The Different DUI Tests in Utah

Get Information about DUI Tests in Utah

Generally, an officer will charge you with a DUI in Utah only if one or more of several different tests were administered which show that you had a Blood Alcohol Content of at least .05 grams or otherwise had a measurable amount of alcohol, drugs, or an otherwise controlled substance in your body.

There are a number of different DUI tests in Utah.
The HGN test

So what are the DUI tests in Utah? The tests most commonly given to those accused of DUIs in Utah are chemical tests such as a Blood, Urine, Oral Fluids or Breath Test, or a Field Sobriety Test, which itself consists of several standardized and non-standardized tests.  These tests are administered by officers who are trained and who must keep up their training in order to qualify to administer such tests.


There are essentially two types of breath tests to determine someone’s breath alcohol concentration, one which is not so reliable and another which is a little more reliable.

The Portable Breath Test is given by an officer to help the officer determine if the driver’s breath alcohol concentration is sufficient to give him the probable cause to arrest the driver for DUI and then administer an Evidentiary Breath Test. Portable Breath Tests are not very reliable and their results are rarely admitted in court.

If the results of the Portable Breath Test show that the driver has been drinking, the officer will then ask the driver to submit to a subsequent Blood, Urine, Oral Fluids [link to Blood, Urine, and Oral Fluids Test page], or second Breath Test. If you refuse the officer’s request to take a subsequent breath test you may have your driver’s license suspended for 18 months.

The second breath test that will be administered will take place after you have been taken into custody to the police station. It is called the Evidentiary Breath Test, the results of which the state will rely on to prosecute your DUI offense. The Evidentiary Breath Test is carried out by your breathing into one of two machines, the Intoxilyzer 5000 or the Intoxilyzer 8000.

Officers who administer the breath test via the Intoxilyzer machine must be certified to do so, and must keep their certification current by recertifying each time the certification lapses.

Blood, Urine, or Oral Fluids Test

The blood test is typically the most reliable of the chemical tests, but it must be administered by a physician, registered nurse, nurse practitioner or someone else who is authorized by Utah’s Department of Health Organization.

The urine and oral fluids tests are not subject to the same limitations as the blood best, but they are still subject to certain standards that if not met can negate their results.

Field Sobriety Tests

A non-chemical test that is most often administered by trained officers is the Field Sobriety Test.  The Field Sobriety Test is performed in most states in one way or another and it consists of a number of sub-parts.  The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has approved of some of these tests which are now referred to as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, which include:

  • The one-legged stand test.
  • The walk and turn test.
  • The HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) test.

The Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests includes having the driver:

  • Stand with his feet together while tipping his head back.
  • Watch the officer raise his fingers and then telling the officer how many fingers he raised.
  • Say the alphabet.
  • Count numbers backwards.
  • Stand with his feet together, while tipping the head back, and holding arms out parallel with the street.
  • Close his eyes and touching his nose with his finger.
  • Pat his hand with the palm and back of the other hand.

If you are pulled over by an officer and he requests that you take a Field Sobriety Test you should be aware that there is nothing that legally obligates you to take such a test, and there is nothing the officer can do to you for simply declining the Field Sobriety Test.  Sure, he still might arrest you, but without evidence the state’s case for DUI fails.

Field Sobriety Tests are extremely important to the state’s case against you because it can establish the necessary probable cause for the officer to arrest and charge you with a DUI.  Don’t make the state’s job any easier by voluntarily doing these tests.

For more information about field sobriety tests, click here.

The Tests Are Not Bullet Proof

The results of the test are generally the most important part of a prosecution’s case and you will need an experienced and aggressive attorney to poke holes in the test process, equipment, and results.

If you submitted to chemical testing or a Field Sobriety Test and have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact us at 801.413.1753 today and Get Protected!

Free Consultation

Call Salcido Law Firm Monday through Saturday during any time of the day or night and we will give you a free consultation to discuss your case.  Or, if you prefer, email us and we will get back to you right away. We are well versed in the intricacies of the different DUI tests in Utah.