A DUI, which stands for driving under the influence, is a driving violation. It is driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances that impair one’s ability to operate an automobile. If someone is convicted of committing a DUI, they can incur significant penalties, which will be discussed here. In most states, in order to be considered driving under the influence, one has to have blood alcohol content higher than a certain amount. It is typically in the range of .05% – .08%. This level is obtained by chemical testing. It is a crime in every state for a motorist to operate a vehicle while impaired by the effects of alcohol or other drugs, including prescription medications. Depending on the state, the offense is called driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or a similar term. Even if evidence of blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) shows impairment, a good DUI lawyer may seek to have the case dismissed or the charges reduced. Also, attorneys often negotiate for lesser sentences and treatment diversion programs. Upon conviction of a DUI, you will receive some sort of criminal sentence (such as community service, a fine, even jail) and your driver’s license likely will be suspended or revoked, depending on the severity and whether it is a first offense. Your attorney may be able to help you obtain driving privileges with the condition of using an ignition interlock device (IDD) or the court’s permission to drive to and from work.
Some DUI Terms to Know
• Implied Consent: In every state, motorists consent to a police stop and BAC test as a condition of receiving a driver’s license. Failure to submit to a BAC test breaks this agreement and results in a driver’s license suspension.
• Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC): The concentration of alcohol in one’s bloodstream, which is used to determine a motorist’s level of alcohol impairment.
• Drug Recognition Experts: Officers specially trained to determine the drug impairment of a DUI suspect.
• DUI Checkpoints: Roadblocks set up by police, typically along busy roadways during New Year’s Eve and other alcohol-related events, in which motorists and checked for impairment at random.
When You May Need a DUI Attorney
Drunk or impaired driving is taken seriously by courts, particularly since it can be so deadly to other motorists. Therefore, the stakes of a DUI case are quite high. Those convicted of a DUI usually lose their license for a certain period of time, pay a hefty fine, and sometimes serve time in jail (especially if it is a repeat offense). Even if your DUI lawyer is unable to dismiss the case, he or she may be able to reduce the sentence or otherwise provide for a softer landing. Driving under the influence is illegal in every state. Generally, you can get a “per se” DUI for driving with a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. You can also be convicted of an “impairment” DUI if you drive while actually impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Some Consequences for a First-Time DUI Conviction
The consequences of driving under the influence are serious. Penalties for a first-offense DUI often include fines, license suspension, and substance abuse education courses. Some states also require mandatory jail time and ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for first DUIs. And even if you aren’t ultimately convicted of a DUI in criminal court, the Department of Motor Vehicle might still take away your license if there’s evidence that you drove with a BAC of .08% or greater. Also, there are lots of costs of a first-offense DUI like attorney fees and insurance rate increases that can significantly increase the amount you’ll actually end up paying.
Pros and Cons of an Attorney If You Get a DUI
DUI is a serious offense that could affect your future and employment. Attorneys will tell you that you “need” to hire an attorney who focuses on defending drunk drivers. Attorneys promise they “may” be able to save your driver’s license or get your drunk driving charge reduced or dismissed. The key is the word “may.” An attorney may be able to reduce charges or preserve your driving privileges, but this is not guaranteed. There was a time when hiring a drunk driving attorney could result in you being able to plead to a lesser charge such as reckless driving pay a fine and be done with it. But that was before all 50 states passed what is known as drunk driving per se and other laws, making it mandatory for intoxicated drivers to be judged on the DUI charge.
Blood-Alcohol Level Determines Guilt
What the per se laws say is, in every state in the U.S., if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit, you can be found guilty of DUI. In 2020, this limit is .05 in Utah, and .08 in all other states. It does not matter that you were not staggering or slurring your words or in no other way appeared to be intoxicated, your BAC level alone is all the evidence needed to convict you of DUI. One key to determining if hiring a drunk driving attorney will do you any good is knowing your BAC level at the time of your arrest. If you recorded 0.08 or higher, there is little doubt that you will be convicted and have to pay all the fines, fees, and extra expenses involved with having a DUI conviction on your driving record. In some cases, having an attorney won’t make a difference. If your blood alcohol level measures .08 or above, you will lose your license, be required to pay fines and/or higher insurance rates, and will face conviction.
Long-term DUI Consequences
Driving under the influence (DUI) is the most common criminal offense in the Utah. Many conscientious drivers with otherwise clean records have been arrested for DUI and suddenly found their lives in a dizzying tailspin from which they could not pull out. DUI convictions have major ramifications and some can linger for years. Most of us are aware of the short-term consequences, including temporary driver’s license suspension, fees and fines, high insurance premiums, court-mandated community service, participation in drunk driving education programs, and even jail time. Unfortunately, the long-term shock waves from a DUI can cause the greatest pain. Even after you pay your fines and fulfill your legal obligations, your DUI conviction can still undermine your future opportunities and haunt your life for years. Learning how you might be affected by a DUI is important first step for protecting yourself, your family, and your future. Even after you pay your fines and fulfill your legal obligations, your DUI conviction can still undermine your future opportunities and haunt your life for years.
Some long-term consequences of a DUI conviction include:
• Driver’s License Revocation – A DUI conviction can result in your driver’s license being revoked up to two years for your first conviction. A DUI conviction makes it difficult to get to work or, if your position requires you to drive, may result in the loss of your job. Losing the freedom to drive your own car is also stressful. Without a license, running simple errands, enjoying family visits, and participating in familiar social activates will be challenging. You may also arrive late for work frequently, feel frustrated, and be less attentive when you finally get there. Your job performance may suffer, too.
