DUI Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah

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DUI Defense Attorney Utah
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DUI Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah

Timing is Vital – Hire a DUI Defense Attorney TODAY!

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in Utah, the last thing you want to do is wait to hire an attorney. Utah law is very strict on when DUI cases go to trial and how long you have to plea bargain the case. That’s why it’s important to hit the ground running in order to best protect your quality of life.

We here at Wasatch Defense Attorneys know how important this case is to you. That’s why we’ll aggressively attack the charges against you ASAP.

Contact us immediately for a no-obligation case review 801.980.9965.

Save Your Driver’s License

One of the biggest penalties you face in a DUI case is the loss of your driver’s license. Losing the ability to drive places on your own can seriously impede your freedom and your quality of life. You only have 10 days after the arrest to file for an administrative license hearing to try to save your license. If you don’t file for the hearing in time, you automatically lose your driving privileges for a period ranging from 4 months to 2 years.

Utah DUI Penalties

Driving under the influence (DUI), also frequently referred to a driving while intoxicated (DWI) in many states, is considered a serious offense throughout the United States. In Utah, persons operating a vehicle with a BAC of .05% or greater has committed the crime of DUI. Utah code also illegalizes the operation of vehicles while under the influence of any controlled substance the prevents the driver from safely operating a vehicle. The first DUI offense is generally a Class B misdemeanor. However, the first offense can be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor if any harm to a victim resulted from the DUI, and the driver had a minor as a passenger. Thereafter, subsequent DUIs will be charged as Third Degree Felonies.

The consequences of a DUI conviction can be extreme. DUI punishments range from up to six months in jail and a minimum fine of $1,000; to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. In addition to any incarceration or fines imposed by the court, an offender will have their license revoked for 120 days.

If a DUI offender is a minor, then their driver’s license will be revoked until they turn 21 or one year; whichever is longer.

If the DUI offender has a prior conviction in the last 10 years, then the license will be revoked for two years. The offender can also expect to attend alcohol treatment and to have a breath test interlock device installed in their vehicle.

Less common, but still legal, DUI punishments include house arrest (including electronic tracking, which you have to pay for), loss of CDL privileges, and court-ordered use of various possible devices that can track your intoxication levels, which you also have to pay for.

Motions to Suppress Your DUI

Motions to suppress are legal arguments presented to a judge before your trial. They typically target evidence but can be used to throw out the entire charge. For example, your defense attorney can use a motion to suppress your DUI if:

  • The officer involved didn’t have enough reasonable suspicion to stop you
  • You were illegally detained or were detained for longer than was reasonable
  • The officer had no reasonable cause for your arrest

Individual pieces of evidence can also be suppressed, particularly if they were obtained illegally or administered incorrectly. An experienced lawyer uses motions to suppress evidence that would typically result in a sure-fire conviction. This is the first step to a good defense.

Minors and Underage Drinking

If you are a minor or are the parent of a minor who has been charged with underage drinking and driving in Utah, the consequences of drinking under the legal age go beyond the penalties listed for those over 21. If the defendant is underage and was just caught drinking—just drinking, not even driving—the court can still order the defendant’s license revoked, and it can stay revoked for up to two years.

If your child is facing charges for underage drinking, you need a Utah DUI defense attorney who can guide you every step of the way. At Wasatch Defense Attorneys, you are well supported, and you remain informed on important developments of the case. Please contact us today for a no-obligation case review.

Measuring the Level of Intoxication

The liver metabolizes about one standard drink per hour in a healthy person. One to two drinks will raise a person’s BAC by .01-.05% depending on several factors such as size, body-mass, gender, age, and any prescriptions the person may be taking. After two to three drinks, most people will have a BAC between .06%. Mental processes including memory, judgment, reaction time, perception, and fine motor skills will be inhibited at that level of intoxication. High BAC is typically associated with a loss of social inhibition, loss of balance, slurred speech, low body temperature, trouble breathing, vomiting, and even death.

Law enforcement relies on two main methods of determining BAC: the field sobriety tests, and breathalyzer analysis.

The Romberg Balance Test:

The Romberg Balance Test is administered broadly across most jurisdictions. The Romberg test is based on certain physiological principles that suggest that three functions are involved in remaining standing still: vision, proprioception (knowing where your body is in space), and vestibular function (the balance provided by the inner ear). Police officers who pull over any driver may administer this test if there is a reasonable suspicion that the driver is intoxicated. The officer will ask the suspect to stand still with their feet together, tilt their head back and close their eyes, and ask them to estimate how long 30 seconds takes to pass.

The officer will be looking for:

  1. body sway
  2. eyelid or body tremors
  3. annunciation of words
  4. the ability to follow directions

Drivers with disabilities or injuries do NOT have to engage in these field tests. The Driver need only communicate that they are medically incapable of performing the tests, and the officer will be constitutionally obliged to respect the driver’s medical limitations.

Breathalyzer Analysis:

Breathalyzers determine the BAC by measuring certain metabolic responses the body has to alcohol. Around 98% of alcohol passes undigested through the digestive system to be later processed by the liver. After alcohol enters the bloodstream, it is circulated throughout the body until it is eliminated by the liver. Before being fully processed, alcohol circulates in the bloodstream and through the lungs where about 2-8% of any alcohol consumed by a person will be exhaled. The amount of alcohol exhaled by a person correlates directly with the amount of undigested alcohol in the bloodstream. Breath tests can detect alcohol consumption up to 24 hours after consumption, but breath tests cannot measure how high an individual BAC may have been in the past. All licensed drivers have given implied consent to receive breathalyzer analysis under Utah law. However, to provide a proper sample, a driver must blow hard and long enough. Some people experience shortness of breath as a result of some medical conditions. If a driver has a genuine medical condition, they must engage in the breathalyzer analysis to the best of their ability. All breathalyzer tests are video recorded, and so all drivers must exhibit a genuine effort to provide a breath sample. But if a driver cannot medically provide a breath sample, they cannot be prejudiced for that disability.

