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Utah DUI - Driver License Hearings

Do I need to request a driver license hearing on a Utah DUI citation if I have an out-of-state driver license?

There is a common misconception that a person with an out-of-state license who is charged with a DUI in Utah does not need to request a Utah driver license hearing. The mistaken reasoning behind this misconception is that the Utah Driver License Division (DLD) should not be able to impose a license suspension where the driver does not have a Utah driver license. This is not correct.

If you are facing DUI or other criminal charges in Utah, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can be critical to achieving the best outcome for your case. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Utah Driver License Suspensions - Out-of-State Drivers

Salt Lake Davis DUI Lawyer UtahWhile it may be true that the Utah Driver License Division cannot suspend an out-of-state license, it does not necessarily follow that receiving a DUI citation in Utah will not affect your out-of-state driver license.

Under Utah law, a person who is cited for DUI (or related charges such as driving with a measurable controlled substance or metabolite) has ten days from the date of citation to request a driver license hearing. If no license hearing is requested by the driver, the Driver License Division will enter an automatic suspension order against the driver.

Even though the Utah Driver License Division does not have jurisdiction over an out-of-state license, most other states will enter a reciprocal suspension order upon entry of the Utah suspension order. Thus, it is important to request a license hearing with ten days of receiving a DUI-related citation.

Utah Driver License Hearings - Discovery

In addition to avoiding a license suspension, a driver license hearing can serve another important purpose in defending a Utah DUI case. Most DUI charges in Utah are filed at the misdemeanor level. Certain aggravating factors (e.g., repeated violations, serious injury or death resulting from an accident) can result in a felony charge. But at the misdemeanor level, a DUI case provides only limited discovery opportunities for the defense.

While the prosecutor is generally required to turn over any police report, lab reports, Intoxylizer logs, etc., a class B misdemeanor in Utah does not allow the defense the right to a preliminary hearing. In a class A or felony case, a preliminary hearing provides the defense with an opportunity to cross examine witnesses prior to trial. Such prior cross-examination can prove critical in furthering defense discovery or providing impeachment material for trial. But a class B misdemeanor case does not allow for a preliminary hearing.

The driver license hearing provides an opportunity for the defense to cross examine the officer involved in a DUI case. This can give the defense an opportunity to obtain critical information that may not be apparent in the police reports.

Details about how the standardized field sobriety tests (FST's) were conducted, how the "Baker" period was observed prior to administering a breath test, whether the officer provided the correct admonition or read the defendant his Miranda rights - this is information that is often absent in standard DUI police reports. But a driver license hearing can provide an opportunity to ask important questions on these and other topics prior to trial. Obtaining this information early in the case can put the defense at a strategic advantage when it comes to defending a DUI case in the criminal courts.

Finding a Utah DUI Attorney

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerIf you are facing prosecution for DUI, driving with a measurable controlled substance or metabolite, or other criminal charges in Utah, obtaining the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be vital to the success of your case. One of the most important decisions you will make can involve choosing the right criminal defense attorney for your case.

Contact us today to see how an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney can help you.


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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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