• Background Checks – Most employers conduct criminal background checks before they hire job applicants. A felony or misdemeanor DUI conviction will appear in a background check and could thwart your best efforts to secure a job. Background checks may also triggered by college financial aid applications and admissions processes, and housing applications. Landlords often conduct background checks and a DUI conviction could jeopardize your chances of getting the place you want.
• Employment – Your current job may be also be affected by a DUI arrest and conviction. Court dates, jail time, and community service hours can wreak havoc on your work schedule and put your job at risk. In addition, job seekers may be at a severe disadvantage to other applicants if they have a DUI on their records. Many employers are uncomfortable hiring applicants who have DUI convictions. While your DUI conviction may not have anything to do with the job you are applying for, it could hinder your prospects, if not disqualify you outright. And jobs that require driving a company vehicle, such as sales, truck driving, pizza delivery, catering, or cab driving jobs, may be closed to you.
• Auto Insurance Rates – Following a DUI conviction, your automobile insurance rates will likely increase significantly because drivers who have been convicted of a DUI are considered “high-risk” drivers by insurance companies. Your insurance rates may double or triple for at least several years. Some insurance companies may even terminate your coverage.
• Professional Relationships – A DUI arrest, and not even a conviction, can adversely affect the way you are perceived by your coworkers and employer. Even if you try to keep it under wraps, your DUI arrest may be publicized by local media and permanently stain your reputation. Depending on your company’s policy pertaining to DUI convictions, you may even lose your job. Your current job may be also be affected by a DUI arrest and conviction. Court dates, jail time, and community service hours can wreak havoc on your work schedule and put your job at risk. In addition, job seekers may be at a severe disadvantage to other applicants if they have a DUI on their records.
• Personal Relationships – Following a DUI arrest or conviction, you may worry about how your friends and family members feel about you, and you may experience feelings of shame and embarrassment. Initially, friends and family members may be very concerned about your wellbeing and be overly attentive to your behavior. You may become irritated or resentful if they want to “pry” into your personal life and discuss your drinking or DUI, even if you feel everything is under control.
• Scholarship Programs – Many schools do not accept students who have DUI convictions on their records and scholarships may be revoked or denied. Some colleges conduct background checks and require applicants to disclose any criminal history on their college applications.
Types of DUI
Drunk driving laws are not limited to just alcohol impairment in automobiles, and different circumstances and past criminal convictions affect how each DUI defendant is charged. Commercial truck drivers, for example, must adhere to much stricter DUI regulations than those affecting non-commercial motorists. Someone convicted of a third DUI in Utah, for example, faces a minimum two-year driver’s license suspension.
Your DUI charge could get much worse very quickly if you were breaking the law in more than one way, such as driving under the influence while speeding. This is known as an aggravated DUI.
How Long Does A Typical DUI Case Last?
The DMV hearing is typically scheduled about four to six weeks after the request, and the person is usually either cited in or bailed out for about three or four weeks after the arrest. On a misdemeanor DUI in Utah, the person charged with a DUI will not have to appear in court. Their attorney will make all their court appearances for them so that they don’t miss work, school or time with their family. The first court appearance is for filing the complaints and arraignments; if the district attorney’s office is ready to file the complaint, they will do so that day. Often they need more time to file the complaint. This happens when the blood test results haven’t yet been received from the lab. At that first appearance, the DA might announce to the judge that they need more time to gather information before they will be ready to file a complaint. If they are ready to file the complaint that day, then when the attorney appears in court, the DA will give them a copy of the criminal complaint as well as the police report and the test results. The attorney typically enters a plea of not guilty on behalf of his or her clients. He or she then asks the judge to set the case for a settlement conference in a few weeks. After the attorney has the police reports and a copy of the complaint, they can order additional discovery or evidence that might be needed for the case. Those might include recordings or photographs that were taken during the DUI arrest. The UHP typically records almost all of their traffic stops with a dashboard camera. That gives us an opportunity to order a copy of the video. We can also get copies of any photographs that were taken, any other audio or video recordings that were made, and copies of the calibration and maintenance records of any Breathalyzer machines that were used. If there was a blood test, we would also be able to have that blood retested by an independent laboratory.
The first thing an attorney should do once they are retained is request the DMV hearing so that they can try to save the person’s driver’s license from the administrative suspension. The attorney should also start gathering information from the client as quickly as possible while their memory of the event was still fresh. They will want to know everything about the DUI stop and everything about the client’s history and their particular situation that might be relevant to the DUI stop. Again, it’s important to get all this information as soon as possible.
The person could face a fine. They will face DUI school for a first offense. That can be six weeks, three months or even nine months. They also face a suspension of their driver’s license for anywhere from six months to a year, depending on whether or not they refused the chemical test. A person convicted of a first time DUI can be sentenced to anywhere from two days to six months in the county jail. A typical sentence for a first-time DUI would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 to 30 days, depending on the circumstances. In most cases, however, the jail sentence would be served on a jail alternative program known as work release. This is where the person works one eight-hour day for the county in exchange for a day of jail. They can do this on weekends or their day off. In addition, they will be on informal court probation for three years. During that time, if they violate any law or drive when they are not licensed or insured, or if they drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system, they can be brought back before the court and charged with a new crime as well as violation of their court probation.
Best DUI Lawyer In Utah
When you need legal help from a DUI UT Attorney, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506