Before we go any further, if you have been arrested for a DUI the clock is already ticking. For a chance to keep your license, you must request a hearing with the Drivers License Division of the Utah Department of Public Safety within 10 days of your arrest. Failure to do so will almost guarantee that you will lose your license for at least 120 days. If this is not your first DUI or you are under the age of 21, the suspension will be more lengthy.
But, if you call or come to the offices of an experienced DUI defense attorney we will be able to forestall the automatic license suspension. We will discuss your case and then immediately submit a request for a hearing to the Utah Department of Public Safety. We understand that DUI charges can be extremely distressing and that they can significantly disrupt your life including your ability to get to work. Therefore our experienced attorneys work with you each and every step of the way. To ease your anxiety, we explain the process at the outset and answer any questions that you may have clearly and thoroughly.
Understanding the Legal Process for DUI Charges in West Jordan
The proceedings for a DUI offense in Utah requires proceedings in both the Driver License Division of the Utah Department of Public Safety and in the Utah courts. Generally, the first step in a DUI proceeding in Utah is the arraignment where a judge will read aloud the charges against you. Following the reading of the charges, the judge will ask how you plead: Guilty or Not Guilty. If you plead guilty a sentencing hearing will be scheduled. The punishments could include:
- jail time
- drug or alcohol education courses
- additional restrictions on your right to operate a motor vehicle
However, if you plead not guilty to the charges, then the matter will be marked for a future pretrial conference. The handling of the pretrial conference can significantly impact the outcome in your DUI case and therefore it is important that you have experienced representation. Your attorney can request a jury trial, schedule a hearing to move to suppress improperly obtained evidence or negotiate a plea bargain.
Once we are retained to represent you, we obtain all the discovery materials in your case. These include the police report, the toxicology results, BAC results, video of stop and arrest, any witness statements, and any other materials that are related in any way to your particular case. We are experienced in determining whether there are additional materials out there that might help your case and how to obtain them. We review all materials before we advise you on your case because you must be aware of all possible defenses before you can make an informed decision as to how to proceed.
The legal process as it impacts your driver’s license is often confusing to people because in order to keep it, you must win your driver’s license hearing at the DLD in order to keep your license while the criminal case is pending. If you win your criminal case, your license won’t be suspended and if it was previously suspended, the DLD will reverse the suspension. However, the DLD moves relatively quickly against your license and the criminal courts move quite slow in comparison and that can result in you having the suspension even if you eventually win your case. That is often a frustrating situation for people. To avoid this situation, we frequently appeal the DLD suspension and stay or stop the DLD suspension order from taking effect. Few criminal defense attorneys in Utah take this extra step to protect their clients’ rights. It is just one example of how we can help you where other may not.
DUI Penalties and Fines
The consequences of even a fist time DUI-conviction can be extremely harsh as even first-time offenders are required to install and use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for eighteen months. A BAC reading greater than .159, even if it is your first DUI, is considered an Aggravated DUI and requires supervised probation and random alcohol and drug testing. Following your first DUI penalties escalate rapidly. For a second DUI within 10 years you could face:
- a 2 year license suspension
- up to $1,850 in fines
- up to 10 days in jail
- alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and treatment
Your third offense within 10 years is considered a felony under Utah law. As a felony, the potential penalties are even more draconian potentially including:
- a 2 year or more license suspension
- up to $9,250 in fines
- a mandatory 62 days jail with no option for community service and if you are sent to prison, you face up to five years there.
Additionally, since it is a felony the conviction will remain on your criminal record potentially affecting your chances at future employment. Further your auto, health and life insurance premiums are likely to significantly increase. In fact, your auto insurance could even drop you as a high-risk driver. In any case, you are likely to pay hundreds if not thousands more a year just for auto insurance.
Our West Jordan DuI Lawyers Can Help
If you have been charged with a DUI , call Darwin L. Overson, an experienced DUI attorney, because he can protect your rights and your freedom. For your first-time or subsequent DUI consultation, contact us immediately by calling (801) 758-2287 or contact us today.