If the police catch you driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI), you may face significant consequences with long-lasting effects. A DUI can not only be very expensive, but it can also interfere with your ability to do everyday tasks like getting to work, taking your kids to school, or going to the grocery store. DUI charges can even interfere with your ability to obtain certain kinds of jobs.
Being charged with a DUI is frustrating and embarrassing. However, you do not have to go through it alone. Our Utah DUI attorneys will be by your side throughout your case to help you minimize the damage of your DUI charges. If you need help, get in touch with Overson Law, PLLC by calling (801) 758-2287. You can schedule a legal consultation regarding your charges today.
What Constitutes a DUI in Utah?
Charges for a DUI will rely heavily on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time the police stopped you. A BAC of at least .08 is the legal limit to be charged with a DUI in most states. Utah is a bit stricter about DUIs and imposes a legal limit of .05. In Utah, anyone stopped by the police with a BAC of .05 or greater may be charged with a DUI.
DUIs may also be charged when a driver is under the influence of drugs rather than alcohol. Instead of using a BAC measurement, you can be charged with a DUI if the drugs in your system render you incapable of driving a car safely.
Your BAC is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to DUI charges. Charges may be upgraded and become more serious if certain aggravating factors are present. If you have multiple DUIs on your record, injure someone in a DUI-related accident, or drive while excessively intoxicated, you may face harsher penalties. Speak to our Utah DUI attorneys for assistance.
How a DUI Arrest Typically Works in Utah
DUI arrests happen in very much the same way as ordinary traffic stops. The police may stop you for a DUI based on your suspicious driving habits. Any erratic driving like weaving in and out of lanes or speeding up and slowing down may be grounds to stop someone for suspicion of a DUI. The stop does not need to be connected to any other traffic violation to be valid. However, the police usually need some sort of articulable reasonable suspicion to make the stop in the first place.
Once you have been stopped, the police may ask you some questions to determine if you are intoxicated. They are usually looking for the tell-tale symptoms of someone who has had too much to drink. Slurred speech, slow reflexes, and impaired motor skills could lead to an arrest. The police can also ask you to perform field sobriety tests. These tests include small physical tasks that usually require finer motor skills and are easy for a sober person to complete. However, an intoxicated person will have visible difficulty completing the field tests. All of this may provide the police with enough probable cause to arrest you for a DUI.
DUI Penalties in Utah
The penalties for a DUI will depend on several different factors. Your history of DUIs, any injuries involved in your DUI, and other factors will all be considered when determining charges. Contact our Utah DUI attorney for help with your DUI charges.
Generally, someone with a first or second DUI will be charged with a class B misdemeanor. This can be upgraded to a class A misdemeanor if the driver caused someone else bodily harm or injury, had a passenger younger than 16, was 21 or older with a passenger under 18 in the car, or was driving on the wrong side of the highway.
The charges could be upgraded again to a third-degree felony if the injuries you caused to another person were more serious. An upgrade could also be in order if you have at least two DUIs on your record within ten years of your current charges. Finally, you could face third-degree felony DUI charges if you have been previously convicted of automobile homicide or a felony DUI. You should also remember that each individual injured due to your DUI will constitute a separate charge. So, if you seriously injure two people, you may face two separate felony charges.
There could be additional penalties if you refused to submit to chemical testing after being arrested. The Utah police may subject drivers arrested for DUIs to chemical testing to get an accurate BAC measurement. According to the law of implied consent, drivers automatically consent to this kind of testing by virtue of driving on Utah’s roads and highways. The police ultimately will not force you to submit to testing, but there will be legal consequences, including fines and driver’s license suspensions.
How a Skilled Utah DUI Attorney Can Help with Your Case
Our Utah DUI lawyers can help you challenge the evidence against you and prevent your charges from being unnecessarily upgraded. In any DUI case, there may be many factors at play that can be difficult to understand and keep track of. An attorney can help you effectively fight your charges and hopefully avoid harsher penalties.
First, a lawyer can challenge the evidence against you in several ways. The police must follow specific procedures and protocols when conducting a DUI stop. If any of these procedures were not followed or followed incorrectly, the stop might be considered invalid. Similarly, any equipment such as breathalyzer testing devices must be kept in proper working order. If you believe your BAC results are incorrect, we can challenge the status of the breathalyzer device.
Your charges may be upgraded depending on your history of DUIs and whether anyone was injured. However, previous charges must usually occur within a certain amount of time of your current charges to count towards an upgrade. Your attorney can make sure that DUI charges from too far in the past are not counted. Also, your attorney can help you investigate if any injuries from your DUI were truly your fault. It is possible that an independent source caused the injuries rather than your driving.
If you need help fighting your DUI charges, reach out to our Utah DUI lawyers as soon as you can.
If You Have Been Charged with DUI in Utah, Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
Our Utah DUI attorneys can help you fight your DUI charges, whether this is your first or subsequent offense. All drivers, no matter what, deserve the best defense possible when facing criminal charges. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 today to set up a free consultation regarding your DUI case.