West Valley City DUI Defense Lawyer

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

Many people incorrectly believe that DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charges are simply “not a big deal.” After all, DUI offenses are extremely common throughout Utah and the rest of the United States, and many people have more than one DUI conviction. While those two points may be accurate, the idea that DUI is an unimportant matter is not.

DUI convictions come with severe and far-reaching legal consequences. If you are convicted of DUI in West Valley City, you could be incarcerated, fined heavily, and your license to drive could be suspended for months or even years. In addition to these major penalties, DUI convictions can also lead to additional inconveniences, such as mandatory alcohol counseling and/or the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in your personal vehicle. An IID will prevent your car from starting if it detects a certain BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level.

Furthermore, it’s very important to point out that there are instances in which DUI can become elevated to an extremely serious charge. If you injure or kill another person while you are driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, you could even be charged with vehicular assault or felony vehicular homicide. If you are convicted of a felony, you could be fined thousands of dollars in restitution and/or imprisoned for years. You could lose your family, your friends, your finances, and your freedom. You need to act quickly to protect your legal rights.

Call the DUI defense lawyers at Overson Law, PLLC, at (801) 758-2287 for a free case review.

DUI Charges in West Valley City.

If you are facing DUI charges in West Valley City, it’s extremely important to your legal success and to the course of your future that you retain the services of a dedicated DUI defense attorney. At the law offices of Overson Law, LLC, we have more than 15 years of experience handling a wide variety of West Valley City DUI charges, including but not limited to:

  • First Offense
  • Repeat Offenses
  • DUI with Drugs
  • DUI Causing Injury or Death
  • DUI with High BAC
  • Aggravated DUI
  • Breathalyzer/Chemical Test Refusal

Regardless of the circumstances of your DUI, we are equipped with years of practical, in-trial experience to help build you the very best defense.  We believe that our clients are innocent until proven guilty, and we pledge to treat your case with diligence, care, and respect.  We will walk you through each and every step of the legal process and advocate aggressively on your behalf to ensure that your legal rights are always respected.

West Valley City DUI Statistics

According to the data presented by the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice in the Tenth Annual DUI Report to the Utah Legislature (2012), Salt Lake County — home to West Valley City — experienced more DUI arrests than any other county in the state. Salt Lake County recorded 5,497 DUI arrests in 2012, accounting for a staggering 42% of all DUI arrests in Utah that year.

According to the yearly Crime in Utah Report, the gender breakdown for 2012 DUI arrests was:

  • 14% female
  • 86% male

While males may be at a higher statistical risk of DUI arrest, anyone can be arrested for DUI — even if they aren’t driving a car.  Other vehicles which fall under DUI laws include:

  • Motorcycles
  • Commercial Vehicles
  • Scooters
  • Boats
  • Jetskis

The type of vehicle in question can actually influence the DUI charges.  Notably, the BAC cut-off for most drivers is .08% — but the threshold BAC for commercial drivers is dramatically lower at .04%.

Driving Under the Influence in West Valley City

Utah Code § 41-6a-502 defines driving under the influence in Utah. Any operation of a motor vehicle while affected by drugs or alcohol is considered driving under the influence. In many states, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08%. However, in Utah, the legal limit is 0.05%.

Driving under the influence includes more than just drunk driving. Using controlled substances limits the ability to make reasonable decisions and react quickly to changing situations on the road. You can and will, get charged with driving under the influence if you get behind the wheel with a substance other than alcohol in your system.

West Valley City DUI Penalties and Sentencing

DUIs, like other offenses, are subject to their own list of aggravating factors that can worsen a sentence. These aggravating factors include DUI with a child in the vehicle, reckless driving, and DUI with a high BAC (above .16%).

Even without any aggravating factors, DUI penalties can be very harsh — and they only become harsher as incidents accumulate. It should be noted that the fees for DUI vary by court.

  • First Offense
    Fees: Generally a minimum of $1,400
    Jail Time: 2 days
    License Suspension: 120 days
  • Second Offense
    Fees: Generally a minimum of $1,600
    Jail Time: 10 days
    License Suspension: 2 years

Notice the dramatic hike in license suspension duration from the first to second offense: 120 days to two full years.

