Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
UT Criminal Defense Lawyer
Howard Lewis & Petersen is experienced in DUI defense, and can help you to navigate the often complex issues involved with the court system.
Utah is an “implied consent” state, which means that by driving a vehicle in Utah, you agree to submit to testing for drugs and alcohol if an officer suspects that you are driving under the influence. These tests, known as Standardized Field Sobriety tests, consist of three tests: 1) the One Leg Stand; 2) the Walk and Turn; and 3) the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. Failure of the SFST’s may trigger mandatory chemical testing of your breath or blood.
Both the SFSTs and the breath and blood tests must be conducted in carefully controlled environments under specific conditions to ensure test accuracy. At HLP, we have the experience to scrutinize each test and to challenge those tests which were performed incorrectly. We can also help challenge mandatory suspensions for refusing to test, but only if we’re contacted within a few days of your arrest.
“Under the Influence “
If your breath or blood test shows that you were driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above, you will likely be prosecuted for DUI. In some other circumstances, you may be prosecuted for DUI even without a BAC of .08 or above, depending on the presence of other drugs in your system or other indicators that you were driving impaired. The more tenuous the evidence proves to be, the greater likelihood that a skilled attorney can successfully fight the charge through negotiation or jury trial.
10 Year Look Back
Utah enhances subsequent DUI penalties by looking at a variety of convictions – not just DUI convictions – over the last ten years. If you’ve been charged with a second, third, or subsequent DUI, it is very important to scrutinize each conviction the state is using to enhance your charge. HLP attorneys regularly challenge DUI enhancements based on incorrect prior convictions.
Penalties for a DUI conviction can be harsh, especially if you have prior convictions.
- Jail time starts at a mandatory 48 hours for a first-time offense, but can be increased by the judge up to six months in jail. The court has the discretion to substitute work service or house arrest, so your attorney should help you present yourself in the best light possible. For a second offense within 10 years, you have to spend 10 days in jail, work service, or house arrest. Third and subsequent convictions within the same 10-year period are considered felonies, and bring over two months of mandatory jail time – and up to 5 years.
- Fines start at $1,405 minimum for a first offense and balloon to $1500 minimum for a third offense. That’s not even including the court assessments, surcharges, or the costs of court-ordered treatment.
- Driver’s License Suspensions could last anywhere from 120 days to two years or more. Then, even after your suspension is over, you could be required to maintain an Ignition Interlock Device or other monitoring to ensure you don’t drink and drive.
If you’re charged with DUI, there are solutions. Even if the evidence seems solid, your attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charge, which can help you avoid the mandatory minimums.