Salt Lake area prosecutors and judges take DUI cases seriously. Political pressure to be “tough” on crime can make prosecutors hesitant to engage in resolution negotiations. Just being cited for DUI can result in a suspended driver license, even before you go to court. A conviction can lead to jail time, substantial fines, and other serious consequences. Our experienced Salt Lake criminal defense lawyers can help.
“Drunk Driving” in Salt Lake – Not Just Alcohol
Utah DUI laws apply to more than just alcohol. Illegal drugs and even legitimately prescribed medications can lead to a conviction in Salt Lake’s criminal courts.
The typical DUI charge in Salt Lake involves allegations that a person’s blood or breath alcohol level is above 0.05. Occasionally, a prosecutor will pursue a DUI charge at a lower BAC based on evidence that even at the lower level, the person unable to safely operate the vehicle. But Utah DUI statutes also prohibit driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle when a person is under the influence of any drug (including lawfully prescribed medications) to a degree that the person is not able to safely operate the vehicle.
When illegal drugs are involved, Utah law is even more strict. Driving with any measurable amount of any controlled substance or any controlled substance metabolite can result in a conviction, even without any evidence of impairment, if the driver does not have a prescription.
Consequences of a DUI Charge or Conviction in Salt Lake
A first-time DUI charges in Salt Lake normally begins at the class B misdemeanor level. While a class B misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 180 days jail, a first-time DUI is more likely to receive probation with a statutory minimum of 48 hours jail or community service. Statutory enhancements can increase the level of the severity of a first-time DUI if the case involves an accident with injuries or if a child is in the vehicle at the time of the offense. Penalties increase of second and third DUI convictions, with a third DUI conviction within a 10-year period punishable as a felony.
In addition to criminal penalties, Utah law also provides that the Driver License Division can impose a driver license suspension of 120 days for a first offense, or a two year suspension for a second or subsequent DUI offense. In order to avoid a nearly automatic suspension, a driver cited for DUI must request a hearing with the Driver License Division within 10 days of being cited. If no hearing is requested, the Driver License Division can suspend a driver’s license without waiting for the results of any related court cases.
If you have been charged with DUI or a related offense in the Salt Lake area, contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with Salt Lake criminal attorney Stephen Howard.