If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol in Utah, you may face severe criminal penalties. Being convicted for a DUI (driving under the influence), can lead to life-altering consequences for you and your loved ones. One of the ways police officers make arrests for DUI is by performing a breathalyzer test. You may wonder whether you can refuse a test, even if you are convinced that you are not under the effect of alcoholic beverages.
As you will learn through this article, you should never refuse a breathalyzer test. However, you should contact a Salt Lake City DUI lawyer who can help you understand what to expect from your case. Call Overson Law PLLC, today if you or a loved one was charged with refusing a breathalyzer in Utah. Our phone number is (801) 758-2287.
Refusing a Breathalyzer Test During a DUI in Utah
When you are pulled over by cops, they may ask you whether you had something to drink. If they detect alcohol in your breath, they may also ask you to perform a sobriety examination. There are different ways a police officer can conduct a sobriety test, including implementing the use of a breathalyzer.
The breathalyzer test can help an officer to determine whether there is alcohol concentration in your breath (BAC). Typically, you will be asked to blow on a breathalyzer device, which will read your BAC. If your BAC is equal to or greater than the law-established limits, you can get arrested and charged with DUI. Utah has some of the strictest DUI laws in the U.S. If you are convicted of a DUI offense in Utah, you can face severe penalties and criminal fines.
You may wonder whether you are allowed to refuse a breathalyzer test. You may say you don’t want to submit to a breathalyzer test. However, refusing this test can lead to severe consequences. In Utah, when you get your driver’s license, you implicitly consent to a breathalyzer – or blood – test. According to Utah Code § 41-6a-520, you agree to a chemical test to determine if you were driving under the influence.
Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer During a DUI in Utah
When you refuse to get a breathalyzer test, you will lose your driving privileges. The police officer will suspend your license immediately after your refusal. The amount of time your license can be suspended will depend on different factors, such as previous DUI convictions. The suspension of your license means you will not be able to operate another vehicle within Utah limits legally. Driving without a valid license can put you at risk of facing additional consequences.
You can appeal your license’s suspension with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You must request a hearing where you will have the chance to convince the DMV they should not suspend your driver’s license. However, persuading the DMV to overturn their decision may be difficult on your own. It is always in your best interest to hire a Utah criminal defense lawyer who can help you during this process.
In addition to the suspension of your driver’s license, the court may order installing an ignition interlock device in your car. The ignition interlock system consists of a device with a tube where the driver has to blow before they can turn their car on. If the device detects alcohol in your breath, your car’s engine will not start, and a report will be sent to the authorities. Failing an interlock test in Utah can lead to additional consequences, including an extension of your license suspension and other criminal charges, depending on your specific situation.
For instance, a breathalyzer refusal in Utah is generally considered a misdemeanor. While misdemeanor charges and convictions may not be as severe as a felony, they can still carry potentially-devastating consequences. A breathalyzer refusal in Utah is a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
However, your misdemeanor charges can be elevated to a felony, depending on aggravating factors. For example, if you have to prior DUIs or refusals within the last ten years prior to your arrest, your charges can be elevated to a third-degree felony in Utah. If convicted of a third-degree felony in Utah, you can face up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Potential Defenses for Breathalyzer Refusal Charges in Utah
You should never attempt to refuse a breathalyzer test if required by the police. However, this doesn’t mean you will be automatically guilty of your charges. Before you can be convicted, the prosecution must prove you actually committed the crime of which you are accused.
Fortunately, there are defense strategies available in breathalyzer cases. As a defendant, you can challenge the evidence against you in order to fight the charges against you. This is not easy to do, especially if you have never been part of a criminal case before. Depending on your situation, you may challenge the way your breathalyzer test was made. For example, all officers who perform a sobriety test using a breathalyzer must be adequately trained and qualified. Additionally, the breathalyzer device requires a specific calibration in order to produce accurate readings
If the officer who performed the test is not qualified to do it or their machine is not calibrated correctly, the results against you may be inaccurate – and inadmissible as evidence. Additionally, you may suffer from a medical condition that can yield a false positive to alcohol. With your Utah criminal defense attorney’s assistance, you have a chance to fight off your charges.
Utah DUI Defense Attorney Offering Free Consultations in Salt Lake City
Facing criminal charges in Utah can be challenging, and one of the scariest experiences you can go through. However, you don’t have to go through this moment alone. If you or a loved was charged with DUI or refusing a breathalyzer test in Utah, we can help. At the law offices of Overson Law, PLLC, our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys can provide you with the quality criminal defense you deserve. To learn more about our services in a free, confidential consultation, call our offices today at (801) 758-2287.