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Can I be charged with DUI in Utah if I blow under the legal limit?

The legal limit for blood or breath alcohol content while driving in Utah is .08. But you may still be charged for DUI even if you blow under the legal limit, and even if you have no alcohol in your system.

If you are facing criminal charges for DUI in Utah, it is vital to have the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Some of the consequences of a DUI charge in Utah can be imposed against you even before your first court date.

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

Traditional DUI Charges in Utah

Salt Lake DUI Defense LawyerUnder Utah criminal law, a DUI can be charged if you are over the legal limit, or if you have alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs in your system at a level that makes you incapable of safely operating a vehicle. While most often you will not be charged with DUI in Utah if you are under the legal limit of .08, if police or prosecutors believe that a lower level of alcohol was preventing you from driving safely, you can still be charged.

Of course, just being charged with DUI is different from being guilty or convicted of DUI. If your blood or breath alcohol level was below the legal limit, the prosecutor will have to present evidence that you impaired by either alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs - to a point that you were not able to safely operate your vehicle.

It is not sufficient for a prosecutor to simply show that you committed traffic violations or were driving recklessly. To obtain a DUI conviction on a person who was under the legal limit, the prosecutor will have to show a connection between the unsafe driving and any alcohol that had been consumed.

Utah Controlled Substance or Metabolite DUI

Utah law also provides another avenue for prosecutors to seeks a "DUI" conviction when a person is below the legal limit for alcohol. Using what is commonly referred to as a "metabolite DUI" charge, prosecutors may be able to obtain a conviction when a person is below the legal limit for alcohol and shows no signs of impairment.

Utah's DUI metabolite law does not require any proof of driving impairment. The charge is based on the presence of either a controlled substance or a controlled substance metabolite as detected by a test of the driver's blood or urine. But unlike a traditional DUI charge (requiring proof of impairment), a conviction for metabolite cannot be based solely on the presence of a controlled substance metabolite or controlled substance for which the driver has a valid prescription.

Finding a Utah Criminal Attorney in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake Defense AttorneyIf you are facing DUI or other criminal charges in Utah, you should speak with an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer.  Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has handled literally thousands of serious criminal cases - more than most Utah attorneys will handle in their entire careers.  His track record includes not guilty verdicts and dismissals for some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah.

Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.


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  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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