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DUI in Salt Lake City
A DUI in Utah is not something that should be taken lightly and anyone who has been charged with Driving Under the Influence (drunk driving) should approach their DUI defense only with adequate legal representation and the best Utah DUI attorney available like those found at Salcido Law Firm.
If you have been charged with a DUI contact a Utah DUI attorney at Salcido Law Firm by emailing or calling us at 801.413.1753 today and Get Protected!
Utah’s laws are unforgiving and stringent and you will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect you. Even a first offense imposes mandatory jail time/community service; and, subsequent offenses carry even harsher penalties. DUIs in Utah also mandate suspension of your driver’s license and if you are not careful you can lose your license for years.
You should never drink and then get behind the wheel. It is too risky and dangerous to do so. In the unfortunate instance in which you do, however, call us and we will provide aggressive legal representation to defend your rights and ensure that you are protected. A Utah DUI attorney at our firm will attack your charges from every avenue including assessing the manner in which the law enforcement officer conducted any tests.
We will also analyze whether the officer had sufficient reasonable suspicion to pull you over and whether he made the arrest on the appropriate grounds.
Call a Utah DUI attorney at our firm 24/7 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.
Get In Touch With Salcido Law Firm
Email us and we will get back to you right away. You can call Salcido Law Firm, the Utah DUI Attorney, anytime at 801.413.1753 to speak to a dedicated attorney about your DUI defense.
The Basics of Utah’s DUI Laws
In Utah, a person is guilty of Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”) if he has a blood or breath alcohol concentration, often referred to as “BAC”, of .05 grams or more at the time of operating or being in actual physical control of the vehicle.
Generally, a first time DUI offense in Utah carries a Class B misdemeanor sentence which requires jail time of at least 48 hours and a minimum fine of around $1400, but can result in jail time up to 6 months. Further, a first DUI offense will result in a 120 day driver’s license suspension. If the DUI offense also caused bodily injury to another or if the person Driving Under the Influence had a passenger 18 years or younger in the car with him, then the DUI can result in a Class A misdemeanor, which can lead to a one year jail sentence, a $2500 fine, and several hundred dollars in court costs and other associated fines.
If a second DUI offense occurs within 10 years of a prior DUI conviction the defendant is looking at a minimum of 10 days jail time, the potential maximum penalties associated with Class A and B misdemeanors as describe above, and a 2 year driver’s license suspension.
If a third DUI offense occurs within a 10 year period it is punished as a third degree felony which can carry a 5 year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. Even if the judge only orders you to be on probation and does not actually sentence you to prison, there is still a minimum jail time of 1,500 hours (62.5 days) and a minimum fine of $1,500 along with any other automatic courts costs and other fines that accompany a conviction.
For more information concerning the different types of DUIs for which you can be charged, contact a Utah DUI attorney at Salcido Law Firm today. You can also refer to Utah Code 41-6a-502 (defining DUI), Utah Code 41-6a-503 (penalties associated with DUI conviction), Utah Code 41-6a-507 (supervised probation for certain DUI offenses), and Utah Code 41-6a-509 (driver’s license suspension for DUI).
Naturally when faced with a DUI jail time should be on your mind. Believe it or not, Utah is not the worst state in the world when it comes to jail time for a DUI conviction. Arizona (where we do a lot of DUIs as well) actually provides different jail times depending on how high your BAC was, requiring 30 days minimum/mandatory for a BAC between .15 and .20 even on a first DUI!
Utah is much better, but there are still some minimum/mandatories. For example, a first DUI requires two (2) days in jail, but the statute gives the judge discretion to supplant that jail time with an equal amount of community service. A second DUI conviction, however, requires a minimum of 5 days in jail and 30 days of home confinement. The judge cannot convert those five days of jail to community service on a second DUI conviction. A felony DUI requires a minimum of 62.5 days in jail. Remember, those are only minimum/mandatories, meaning the judge can put you in for a lot longer if he wants to. The best way to minimize the penalties associated with DUI is to hire a Salcido Law Firm Utah DUI attorney.
DUIs really suck for a number reasons but perhaps the worst thing about a DUI is what it does to your Utah driver’s license and privileges. For your first DUI you lose your license for 120 days, no exceptions. Really, no exceptions for work, school, etc. No license, period. Second DUI gets your license suspended for two years!
What’s even worse is that it is an administrative ruling, meaning a court doesn’t decide to take your license, the Driver’s License Division does; and, a court can’t give it back unless you appeal the DLD’s decision to a court and win the appeal. Sure, you get a hearing with the DLD, but the DLD acts as a rubber stamp in those hearings because the burden of proof is so low and DLD hearing officers rarely find fault with the law enforcement officer.
Science and a DUI Case in Utah
Most hotly contested DUI cases come down to one of two things: (1) the traffic stop that lead to the DUI charges; or (2) the chemical test that was performed in the case. Law enforcement relies on breath tests, urine tests, and blood tests. Out of the those tests the blood test is typically the most accurate but even those can be flawed. An educated Utah DUI attorney will look at how the test was conducted, what equipment was used, who performed the test, etc. and compare that to the scientific literature. If problems are apparent, the case may require the services of an expert witness who can competently testify before a judge and jury what the problems were, on a scientific level, with the test.
There is a lot of science involved in DUIs because of the way breath and blood alcohol content are calculated and the theories behind those calculations. Any attorney who practices in DUI defense should be expected to know how the science affects a client’s particular and individual case.
