Utah’s Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines for DUI Offenses

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

Utah’s mandatory sentencing guidelines for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) list specific levels of DUI crimes and attached penalties judges are compelled to impose to DUI violators. This means judges are bound by law to impose certain sentences on offenders to serve a predefined punishment for certain DUI crimes, commonly known as offenses. There are federal and state regulations that impose non-waiver, modifications, or reductions of mandatory sentencing requirements. A DUI prosecution will be penalized in accordance to certain mandatory rules that cannot be waived or modified.

If you or a family member was arrested for DUI, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Utah has the strictest minimum blood alcohol level in the US of .05. Attorneys in the law office of Darwin Overson can help you explore options to handle your reckless driving or DUI case. To schedule your free legal consultation, call us at (801) 515-0883..

DUI Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines

Utah’s DUI Sentencing Matrix divides DUI offenses into two major classifications: (1) Misdemeanor DUI office and (2) the Felony DUI. The classification depends on the number of crimes, the level or seriousness of the offense, and if bodily harm occurred as a result of the DUI.

Utah’s sentencing guidelines also provide certain statutory provisions that carry criminal sanctions if ignored or not completed. For example, if a term of license suspension is violated, this brings an automatic DUI conviction. Similarly, failure to successfully complete a substance abuse program recommendation is a statutory violation that will result in reinstating a harsher sentence that would have been warranted coupled with additional fines and penalties.

Misdemeanor DUI Offenses:

Prison term for misdemeanors includes 2 to five days. Jail time can be combined with prison time.

  1. A First DUI Offense is classified as a misdemeanor type A or B involving bodily injury and penalties’ increase depending on the age of the passenger. The mandatory sentence can be a combination of jail time and doing community service, or participating in alcohol prevention education and training as well as paying fines.
  2. A Second DUI Offense and Offense is classified as a Misdemeanor Type A or B. The initial basis of this classification has a prior DUI within 10 years. Penalties are higher when the offense results in bodily injury. Ignition interlock will be mandated after a Second DUI offense and a Felony DUI offense conviction.

An ignition interlock is a breathalyzer device installed in the convicted individual’s vehicle. It requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece on the device before starting the car. If the resultant breath-alcohol concentration analyzed result is higher than Utah’s minimum level of .05, then the engine will not start when the ignition interlock activates the excess alcohol sensor. Removal of this object can lead to license suspension and other penalties.

There are also severe penalties for drivers who fail to implement a required ignition lock. A long term license suspension is one that can create serious problems. This can have a negative impact in your ability to make it to work or to drive family members. Long term and more repercussions can ensue if you fail to assert your rights in the face of a DUI conviction.

Felony DUI Offenses

A Felony DUI Offense is generally imposed on repeat offenders (three or more DUIS within 10 years) who causes bodily injuries and/or was convicted of automobile homicide. You can also be prosecuted for a DUI felony if any of these occurred: (a) convicted of two prior DUI felonies within the past 10 years; (b) someone (other than the driver) was seriously injured; (c) the driver had a prior DUI felony conviction; (d) the driver had a previous conviction of vehicular homicide in Utah. Felony convictions require a minimum of 62.5 days of jail time.

Can I Get Probation for a DUI Offense in Utah?

There are probation and community services that can be imposed if leniency is warranted. However, failure to meet all probation requirements as any additional condition would result in a DUI conviction. These other conditions are also provided under the statutes. Utah has instituted a body of laws that work in this way. Failure to comply with a statutorily mandated DUI sentence results in automatic penalties and additional sanctions. In addition, expungement of a felony DUI is generally prohibited except that the DUI felony conviction can be reduced to a misdemeanor when warranted.

Long Term Effects of a DUI Charge

At the end of the day, a skilled attorney will achieve serious damage control—future or present or both. Mandatory sentencing can have unknown repercussions in your record because judges must follow the escalating classification guidelines for repeat offenders. It’s critically important to have a seasoned attorney on your side to help you avoid greater trouble such as losing your driver’s license for an extended period of time. A Utah DUI attorney can assist in the determination if there is a course of action that will be most helpful to you. A DUI arrest can put you at a disadvantage, especially in a sentencing scheme that has mandatory convictions and penalties triggered if other violations occur.

A lot can happen over time and the ten years is a long time for a DUI felony conviction to stay in your record. However, an experienced DUI lawyer can help and guide a judge to avoid penalties that are unwarranted under Utah’s sentencing guidelines. A skilled lawyer can possibly help reduce the felony conviction into a misdemeanor. Utah also imposes severe restrictions against motorists classified as “alcohol restricted driver.” An alcohol restricted driver is likely to be prosecuted if found to be operating or be in actual physical control of a vehicle with any measurable or detectable amount of alcohol in the person’s body.

Understand Utah’s DUI Sentencing Guidelines Before It’s Too Late

A Salt Lake City DUI defense lawyer at Overson Law can help you explore options to handle your reckless driving or DUI case. Attorney Darwin Overson is known for providing quality and trustworthy legal representation. To schedule your free legal consultation, call us at (801) 515-0883 or contact us online.