Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious and dangerous offense. The offense is unique because penalties may involve both criminal and civil components. Not only do you risk expensive fines and possible jail time, but you may also lose your driver’s license. There are also different levels of DUI charges, depending on your blood alcohol concentration and other factors.
DUIs can be complicated matters to deal with. Not only are you confronted with a criminal trial and penalties, but you might lose your license. Restoring your license is a separate, civil proceeding, and many drivers find themselves so overwhelmed by the whole process that they choose not to fight their license suspension. An attorney can help you handle both aspects of your case.
If you were recently charged with a DUI, you are probably facing a whole host of consequences. Our St. George, Utah DUI defense lawyers can help you fight the charges against you and hopefully restore your driver’s license. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free, private legal consultation.
How Do Drivers Get Charged with a DUI in St. George, UT?
When talking about DUIs, most people refer to the state’s legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. While most states have limits around .08%, Utah imposes a stricter limit of only .05%. This lower limit means it takes less alcohol for a driver to become intoxicated enough to be issued a DUI. A DUI issued because a driver meets or exceeds the legal limit is a per se DUI.
DUIs can also be charged when a driver does not necessarily have a BAC of at least .05%. Instead, officers may decide that the driver is too intoxicated to drive safely. Even if the driver’s BAC is less than .05%, they can still be charged with a DUI.
Alcohol is not the only thing that can lead to charges for intoxicated driving. Driving under the influence of drugs may also lead to DUI charges. These types of DUIs work a bit differently as there is often no way to measure the amount of drugs in a person’s system. Instead, the police use their best judgment to decide if someone seems too intoxicated or high to drive safely.
The nature of your DUI charges will vary based on your history of DUIs. Generally, drivers with previous DUI convictions will face harsher charges. For example, according to Utah Code § 41-6a-503, first-time offenders may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, but drivers with at least two prior DUI convictions within the past 10 years may face third-degree felony charges. For help with your case, call our St. George, Utah DUI defense lawyers.
Penalties for DUIs in St. George
As mentioned above, there are numerous ways in which a driver could be charged with a DUI. The precise nature of your charges will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. Standard charging procedures are outlined under Utah Code § 41-6a-503.
A driver charged with their first or second DUI may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines. However, your charges could be upgraded to Class A misdemeanors if you caused bodily harm or injury, had a passenger under 16, had a passenger under 18 if you were at least 21, drove on the wrong side of the highway, or drove on a limited-access highway. A Class A misdemeanor may lead to a jail sentence of up to 364 days and fines of up to $2,500. Drivers typically lose their license for 120 days for a first-time offense.
Your charges could also be third-degree felonies if you inflicted more serious bodily harm during your DUI incident or have had two prior DUIs within the past 10 years. Your charges will be similarly upgraded if you have a previous conviction for automobile homicide or a felony DUI. A third-degree felony may be penalized by a prison sentence of up to 5 years and fines of up to $5,000. A second or subsequent DUI may lead to a license suspension of 2 years.
DUI penalties often come with requirements of drug and alcohol treatment and education courses. For help with your case, call our St. George, Utah DUI defense attorneys.
Underage DUI Charges in St. George, Utah
Underage drivers may face different penalties than drivers of the legal drinking age. Many people obtain their driver’s licenses as teenagers. As such, many drivers on the road are under the legal drinking age of 21. If these young drivers are stopped for DUIs, they face unique penalties regarding their licenses.
If a driver is at least 19 but still younger than 21, they will have their license suspended until they are 21 or for 1 year, whichever is longer. If the driver does not yet have a license, their application for a license will be denied until they are 21. If the driver is younger than 19, their license will be suspended until they are 21. Because the driver, in this case, is younger, their suspension will be for a longer period of time.
Underage drivers may also face additional criminal charges because it is illegal for them to consume alcohol. Underage drinking charges may be imposed, and the driver could face additional penalties. If you are underage and were recently charged with a DUI, talk to our St. George, Utah DUI defense lawyers about your case.
Chemical Testing in DUI Cases in St. George
Chemical testing may be performed after an arrest and is mandatory in Utah. Under the implied consent law, drivers agree to submit to chemical testing when they operate a vehicle on the roads and highways of our state. The results of a chemical test may be used against you in a subsequent DUI proceeding.
While chemical testing is required, the authorities will not physically force a person to submit. However, refusal to submit may result in additional charges. For a first-time offense of refusal, a driver may lose their license for 18 months. If the driver has a prior conviction, the suspension time increases to 36 months. Talk to our St. George, Utah DUI defense lawyers about your case today.
Call Our St. George DUI Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with a DUI, speak to our St. George, Utah DUI defense attorneys about your situation. We can help you challenge the charges against you and keep your driver’s license. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free legal consultation.