DUIs in Utah are Enhanceable Offenses
What does the word “enhanceable” mean when it comes to a DUI convictions? Well, simply put, if you get three DUIs within a 10 year period, the third DUI is a felony. This applies equally for anything over the 3 within a 10 years period. Further, impaired driving convictions are enhanceable which means they are considered DUIs when it comes to the second and third DUI charges in a 10 year period.
What’s more, you can’t get a DUI expunged from your record for 10 years.
Often times you’ll hear about “impaired driving” otherwise known as DWI in other states. Impaired driving is an interesting notion in Utah because it is not technically a separate criminal charges, that is, a prosecutor cannot bring a charge for impaired driving against an individual. It’s DUI or nothing. Instead, impaired driving is a statutorily approved bargaining chip for prosecutors.
Under current Utah law, a prosecutor can offer an impaired driving or DWI as a plea deal to someone who has been charged with a DUI. There are some benefits to entering a plea to an impaired if it makes sense in your specific case:
- It is actually considered one degree lower than a DUI even though they are actually both class B misdemeanors;
- It carries no mandatory jail time;
- If you did not lose your license at your DLD hearing, you won’t lose it with an impaired conviction;
- Judges have much more discretion, and at times are more prone to exercise that discretion in your favor.
Unfortunately, an impaired driving conviction is still an enhanceable offense for future DUIs, meaning if you a total of three impaireds or DUIs in a 10 year period that third one can be charged as a felony. So even with an impaired driving charge you should definitely hire a Utah DUI attorney.
Trial Versus Plea Deal
Chances are, the prosecutor will make you an offer in your DUI case. In many cases the prosecutor will make no offer and will simply want you to plead straight to a DUI. In some cases it makes sense to enter into a plea deal. In others it doesn’t. Whether you should take a deal or go to trial will depend entirely on the specific facts of your case. Call us and we can give you a pretty good idea how it may be best to proceed in your case.
Probable Cause for DUI in Utah
Nearly all DUIs start with a traffic stop. That stop can derive from the car going all over the road or for simply having a tail light out. The reason matters because if the stop was improper, then everything that came after, including the DUI, should be suppressed and dismissed.
If the stop was proper, you then have to look at whether there was probable cause for the DUI arrest. Generally cops list the following as supporting of probable cause:
- Glossy eyes;
- Odor of alcohol emanating from vehicle;
- Fidgety actions;
- Slurred speech;
- Slow and deliberate speech;
- Pattern of driving over traffic lines;
- Failing field sobriety tests
The above, taken together, are typically enough to make an arrest and give the individual a chemical test. A good DUI lawyer will evaluate whether probable cause was present, and if not, challenge the findings.
Types of “Super DUIs”
Utah has some super DUIs which can make it so the DUI becomes a felony or class A misdemeanor. Those include the typical felony DUI for having 3 or more in a 10 year period and DUIs involving bodily injury, death, and underage passengers. The penalties are obviously more serious for a super DUI in Utah.
Resources for DUI Defendants
Below are some helpful DUI resources for cases brought in Utah.
- Utah Code 41-6a-501 through 41-6a-530 cover the basic DUI laws in Utah. Anyone who wants to understand the nature of such charges should review those statutes with a fine-toothed comb.
- The Utah Driver’s License Division has a section on its website dedicated to DUI. If you’d like to learn more about how your driver’s license may be affected can access it here.
- Whether your case is brought in a district court or justice court you can get contact information for those courts at www.utcourts.gov.
Other Things You Should Consider When Facing DUI Charges Include:
- Alcohol Restricted Driver – A DUI conviction carries with the penalty of being considered an alcohol restricted driver, which means that for a defined period of time (years) a person who has been convicted of a DUI cannot drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in his blood.
- Driving Without an Interlock – If an individual gets convicted of a DUI, he will also be forced to install an interlock device in his car and anytime he wants to drive he has to first blow into the machine to start the car. If he doesn’t use an interlock and gets caught, he will charged with a class B misdemeanor.
- DUI Tests – When defending against DUI charges you have to really dig into how the officer conducted the field sobriety tests and the chemical tests. If mistakes were made during any of those tests, it could mean that the case could be dismissed.
- High BAC DUI – There are DUIs and there are serious DUIs that involve high BACs. The legal limit is .05. A high BAC is anything above a .15. When you get above a .15 prosecutors are much less willing to work with you through plea negotiations and the likelihood of serving jail time increases dramatically.
- DUI Metabolite – The other type of DUI in Utah is when someone drives under the influence of a measurable amount of a controlled substance. This can be marijuana, prescription drugs (even if you have a valid prescription), or any other type of controlled substance.
- Fines & Penalties – Fines usually run between $1000 and $2000. You will also spend money on having to take classes, getting an interlock device, reinstating your license, and other things. You will also have to do community service, jail, or both.
- Vehicle Impound – When you get arrested for DUI law enforcement impounds your car. It costs hundreds of dollars to get it out of impound.
- Felony DUI in Utah – If you get three DUIs or more within a 10 year period, the DUI becomes a felony and has mandatory minimum jail time.
- Hearings Before the Driver’s License Division – In addition to the criminal case, a DUI defendant has to deal with the driver’s license division. The DLD will hold a hearing to determine if the defendant should lose his license for a minimum of 120 days for a first DUI and 2 years for a second DUI.
- Implied Consent – Every single person who dares to get in a car in Utah has given his implied consent to submit to a chemical test if arrested for DUI and if he does not consent to such a test, he’ll lose his license for 18 months.