Utah DUI Attorney
Despite the fact that major efforts have been made at both a national and state level to try to reduce the amount of drunk driving that occurs, DUI unfortunately remains one of the most commonly charged crimes in the state of Utah. It is also a crime that is taken very seriously by local and state authorities including law enforcement and prosecutors. As such, being arrested for DUI can lead to some very serious consequences, including having your license suspended and spending time behind bars. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your rights in the immediate aftermath of your arrest, the most important of which is retaining skilled legal counsel as soon as possible.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our skilled Utah DUI attorneys have years of experience successfully defending clients throughout the state charged with driving under the influence. We will leave no stone unturned working to make sure that your rights are respected, ensuring your side of the story is told, and working to get the charges downgraded or dismissed. Our one and only goal is to protect your future. For a free consultation, call our firm today at (801) 758-2287.
What Constitutes a DUI in Utah?
DUI is short for “driving under the influence.” Under Utah laws, it is illegal for anyone to operate a vehicle after drinking alcohol if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 or greater. If you are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive with any amount of alcohol in your system. Furthermore, DUI can also be charged if you are driving under the influence of illegal, unprescribed drugs. In a case where it is drugged rather than drunk driving that is at issue, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with any amount of drugs, even metabolites, in your system. In some cases where you refuse to take the required Breathalyzer, blood, or urine tests or for some other reason the tests can not be performed, you can still be charged with DUI based on the observations of the arresting officer and other witnesses and any other evidence indicating that you were driving under the influence, such as video footage of you driving erratically.
How a DUI Arrest Typically Works in Utah
Usually, a police officer will initiate a DUI stop after seeing someone driving erratically or committing some sort of traffic violation. Sometimes, a DUI charge will result from an investigation surrounding an accident where it becomes clear that one or more of the drivers was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other times, there may be a DUI checkpoint set up where all cars are stopped and drivers asked questions regarding their drinking or any other form of intoxication. This usually occurs after a big event like a concert or on a holiday where a lot of people go out to drink.
Typically, the officer will make observations about whether the driver or the car smells of alcohol or drugs, whether the driver is slurring their words, and any other signs that the person may have been drinking or consuming illegal drugs. If the officer believes that the driver may be under the influence, they may ask them to exit the vehicle and undergo a series of roadside sobriety tests, such as standing on one foot or reciting the alphabet backwards. You are not required to take these tests, but failure to take them may make the officer more suspicious and more likely to place you under arrest and take you back to the station for a Breathalyzer test.
If the officer believes they have probable cause to arrest you for DUI, they will transport you to the local police station for the booking process. You will have to comply with any Breathalyzer, blood, or urine tests that the officers request you to take. Refusing such a tests is a separate crime in and of itself, with separate penalties including potential jail time. Furthermore, as noted above, you can still be charged with a DUI even if you refuse the test based on the officer’s observations and other evidence, and, aside from constituting a separate crime, your refusal can also be used against you in court in your DUI case.
How a Skilled Utah DUI Attorney Can Help with Your Case
After your arrest for DUI, you or a loved one should reach out to an experienced Utah DUI attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon as possible. This is especially important because your initial appearance and bail hearing will occur quickly, usually no more than 72 hours after booking. Unless it is a weekend or holiday, the hearing will occur much sooner, sometimes in only a matter of hours. The sooner you reach out to us, the more time we will have to familiarize ourselves with your matter and be prepared to stand by your side at these important early proceedings.
At your bail hearing, the judge will make a decision about whether you can be released and, if so, how much bail to set, based on the state guidelines as well as your attorneys arguments about why you deserve to be released on little to no bail. At your initial appearance, the judge will read the charges against you and, if you are charged with misdemeanor DUI, you will be arraigned and asked to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. In felony DUI cases, the arraignment will occur later, but in either case, our skilled DUI lawyers are likely to advise you to plead not guilty while we assess the strength of the case against you and try to work out a plea deal with the prosecutor. For first offenders, this could include a pre-trial diversion program where your charges are dropped if you complete the program successfully. Of course, if you do not wish to take a deal, our skilled trial attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC are always ready and able to take your case to trial.
If Your Have Been Charged with DUI in Utah, Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
DUI charges can lead to serious penalties, including high fines, long jail sentences, and the loss of your driving privileges. In addition, DUI charges and the potential penalties you can face get more serious if you have been previously convicted of another DUI. As such, it is vital that you deal with any DUI charges right away by retaining battle-tested Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon after your arrest as possible. For a free consultation call us today at (801) 758-2287.