There is no metric currently available for law enforcement to measure the subjective experience of intoxication. There are field sobriety tests that are routinely administered by law enforcement—but some folks operate rather well after consuming a moderate amount of alcohol; while other people may be incapable of performing certain physical tests even having not consumed any alcohol. Because there is no way to determine subjective functionality, law enforcement has come to rely upon blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as an objective standard to describe how drunk a person may be. BAC represents the amount of alcohol actively displacing blood within a person’s body. And research has shown that even small amounts of alcohol directly impede certain mental and physical processes. Legislatures have generated laws based on BAC as a reliable metric, and Utah, for example, currently enforces a BAC of .05% as the legal limit.

Get a Free Case Review with Our Salt Lake City, Utah DUI Defense Lawyer Today

Utah has some of the strictest laws in the nation for driving under the influence of intoxicants. The state depends on proven methods to determine a driver’s level of intoxication, and the punitive consequences of a conviction are rather severe. Law enforcement relies on measuring the blood alcohol content of a driver in order to prove a DUI in a court of law. Educated drivers can evoke their rights, and give themselves the best possible opportunity to challenge any DUI charge. If charged with a DUI, there is a potential for somewhat dire outcomes. Utah sentences offenders to heavy fines and fees for even first-time convictions, and any subsequent DUIs thereafter result in third-degree felony charges and possibly prison time! The overwhelming force of our legal institutions and the potential for punitive outcomes can be incredibly distressing. But there is no need for our clients to worry needlessly—because there are ways to defend against a DUI, and Wasatch Defense Lawyers know how!

Being charged with a DUI is a serious challenge, but it does not need to derail your life. At Wasatch Defense Lawyers, we know how to navigate the criminal justice system to optimize our client’s outcome. Every DUI case is different, but our team of experienced attorneys know how to approach the unique challenge that each DUI client presents.

We’ll go the extra mile to defend you. Call Wasatch Defense Lawyers today for a free case review at 801.980.9965.

Frequently Asked Questions for DUI in Utah

What to do when you are stopped for DUI?

Do not respond to questions such as “How many drinks have you had?” You have a Constitutional right to refrain from responding to a police officer’s queries about alcohol or drug consumption.

Should you submit to a test? Consider that a DUI offense can mean suspension of driving privileges—and refusing to submit to a test will seriously lengthen the suspension.

What are the drunk driving penalties by state of Utah?

The possibilities are many:

  • Fines.
  • Substance abuse education.
  • Jail time.
  • Electronic tracking.
  • Devices that detect and record intoxication levels.
  • Fees to cover the costs of these measures.

You can also be banned from the roads from four months to two years. After a DUI arrest, you have 10 days to petition for an administrative hearing to keep your driving privileges.

How to drop DUI charges?

Pieces of evidence may be suppressed if the police obtained them illegally or made mistakes. In some cases, a Motion to Suppress can result in throwing the entire charge out of court.

Hire the DUI attorney Salt Lake City residents trust. If there are factual and legal reasons your charges may be dropped, that is our first line of attack.

How to get a felony DUI dropped to a misdemeanor?

A Motion for Reduction of Conviction from a felony charge is worth making to avoid jail time or to obtain later expungement from your criminal record. In many cases, we ask for a 402 reduction under Utah Code Section 76-3-402. We argue that justice requires that the degree of your conviction be reduced. If there is no opposition from the other side, the court may grant the motion, either with or without a hearing.

How can a DUI lawyer help me?

Your DUI Defense Attorney in Utah can help by obtaining the best possible outcome in your case.

For instance, a DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City will examine the paperwork and evidence to find shortfalls. Significant errors on the police report may spare you from facing the charges. In other cases, the police may lack reasonable cause to make a traffic stop, make an arrest, or even hold a person for questioning too long.

How much does a DUI lawyer cost?

This depends on the facts and complexity of your case. We can assure you that it is very costly not to have a lawyer experienced with the Salt Lake City area legal system. We know how important this case is to you—and how hard you work for your money. We offer military discounts and payment arrangements.

Protect yourself, your ability to drive, and your job opportunities. Get cost-effective legal representation as soon as possible.

What questions should I ask a DUI lawyer?

Ask how the firm customizes a strategy to meet the needs of the individual client.

Be sure the firm has years of experience with cases similar to yours, and that it offers comprehensive criminal defense. This includes investigation, forensic analysis, and expert witnesses.

Ask how many clients have been jailed. For Attorney Chlarson at Wasatch Defense, the percentage is less than 1%.

Guard Your Rights

Do NOT Waive Your Right to Legal Counsel! Authorities will try get you to incriminate yourself and suggest there is no need for an attorney. Stay calm and call us immediately: 801.980.9965

Experience You Can Trust

We have represented thousands of clients, with countless difficulties and challenges, for more than 100 years. Less than 1% of our clients have ever been incarcerated.

Compassionate & Aggressive

Whether you have a family, financial, or criminal matter – our ethical, caring attorneys listen to YOU and use their expertise and a strong, hands-on approach to get you the best result.