A DUI Conviction Can Have A Devastating and Long-Lasting Impact On Your Life; We’ll Help You Fight Your Charges
Without qualified legal counsel, handling a DUI charge on your own can be overwhelming. Even if it’s your first offense, you will be facing potential jail time, fines, license suspension, community service, mandatory drug/alcohol programs, and more. A DUI conviction can also result in other long-lasting consequences, like increased insurance premiums and limited employment opportunities. With so much on the line, it’s crucial that you partner with a qualified defense attorney as soon as possible. At Melton Law, we’ll help you understand your charges and fight aggressively to get you the best possible outcome.
Arrested for DUI: What Should I Do Next?
One of the first things you must do is request a hearing with the Utah Driver’s License Division. In Utah, you only have 10 days to request a hearing and if you fail to request a hearing your license will be automatically suspended 30 days after getting your DUI.
A DUI can have life altering effects on your job, your family, and your daily life. It is critical to hire an attorney who will help walk you through this process. Melton Law is dedicated to advising you and aggressively fighting to protect your rights. There are a lot of ways Melton Law can help you get the best outcome for you case. We represent clients in the Salt Lake City area. Set up a initial consultation today to see how we can help protect your rights.
Defending Against DUI Charges In Utah
The following article will cover:
- Definition and types of DUI in Utah.
- Consequences and procedures related to DUI arrests in Utah.
- The importance of hiring a DUI defense attorney in Utah.
How Is DUI Defined In Utah?
In Utah, there are three different ways to get charged with a DUI:
- Blood or Breath Alcohol Level: Utah is the only state in the nation with a blood/breath alcohol limit of 0.05, compared to 0.08 in other states. This means if you’re in actual physical control of a vehicle (driving or parked with the ability to drive) and your blood/breath alcohol level is above 0.05, you can be charged with a DUI.
- Metabolite DUI: This occurs if you have a metabolite of a controlled substance in your system that impairs your ability to safely operate a vehicle. This substance doesn’t have to be illegal; it could be marijuana, Ambien, or any substance defined as a controlled substance.
- Impaired Driving: This charge is not tied to a specific drug or blood alcohol level. It simply means you’re under the influence of something to a degree that you’re unable to safely operate a vehicle. For instance, if you have consumed Nyquil and it has made you too sleepy to drive safely, you could be charged with impaired driving.
Do I Have To Provide A Breath Or Blood Sample After A DUI Arrest In Utah?
While you’re not obligated to voluntarily provide a breath or blood sample after a DUI arrest, refusal may have consequences. If you refuse, the officer will inform you that refusal can lead to a license suspension for 18 months on a first-time DUI, and for three years on subsequent DUIs. If you do refuse, the police can obtain a warrant to draw your blood anyway. Therefore, if you’ve been arrested, it’s generally advisable to submit to the chemical test.
What Happens To My Driver’s License After An Arrest On DUI Charges In Utah?
Your license isn’t immediately suspended after a DUI arrest, but upon arrest, a countdown begins. Forty-five days after the arrest, your license is automatically suspended, either for 120 days for a first offense or for two years for a second DUI. Refusing a breath or blood test can lead to an 18-month suspension for a first-time refusal, and a three-year suspension for subsequent refusals.
You can try to prevent the suspension by requesting a driver’s license hearing within 10 days of the arrest. At this administrative hearing, you can argue that the officer didn’t have a valid reason to believe you were under the influence.
If your license is ultimately suspended, you can install an interlock device in your car, pay a reinstatement fee, and under certain circumstances, obtain a temporary license. However, this is not applicable for all suspensions.
What Are The Penalties For A DUI Conviction In Utah?
DUIs in Utah involve both criminal and administrative penalties:
- First DUI (Class B Misdemeanor): You could serve up to 180 days in jail and pay a fine up to $1,000 plus a 90% surcharge. The mandatory minimum includes a $1,460 fine, substance abuse evaluation and any recommended treatment, court probation, and typically a victim’s impact panel.
The Driver’s License Division will label you as an alcohol-restricted and interlock-restricted driver for two years, meaning you cannot drive with any alcohol in your system and must have an interlock device installed in your car.
Additional penalties include two days in jail or 48 hours of community service. If your blood alcohol level is above 0.16, the penalty increases to mandatory two days in jail with 30 days of home confinement, or a straight five days in jail.
- Second DUI (Class A Misdemeanor): You could spend up to 364 days in jail, with a fine of up to $2,500 plus a 90% surcharge. The standard fine is about $1,500, an increase of about $100 from a first DUI. Additional penalties are similar to a first DUI, including substance abuse evaluation, treatment, and probation.
- Third DUI within 10 years (Felony): This could result in zero to five years in prison, with a mandatory 60 days in jail. If your blood alcohol level is above 0.16, this increases to 120 days with 120 days of home confinement.
Do I Need To Hire A DUI Defense Attorney If I Plan To Plead Guilty To DUI Charges In Utah?
Absolutely, DUIs are complex cases with severe punishments. From the beginning of the DUI stop, officers must follow specific policies and procedures, including conducting field sobriety tests. These tests, designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, must be performed correctly to be valid.
A skilled DUI attorney will know these tests, how they should be performed, and how to challenge them if performed incorrectly. Additionally, DUIs come with numerous collateral consequences, making hiring a competent attorney crucial.
What Additional Consequences Could A CDL Holder Face For A DUI Conviction In Utah?
If you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), a DUI arrest can have significant consequences, even before a conviction. If your license is suspended due to the arrest, your CDL endorsement will be suspended for a year, regardless of the suspension length for driving a non-commercial vehicle. This means you could be unable to work for a full year.