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.
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
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
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
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.