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Utah DUI Attorney - Salt Lake Defense Lawyer

Criminal Charges for "DWI" in Utah

Utah does not recognize "DWI" as a crime. While It is fairly common to hear people refer to "DWI" charges in the Utah criminal courts system, the Utah criminal code does not contain an offense formally known as DWI. The use of this terms is ambiguous and confusing, because it is sometimes used to refer to a number of different drunk driving-related charges, including DUI, impaired driving, and metabolite charges. To eliminate confusion, defense attorneys, prosecutors, police, and defendants would all do well to eliminate this term from their vocabularies when dealing with Utah cases.

Salt Lake DUI LawyerIf you are charged with a DUI or other criminal charge, the consequences of a conviction can be serious. It is critical to have the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today for an initial confidential consultation.

"DWI" is NOT a DUI

The term "DWI" is used in various other states to refer to drunk driving-related crimes. In some states, this acronym stands for "driving while intoxicated." In other jurisdictions, it may stand for "driving while impaired." Utah law does not use this term.

Utah has multiple drunk driving-related statutes, defining separate and distinct offenses. These include:

  • 41-6a-502 - driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • 41-6a-502.5 - impaired driving
  • 41-6a-517 - driving with a measurable controlled substance or metabolite in the body

The elements of each DUI-related offense in Utah are unique. For example, a standard DUI (41-6a-502) can be based either on proof of impairment resulting from alcohol or drug consumption, or on proof that the person had greater than 0.08 alcohol concentration regardless of impairment. A metabolite charge (41-6a-517) is based on the presence of a controlled substance or metabolite in the driver's system, without any proof that the driver was either impaired or under the influence of any controlled substance or drug. Utah law provides that an impaired driving charge cannot initially be filed against any Utah driver. Instead, impaired driving can only be charges as a result of a negotiated plea agreement for a DUI charge.

"DWI" is NOT Impaired Driving

The term "DWI" is sometimes used in reference to what the Utah criminal code calls the offense of "Impaired Driving." Some people mistakenly believe that "DWI" stands for "driving while impaired" and refers to a Utah impaired driving charge.

In this context, people may sometimes refer to a "DUI" being "reduced" to a "DWI" charge. To use this term in this context is inaccurate and can cause confusion. Because the term "DWI" is used in other jurisdictions to refer to what Utah calls a full "DUI" charge, the use of this term may make it appear that a person was convicted of a full DUI.

Finding a Utah DUI / Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

Utah Defense AttorneyDUI charges in Utah typically begin as class B misdemeanors. At this level, a conviction carries the potential for up to six months in jail and substantial fines. If injuries are involved, children are present in the vehicle, or if the defendant has prior convictions, the penalties can be enhanced as high as the felony level. The consequences can be serious.

If you are facing prosecution for DUI or other criminal charges in Utah, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can be critical. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah.

Contact us today to arrange for an initial confidential consultation.

RELATED CRIMINAL DEFENSE TOPICS
What are the penalties for a DUI conviction in Utah?
What should I do if I am stopped by police for DUI in Utah?
Do the standard DUI field sobriety tests prove impairment?


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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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