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Driver License and Criminal Convictions

Can the Utah Driver License Division suspend my license for a criminal conviction that had nothing to do with a vehicle or driving?

Consequences of a Utah criminal conviction can extend beyond just what the judge imposes in the courtroom. Some of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction are not ordered by the judge and may not even be discussed in court. But these consequences can still affect your life in serious ways. A suspended driver license is one consequence that can come as a surprise to criminal defendants.

If you are facing criminal charges in Utah, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can be critical. Contact us now to arrange for an initial consultation. See what the right attorney can do for you.

Offenses Triggering Driver License Consequences

Utah Criminal Charges Retail TheftJanuary 19, 2018 - Utah law provides the Driver License Division with authority to suspend or revoke a person's driver license (or deny an application for a driver license) for a variety of criminal convictions. Many of the crimes that can lead to the loss of a driver license have a direct connection to driving and safety concerns. But others have little or nothing to do with driving or traffic safety. Instead, the threatened suspension or revocation is an apparent attempt by the legislature to discourage the commission of these specific crimes.

The offense with perhaps the least apparent connection to the issues of driving and highway safety is custodial interference. In the context of a charge for custodial interference (usually involving interfering with or depriving another person of court-ordered parent time), the case may have no vehicle involvement whatsoever. But under Utah law, the Driver License Division can still suspend a person's driver license when he or she is convicted of custodial interference. A not guilty verdict, dismissal, or plea held in abeyance should normally avoid the suspension.

Another charge that can result in an unexpected driver license suspension is MIP (minor in possession, or consumption of alcohol by a minor). A charge of possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor requires no elements involving a vehicle. Still, a conviction can trigger a driver license suspension. Avoiding conviction is the key to avoiding the license suspension.

Utah Code 53-3-220 lists many of the other offenses that can trigger a driver license suspension. This section requires the Driver License Division to "immediately revoke . . ., deny, suspend, or disqualify the license of a person upon receiving a record of the person's conviction for [one of the listed offenses]." The listed offenses include:
  • manslaughter or negligent homicide resulting from driving a motor vehicle;
  • automobile homicide;
  • DUI
  • driving with a measurable controlled substance or metabolite;
  • perjury or the making of a false affidavit to the Driver License Division;
  • failure to stop and render aid as legally required, if the accident results in death or injury of another person;
  • two convictions for reckless driving within a 12-month period;
  • failure to stop at the command of a law enforcement officer (fleeing by vehicle);
  • felony discharge of a firearm from a vehicle;
  • using or causing to be used any explosive, chemical, or incendiary device from a vehicle;
  • driving without a required ignition interlock system;
  • engaging in a motor vehicle speed contest or exhibition of speed;
  • any felony under Utah's motor vehicle laws; and
  • any other felony in which a motor vehicle is used in the commission of or to facilitate the offense.
A driver license suspension may also be ordered for a drug-related conviction (possession, paraphernalia, distribution, etc.) The legislature in recent years has taken steps that can allow a person convicted of a drug crime to keep their license under certain circumstances.

Rules governing the relationship between criminal convictions and driver license suspensions are complicated and can change frequently. The information provided on this page is intended to be informational only and should not be treated as legal advice. If you are facing a criminal charge that could result in a driver license suspension, consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney is strongly encouraged.

Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are being prosecuted in a Utah criminal case, having the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be critical. The court system and its many procedural rules, substantive statutes, and extensive case law can be difficult to navigate. We are please to provide criminal defense services to clients in Salt Lake, Davis, and Weber Counties, and throughout the State of Utah. Contact us today to see how the right 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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