  • Third Offense
    Fees: Maximum $5,000
    Jail Time: Maximum 5 years
    License Suspension: 2 years

A third offense DUI is classified as a felony. It should also be noted that the maximum fee of $5,000 can become even more expensive due to additional surcharges. These surcharges can be as high as 90%.

If you are being charged with DUI, everything you value — including your liberty, your mobility, and your reputation — is at risk. An experienced West Valley City DUI defense attorney can help.

Aggravating Factors for DUI Charges in West Valley City

Certain circumstances can make the penalty for driving under the influence even more serious, meaning that you should definitely turn to our DUI defense lawyers for help.

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years. If you are under the legal drinking age, the legal limit for DUI is lower and the penalties for driving under the influence can be made worse. For example, normally, a first offense of driving under the influence can result in your license being suspended for 120 days. If you are under the legal drinking age, your license could be suspended for up to a year.

If there are minors (people under the age of 18) in your vehicle at the time you are pulled over, a DUI charge can be upgraded to a class A misdemeanor. Instead of the standard class B misdemeanor.

If there are passengers in your vehicle that are under 16 years old, you will be charged with an additional DUI for each such passenger.

Field Sobriety Tests in West Valley City

If a police officer suspects you of driving under the influence and stops you, there are certain things they might do in order to figure out whether you are driving under the influence or not. Contrary to popular belief, you can decline to do the field sobriety test as well as a pre-arrest breathalyzer test. However, declining either of those tests will likely not make the officer agreeable to work with, and might raise suspicion. Whether you choose to do the tests or not, you should always be polite when dealing with a police officer who pulled you over, as doing otherwise could hurt your case.

Field sobriety tests are a common way to quickly get an idea as to whether a driver of a vehicle is intoxicated or not. Passing or failing the test cannot be admitted as evidence to prove intoxication. However, whether you agreed to take the test or declined to could be submitted as evidence.

In a field sobriety test, you might be asked to do a horizontal gaze nystagmus test, walk and turn, and a one-leg stand.

It should be noted that there are standard field sobriety tests that are supposed to be administered in a particular way to provide any quasi-scientific analysis of your intoxication. However, if there are errors in how they are performed or the police officer uses a different test, then the resulting information should not be admissible, beyond simple details like whether you followed instructions or not. The point is to see whether you can follow instructions and are sober enough to drive.

The officer will also be looking to see whether you are slurring your words, have the smell of alcohol on your breath, have bloodshot eyes, or other signs of substance use/ intoxication.

Our experienced DUI defense attorneys can defend you regardless of the outcome of your field sobriety test or if you did not take it at all. The test is not scientific and not indicative of intoxication, so even sober people fail these tests sometimes It is not determinative of the outcome of your case.

Defenses to DUI Charges in West Valley City

Evidence given by the prosecution in a drunk driving case is often based on many tests carried out in the field or in a lab. The reality is that these tests are often unreliable, but prosecutors will use anything they can to get a conviction. Our DUI defense lawyers have a wealth of experience helping clients suppress evidence that should not be allowed in court. We will work hard to give you the best possible defense against this kind of evidence in your case. In many instances, the laboratory analysis might not be allowed into the final jury trial.

Motions to suppress are a common way to prohibit evidence from being introduced at trial. Your attorney files motions to suppress with the judge before a trial, claiming that certain evidence should not be shown to the jury.

In law, evidence is allowed so long as it has any tendency to prove something more or less likely to be true, and its value to the case is greater than any likelihood it has to make the jury favor one side over the other unfairly. Additionally, scientific evidence has additional requirements that go beyond the general rule. Field sobriety tests and pre-arrest breathalyzer tests should be admitted to prove intoxication because they do not meet those requirements.

If evidence was obtained in the wrong way, it is not allowed in court. The legal phrasing of this concept is that the “fruit of the poisonous tree” cannot be used to win a case.

Additionally, if your blood was drawn to determine your blood alcohol concentration, that test can be suppressed if no warrant was issued for the blood draw. Work with your DUI defense attorney to figure out the best course of action for your case.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our West Valley City Lawyers

To schedule a free and private legal consultation with our DUI defense lawyers, call the law offices of Overson Law, LLC at (801) 758-2287, or contact us online.


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