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How can a DUI charge be enhanced in Utah?

Under Utah criminal law, a first DUI begins at the class B misdemeanor level, with consequences that can include up to 180 days in jail, along with fines, probation conditions, driver license suspension, increased insurance costs, and more.  Under some conditions, Utah DUI law provides for enhancements based on either your prior record or on the conditions of the current charge.

The most serious Utah DUI enhancement is imposed if you are driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and negligently cause the death of another person.  If someone dies as a result of your drunk driving in Utah, you can be charged with felony automobile homicide.

Another felony DUI enhancement is possible under Utah law if you are charged with DUI for a third time in a ten year period.  Although not usually considered as serious as felony automobile homicide, a felony DUI enhancement based on prior convictions still carries a high risk of prison time.

Under Utah DUI law, a misdemeanor DUI charge can also be enhanced to a felony level if you are involved in a DUI-related accident in which you negligently cause a "serious bodily injury" to another person.  "Serious bodily injury" is defined as any bodily injury that creates or causes serious permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or creates a substantial risk of death.  A DUI accident that results in any bodily injury that is less than "serious" can still be enhanced to a class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in jail).

Utah DUI law also provides for an enhancement to a class A misdemeanor if you are charged with DUI and there is a minor passenger in the vehicle.  (If you are over 21, this enhancement applies if the minor is under 18 years of age.  If you are under 21, this enhancement applies if the minor is under 16 years of age.)

Utah's legislature has provided a number of ways that the penalties for a DUI charge can be enhanced.  And most Utah prosecutors take these enhancements very seriously.

If you have been charged or accused of DUI in Utah, it is critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.  Salt Lake defense lawyer Stephen Howard has the experience, knowledge, and determination to help you get the results you need.

Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation on your case.


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  • Selected Victories
  • 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.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Expungement - Worked to restore client's expungement eligibility through 402 reduction process, then filed successful expungement petitions in multiple courts obtaining expungement orders and clearing client's official criminal history.
  • Felony Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony charge and possible life in prison for child kidnapping. Full defense analysis of the case revealed critical legal flaws in the prosecution's case. When confronted with the defense legal analysis, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case outright without trial.
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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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