State Laws

Utah DUI Laws

     

Utah DUI Basics
In 2005 a new law was created for Utah citizens who have had their driver's licenses suspended. If these individuals have any amount of alcohol in their bodies and operate a motor vehicle, it is now deemed an illegal act.

In order to be under this law an individual must have had his or her driver's license denied, revoked, or suspended because of automobile homicide, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, refusing to submit to chemical testing, evading the police, reckless driving associated with drugs or alcohol, driving under the influence of a metabolite of drugs, or driving under the influence with a minor in the motor vehicle. In the cases of endangering a minor, a first offense will change from a Class B Misdemeanor to a Class A Misdemeanor.

Refusal
Applying for and obtaining a driver's license states through implied consent that an individual will submit to chemical testing when requested by a police officer. When an individual refuses to take a chemical test he or she will then automatically have his or her driver's license suspended. This kind of suspension is for the refusal and will withstand whether or not an individual is later convicted of driving under the influence.

When an individual does refuse testing and is convicted for a first driving under the influence offense, he or she will have his or her driver's license suspended for ninety days minimum and be required to submit to eighteen months of no-alcohol conditional license probation. This time period increases to driver's license suspension for six months and twenty-four months of probation on a second driving under the influence offense.

A third offense will result in one year of suspension with three years of probation. Violating probation will result in an eighteen hundred fifty-dollar fine.

Prosecuting
After a drunken driving offense, an individual will be requested to appear in court for an arraignment and a guilty or not guilty plea. A pretrial conference will follow along with motions. A plea-bargain may be offered at this point. If a driving under the influence case is to enter the court an individual can be charged on one of two counts: per se law or impairment.

Per se law states that an individual had a blood alcohol content that exceeded the legal amount. This kind of prosecution is solely based on body chemistry. Charges of impairment prove that an individual was impaired through alcohol or drugs and was unfit to drive. Evidence can show that this is true and can include physical appearance, chemical tests, driving patterns, field sobriety testing, and blood alcohol content levels.

Punishment
Punishments for driving under the influence are based on prior offenses and the circumstances of the arrest. First offenses are normally Class B Misdemeanors and can have up to forty-eight hours incarceration, several hundred dollars in fines, driver's license suspension, and probation.

With each offense the time and amounts will increase. If an individual has three or more driving under the influence offenses in ten years he or she will be convicted of a felony in the third degree.

See also:
Utah Felony Laws
Utah Gun Laws
Utah Divorce
Utah Misdemeanor Classifications External link (opens in new window)
Utah Expungement External link (opens in new window)