If you have been arrested for an alleged DUI, the clock is already running on your rights. It is essential that you consult with an experienced DUI attorney immediately following your arrest because license suspension is mandatory in Utah. If you are under the legal drinking age of 21 or have been previously convicted of a DUI, the suspension and other penalties could be harsher.
Our experienced Sandy, UT DUI defense lawyers can delay and possibly stop the automatic suspension of your license. Just as importantly, we also handle the criminal portion of the DUI proceedings strategically and professionally. We know that DUI charges may cause a significant amount of anxiety and uncertainty. That is why we always explain the process and what you can expect clearly and directly. Call Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 to arrange a free consultation about your charges.
Being Charged with a DUI in Sandy, UT
A driver must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that meets the legally imposed limit to be charged with a DUI. While all other states impose limits of .08, Utah is stricter. You could potentially face a DUI with a BAC as low as .05. In Utah, it requires fewer drinks to be charged with a DUI.
The police may stop you if they observe reckless or unsafe driving and suspect that the driver may be intoxicated. You do not necessarily have to be violating the traffic laws to be pulled over. Driving that is not necessarily illegal, but appears unsafe, could cause a police officer to suspect you had too much drink. For example, slowing down and speeding up or difficulty staying in one lane could get you pulled over.
The police may also stop you as part of a pre-planned DUI checkpoint. Checkpoints are areas along the highway where the police will stop cars regardless of a suspicion that the driver is drunk. However, the police must use a set system so that drivers are not stopped for unlawful, subjective reasons. For example, sometimes at checkpoints the police will stop every third car no matter who is driving. If they only stopped drivers who were black or drivers who were men, that would be unlawful.
Being charged with a DUI requires the police to follow a lot of rules and procedures. If you think your stop was unlawful, or the police somehow violated your rights when they arrested you for a DUI, contact our Sandy DUI defense attorneys right away.
What is the Legal Process for a DUI Charge in Sandy?
No matter how serious or minor your charges may be, the legal process in any case can be overwhelmingly complicated and intimidating. In Utah, a DUI proceeding requires appearances in both the Utah courts and in the Driver License Division of the Utah department of Public Safety. Generally speaking, one of the first steps in the process of a criminal charge is the arraignment. At the arraignment you will be formally informed of the charges against you. Following the reading of the charges, the judge asks you how you plead to these charges. You may plead guilty to the offense or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, the criminal matter will be marked for a pretrial conference. If you plead guilty or are convicted of the offense you could face:
- Time in jail
- Monetary fines
- Drug or alcohol education or treatment
- Restrictions on your ability to drive
Strategic handling of the arraignment, pretrial conference, and entire legal process can significantly improve your chances of a favorable outcome. Call our Sandy DUI defense lawyers to help you with your charges and pretrial arrangements.
Driver’s License Suspensions After a DUI in Sandy
In Utah, DUIs can get your driver’s license suspended. The amount of time for which you will lose your license will be based on the severity of your charges. However, license suspensions tend to kick in almost immediately after being charged unless you request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest. Your attorney can file the request for a hearing with the Driver License Division of the Utah Department of Public Safety. If you or your attorney fails to request this hearing in a timely manner, you are nearly guaranteed to face a suspension of at least 120 days even for first offenses.
The driver’s license suspension hearing is a separate civil hearing and is not tied to your criminal DUI trial. This means the outcome of your license suspension hearing will have no effect on the outcome of your DUI trial. It is possible that you could have your license reinstated by the Driver License Division and still be found guilty of your DUI. Our Sandy DUI defense attorneys can help you not only fight your charges but also help you get your driver’s license back.
How Can a Sandy DUI Lawyer Help with Your Case?
If, following our initial consultation, it appears that your case is a good match for our services we will immediately start gathering evidence so that we can cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. While every case is different the evidence we obtain can include:
- The police report
- Toxicology reports
- Witness statements
- Dash cam videos of the stop and arrest
- Any other evidence that illuminates the events surrounding your arrest
We utilize our experience and knowledge regarding DUI in Utah to determine whether each piece of evidence can be used for impeachment purposes, or if they constitute their own affirmative defense to the charges.
Not only can we gather evidence to strengthen our own case, but we can check the evidence of the prosecution and make sure they are not infringing on your legal rights. Prosecutors may try to introduce evidence that was obtained illegally by the police. For example, if you were arrested at a DUI checkpoint but you believed the police stopped you because of your race, we may be able to suppress any evidence that was obtained during your stop. Speak to our Sandy DUI defense attorneys for more information about how we can help your case.
DUI Penalties in Sandy
Even for first time DUI offenders, the penalties can be extremely severe. First time offenders in Utah are required to install and utilize an ignition interlock device (IID), at their own expense, for eighteen months. Likewise, first time DUI offenders are still subject to an aggravated DUI charge if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .160 or greater. With a 10-year look-back period, those convicted of a second DUI can face:
- Up to 10 days in jail
- 2-year license suspension
- Fines up to $1,850
- Alcohol and/or substance abuse evaluation
If you commit a third offense within the 10-year look-back period, that third offense can be considered a felony under Utah law. As a felony the conviction remains on your criminal record and can impact your future employment opportunities as many large corporate employers now utilize pre-employment background and criminal history checks.
Chemical Testing for DUIs in Sandy
Chemical testing for DUIs is often a contentious issue in any DUI proceeding. The results of chemical testing may be the strongest piece of evidence the prosecution has because it is a scientific measurement of your BAC at the time of your DUI, or shortly thereafter. Chemical testing may also be a source of controversy because it is required of all drivers after they are arrested for a DUI.
Utah follows what is known as the law of implied consent. Under Utah law, all drivers give consent to chemical testing for DUI-related purposes simply by driving on the state’s roads and highways. By virtue of this law, a driver arrested for a DUI cannot refuse to submit to chemical testing. However, the police may not actually force a driver to undergo testing. Instead, there are legal penalties for refusal to submit to chemical testing. These penalties will be in addition to the penalties for the DUI.
If you refused to submit to chemical testing and are now being prosecuted for a DUI, contact our Sandy DUI defense lawyers for assistance.
Plea Bargaining and Diversion Programs for DUIs in Sandy
In any criminal case, including trials for DUIs, a defendant may decide to waive their rights to a trial and plead guilty. This may seem like a strange thing to do, but it can actually be a good option for some defendants. Our Sandy DUI defense lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with prosecutors to reduce or charges or penalties. It may also be possible to place you in a diversion program.
A plea bargain involves pleading guilty, but the prosecutor will reduce your charges or recommend a more lenient sentence. For example, you may be able to accept a plea bargain in which your charges are downgraded to impaired driving charges, a class B misdemeanor. Depending on how serious your DUI charges are, this may be something you want to consider.
Diversion programs may also be a possibility for DUI defendants. These programs often involve a defendant pleading guilty and entering treatment and education programs that focus more on rehabilitation and less on punishment. In many cases, your DUI charges will be dropped upon successful completion of the program. Speak with our Sandy DUI defense attorneys to figure out if you are eligible for a diversion program for your DUI charges.
Contact Our Sandy DUI Defense Lawyers to Discuss Your Situation
Darwin Overson, our Sandy DUI defense attorney of Overson & Bugden, has defended many Utahans from DUI charges. To see if our services are a match for you, call us at (801) 758-2287 or contact us online. Call today to schedule a free and confidential legal consultation.