Even if you don’t have a prior criminal record, being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Salt Lake City has the potential to substantially impact your life. Individuals convicted of drunk driving often have a more difficult time landing jobs, applying for professional licenses, and even traveling outside of the United States. That’s why it’s so important to contact an attorney who can help fight your charges, even if this is only your first Utah DUI offense.
DUI First Offense Punishment
Under Utah law, judges must abide by the state’s predetermined mandatory minimum sentence when deciding the punishment for a criminal offense. This means that the judge cannot go any lower than minimum, although he or she could recommend a more severe punishment. Because of this, even first-time DUI offenders can end up spending time behind bars.
For a first drunk-driving conviction, there will be a mandatory minimum of 48 hours spent either in jail, in home confinement, or performing work service. The judge may also order you to obtain an alcohol or drug screening and assessment to determine if substance abuse education and/or treatment is necessary.
Other court penalties for a first DUI offense include a 120-day driver’s license penalty and a minimum of $700 in fines.
First Breathalyzer Refusal
Utah’s Implied Consent law states that any person operating a vehicle on the state’s roadways automatically implies their consent to take a breathalyzer or blood test if suspected of drinking and driving. Refusing to take the test will not only still result in a DUI arrest, but offenders are subject to harsher license penalties than those who take the breathalyzer and test over the legal blood alcohol limit.
After a drunk-driving arrest, you have only 10 days to appeal the administrative license suspension imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This license suspension will occur even if you haven’t gone to court to face your criminal charges. Unfortunately, those who violated the Implied Consent statute will lose their license for 18 months (as opposed to the standard 120-day suspension) for a first offense, so it’s important to immediately contact a DUI defense attorney if this applies to your situation.
Don’t Face a DUI Charge on Your Own
With so much to lose, it makes more sense to at least speak with a DUI defense attorney regarding your options rather than to simply plead guilty to your charge. We have a number of clients avoid a permanent criminal record thanks to our aggressive defense.
DUI Second Offense Utah
Utah takes a tough stance on driving under the influence (DUI) offenses, and nowhere is this more evident than in the mandatory minimum penalties for habitual offenders. Individuals who have been convicted of a DUI in the past already know the toll it can take on their life; however, the sentence is significantly increased for a second offense. At this time, it’s in your best interest to speak with a qualified defense attorney about how you can keep a second conviction off of your criminal record.
DUI Second Offense Punishment
For a second drunk-driving conviction in Utah, the judge could sentence you to at least 240 hours behind bars, in a work service program, or in home confinement with electronic monitoring. Once this penalty is completed, you may also be required to serve supervised probation. This means that you must abide by certain guidelines, such as checking in with your probation officer and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or you could risk additional penalties. Other penalties include at least $800 in fines and substance abuse education or treatment.
Once again, your ability to drive may be in jeopardy soon after your DUI arrest. If you took the breathalyzer and tested over the legal limit, your license may be suspended for two years. If you refused to take the breathalyzer—thereby violating Utah’s Implied Consent law—for a second time, you could lose your license for three years. Keep in mind that these are hard suspensions, meaning there is no opportunity to request a work permit.
Speak with a DUI Lawyer Now
Unfortunately, there are too many people who believe that fighting a second DUI offense is much more difficult than a first; however, this is just not true. If the officer lacked probable cause or your breathalyzer test results were flawed in any way, there is a chance that your charges can be dismissed, acquitted, or reduced. It’s our job to find the best possible defense for your specific case.
DUI Third Offense Utah
The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in Utah are based on how many prior drunk-driving convictions you have had in the past 10 years. If you are currently facing your third offense within this timeframe, it’s important that you immediately contact a qualified DUI attorney to begin preparing your defense as well as your administrative license suspension appeal. The punishment for a third DUI is much more severe than for the previous offenses, so you shouldn’t leave your fate in the court’s hands by pleading guilty.
Third DUI Offense Punishment
While you may have the option of serving your sentence in home confinement or a work service program for a first or second DUI conviction, these alternatives are taken away for a third offense—instead, you will serve jail time. In fact, the mandatory minimum incarceration sentence is 1,500 hours, thought you may be sentenced to far more depending on your specific situation. The fines for a third DUI conviction start at $1,500 and may go up from there.
The judge may again sentence you to supervised probation, which means that you must adhere to the court’s guidelines or face additional penalties. And, if he or she believes that alcohol problems are to blame for your repeat offense, the judge can also require that you complete substance abuse education and/or treatment—the cost of which will come out of your own bank account.
The license penalties associated with a third offense include a two-year suspension (three years if you refused the breathalyzer test) and the installation of an ignition interlock device upon your license reinstatement. This device is similar to a breathalyzer test, and will measure your blood alcohol content (BAC) every time you start your vehicle. If your BAC is above a predetermined limit (typically .02%), not only will the vehicle not start but your infraction will be reported to the court. You will also be required to pay all of the expenses associated with the ignition interlock device, including installation, rental, and maintenance.
Fighting Your Third Offense Is Possible
Fighting any drunk-driving offense simply requires investigation and thorough preparation. Our attorneys have completed a number of intensive training programs, giving them the experience and knowledge necessary to challenge your charges. Rather than let you plead guilty to your DUI, we will explore all of the options available to reduce the impact a drunk-driving charge has on your life.
DUI Felony Utah
Utah’s driving under the influence (DUI) offenses can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the situation. Generally, a first or second drunk-driving offense without any extenuating circumstances will result in a misdemeanor charge; however, if you have been arrested for a third offense within 10 years, you could be facing a felony. Having a felony on your record can have a significant impact on your future, so it’s imperative that you work with a qualified Salt Lake City DUI lawyer to fight these serious charges.
DUI Felony Conviction Punishment
Unlike a misdemeanor offense, which carries the possibility of serving your sentence in a work service program or home confinement, a felony will result in time behind bars. In fact, you could be sentenced to up to five years of incarceration. Other potential penalties include expensive fines and substance abuse treatment.
For a felony offense, you can lose your license for a two-year period without the possibility of obtaining a work permit. This means you will be unable to drive to work or other important locations until your license is reinstated. And, when you do get your license back, you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. This device measures your blood alcohol content before allowing the car to start, and must be paid for out of pocket.
These aren’t the only consequences you’ll experience. With a felony DUI on your record, you may be prohibited from holding certain jobs, owning a gun, or even voting. You can even face difficulties when trying to rent an apartment as a convicted felon. It’s because of problems such as these that you should consider investing in your future by hiring a DUI defense attorney.
Contact Our DUI Defense Firm Now for Representation
As you can see, you have a great deal to lose if convicted of a felony offense. Fortunately, our DUI attorneys have the training and credentials necessary to defend you against these serious charges. We will carefully review your case in order to prepare an appropriate defense strategy for your situation.