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Driving With Controlled Substance Metabolite - Utah DUI Lawyer

Utah law provides several different ways for a prosecutor to charge a DUI or related crimes. Even if you have not had any alcohol to drink, Utah prosecutors can file what is sometimes called a  DUI-metabolite charge if a blood or urine test shows the presence of any measurable controlled substance metabolite. Consequences of a conviction in Utah for driving with a measurable controlled substance metabolite can include jail time, fines, losing your driver's license, and more. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with Utah criminal attorney Stephen Howard.

Elements of a Utah DUI Metabolite Charge

Under Utah Code Ann. 41-6a-517, a person can be criminally charged if he or she operates or is in "actual physical control" of a vehicle and has any controlled substance or controlled substance metabolite in his or her body. Unlike a normal DUI charge, this Utah criminal offense does not require proof that the person was impaired or otherwise not able to safely operate the vehicle.

Affirmative Defenses to a Utah DUI Metabolite Charge

Utah law provides an affirmative defense to the charge of driving with a measurable controlled substance metabolite if you "involuntarily ingested" the drugs. You also have an affirmative defense to the charge if you have a legitimate prescription for the drugs that are in your system. (Note, however, that you may still be convicted of DUI in Utah if your prescription medication impairs your ability to safely drive.)

Utah's DUI/Metabolite statute also provides a third affirmative defense, where a defendant can show that the controlled substance was "otherwise legally ingested." This affirmative defense can be critical for drivers who have smoked, consumed, or otherwise ingested marijuana in another state, but then find themselves facing criminal charges in Utah. A driver who has legally used marijuana in another state (e.g. with a medical marijuana card in California, or recreationally in Colorado) may still find themselves facing DUI/Metabolite charges in Utah. But if a jury accepts the defense that the marijuana was not used in Utah, but was instead legally smoked or ingested  in another state, the jury may still return a not-guilty verdict.

Fourth Amendment Defenses in a Utah DUI Metabolite Case

In addition to these factual defenses, you may also have a constitutional defense to a charge of driving with a measurable controlled substance metabolite. Although the charge does not require proof of impaired or reckless driving, an officer may still be required to demonstrate that there was a "reasonable articulable suspicion" or "probable cause" to support the traffic stop and/or the request to provide a blood or urine sample for drug testing. If the officer did not have a constitutionally sufficient reason for the stop or the test, any evidence obtained in violation of Fourth Amendment may be suppressed.

Finding a Utah Criminal Attorney in Salt Lake City

If you are facing prosecution for DUI metabolite or other criminal charges, it is vital to have an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation with Salt Lake criminal lawyer Stephen Howard.


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  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. 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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