What is Utah’s Implied Consent Law?

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

Utah’s implied consent law applies to everyone that operates a vehicle on Utah’s roadways. While drivers accused of driving under the influence are not obligated to consent to chemical testing, a refusal to testing can have various consequences. The State of Utah has an interest in keeping impaired drivers off the roadways. Therefore, the penalties for potentially hindering a DUI investigation by refusing chemical testing may be just as severe as the penalties for being caught driving under the influence. If you or a family member was arrested for violating Utah’s implied consent law, you should contact an experienced Salt Lake City DUI lawyer today. Darwin Overson can help you pursue all available options if you a receive a DUI or are penalized for refusing chemical testing.

Utah’s Implied Consent Law

A motorist traveling in Utah automatically consents to chemical tests to determine their sobriety under Utah’s implied consent law. This law allows law enforcement to test a driver’s breath, blood, urine, or oral fluids for evidence of alcohol or drug intoxication.

In Utah, a breath test can be administered whenever police make an arrest for DUI, and a blood test can be administered with a search warrant for the blood draw. A DUI crime should only justify an arrest or blood test if the driver had physical control of the vehicle when police investigated the incident. “Physical control” can be interpreted in a number of ways:

  • Being inside the vehicle and having access to start and operate the vehicle
  • Being capable of operating the vehicle but not possessing the intention to drive the vehicle
  • Sleeping in a parked car with the ability to operate the car

Additionally, the chemical test you must take, and the number of chemical tests administered are left to the discretion of a police officer. You will be given the results of the test after they are examined. At the time of the blood draw or breath test, you may request an additional test by a physician of your choice. However, whether or not you arrange an additional test will not impact the admissibility of the test administered by law enforcement.

To learn more about Utah’s implied consent law, you should speak with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer.

What Happens If I Refuse a Breath or Blood Test?

Refusing a chemical test can lead to various penalties in Utah. If you are arrested for driving under the influence, you should be warned by law enforcement that refusing a chemical test can affect your driving privileges. Unfortunately, you are not entitled to consult a lawyer, physician, or anyone else to decide whether you should submit to a chemical test.

If you refuse to submit to chemical testing, the arresting officer will take your driver’s license and replace it with a temporary license. The temporary license will only be valid for 29 days after the arrest. When the officer revokes your license, he should give you information that will help you schedule a hearing with Utah’s Driver License Division (DLD).

At the DLD hearing, you must prove that the arresting officer did not possess probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence. Alternatively, you can also prevail by showing that you submitted to chemical testing and your license was taken in error. You cannot use a defense that the arresting officer did not give you a specific chemical test or the chemical test you requested; the law gives the officer the choice, not the driver.

The penalties for refusing a chemical test will vary depending on your prior driving history. For example, if you do not prevail at the DLD hearing, your license will be suspended for 18 months for a first refusal. If you previously refused a chemical test within 10 years or you were convicted of DUI within 10 years, your license will be suspended for three years.

In some cases, you may receive a five-year or ten-year license suspension if you have a poor driving record. You may also be required to drive with an ignition interlock device for a second or third refusal of a chemical test.

An ignition interlock device tests the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) before they can start their vehicle. If the driver’s BAC is too high, the vehicle will not start. Any attempts to deceive the device by letting another person start the car could result in penalties for you and the person who assisted you.

Work with Our Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

If you or a family member was arrested for driving under the influence, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. With over 16 years of criminal law experience, Darwin Overson can help you fight your DUI case. A DUI conviction can have long-term, negative effects on various aspects of your life, but Darwin is here to stand with you. To schedule a free legal consultation, call us at (801) 895-3143, or contact us online.

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