning during the hearing. Going through this process on your own could be risky; if you fail to manage your case correctly, you could lose the case. An experienced traffic ticket lawyer could help you prepare for your court hearing.

If after presenting your evidence you are found guilty, you would have to pay the total fines for your tickets. However, proving your case will save you from spending money on your tickets and, more importantly, no infraction points will be added to your driver’s license. You should also consider the possibility of negotiating your case with the prosecution for a better outcome, should you need it. If you have multiple traffic tickets, you could negotiate with the prosecutor and plead guilty for one or more infractions in exchange for dropping other charges.

Our Salt Lake City Traffic Ticket and Violation Attorneys Can Help

Traffic violations can produce real and devastating consequences. If you recently received a ticket from the Utah Highway Patrol, the county sheriff’s office, or the police, it is in your best interests to contact a Salt Lake City speeding ticket lawyer as soon as possible.

With more than 16 years of experience handling thousands of criminal cases and traffic matters, traffic crimes attorney Darwin Overson represents clients statewide, including Bountiful, Draper, Layton, Lehi, Logan, Millcreek, Murray, Orem, Provo, Sandy, South Jordan, Taylorsville, West Jordan, West Valley City, and more. For a free legal consultation with Darwin about your speeding ticket or a related matter, call the law offices of Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 today.