In Utah, there are two subcategories of DUI. One of the subcategories is an alcohol-related DUI that pertains to an individual who is driving or in actual physical control of a moving vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. The other definition of DUI is when an individual is operating or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of any drug, including a prescription drug that rendered them incapable of driving or operating the vehicle safely.
What Are Roadside Breath Tests And Standardized Field Sobriety Tests? Are They Always Required In Utah?
There are three common roadside tests whereby a law enforcement officer seeks to establish whether a driver is impaired. The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test is a roadside test that is often administered. A police or law enforcement officer has the driver look at a pen they’re holding four to six inches from their eyes. The officer tracks the eyes’ movements as the pen is moved from side to side in front of the person’s eyes. They are looking for the driver’s ability to follow instructions and whether they follow the pen smoothly. A person who is impaired will often have shaky pupils. Their eyes will not follow the pen smoothly.
The second test is the walk and turn test. The walk and turn test requires the individual who has been stopped to walk nine steps in one direction heel-to-toe, pivot slowly, and walk back. The administering officer is looking for balance, ability to keep track of the number of steps, and whether they are able to follow directions, such as touching their heel to the toe and turning with small pivot steps.
The third common test is the one-Legged stand test in which the individual is directed to stand on one leg and maintain their balance. The law enforcement officer is looking for balance as well as the ability to follow instructions.
Officers look for certain number of clues on each test and mark which clues were and were not observed. The number of clues that they observe will lead them to conclude whether a person shows enough impairment to justify a breathalyzer test.
An individual doesn’t have to do anything but they risk losing their license automatically if they don’t participate.
Can Someone Refuse A Breathalyzer Or Chemical Test Once They’re At The Police Station And Taken Into Custody?
A person can refuse a breathalyzer or chemical test. An individual’s constitutional rights allow them to remain silent, which extends beyond the right to not speak. However, in the event that an individual refuses, the law enforcement officer will seek and almost certainly obtain a warrant to draw blood. Consequently, the individual will have their blood drawn and tested for chemical impairment.
There are also additional consequences to a person’s driving privileges when they refuse a chemical test, including the suspension of their driver’s license.
What Happens To My Driver’s License Once I’ve Been Charged With A DUI In Utah If I Took The Breathalyzer Or Chemical Test, Or If I Refused?
If an individual took the breathalyzer test and was charged with DUI, the Driver License Division will hold a hearing to determine whether there was probable cause to bring the charge. At the hearing, the DLD can suspend your license upon a finding of probable cause. Without that finding, your driving privileges will not be affected. On the other hand, if an individual refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test, then their driving privileges will automatically be suspended.
What Are The Typical Sentences For First, Second, Third, Or Multiple DUIs In Utah?
An individual who simply pleads guilty to the charge of DUI will likely receive a sentence of 48 hours of community service in lieu of two days of jail, a $1,460 fine, be required to submit to an alcohol or substance abuse evaluation to comply with any recommended treatment, attend a Prime for Life class, and be subject to a court probation for a period of 12 to 18 months. A DUI in Utah is a class B misdemeanor. As long as it doesn’t involve an accident in which property or individuals were hurt, it’s probable that a justice court will handle it. An attorney representing a defendant in a DUI will seek for something better in terms of penalties. Often, more agreeable outcomes include a reduction of the DUI charge to a charge called impaired driving, which is an attempt to negotiate towards a plea in abeyance where the charge will be dismissed after you successfully complete a quasi-probationary period. Depending on the facts, you could obtain a dismissal or reduction to reckless driving.
These are good outcomes. Other than impaired driving, those other outcomes don’t count towards the accumulation of future DUIs, which can be important for those who want to stay out of trouble. An individual convicted of a second DUI is often sentenced to 10 days in jail, a fine, a class, and everything else that came in the first sentence. A previous impaired driving will also be retroactively amended to a DUI charge. Therefore, an individual will have two DUIs on their record. A third DUI is charged as a third degree felony. It gets worse from there. Sentencing will vary depending on the judge. The matter will be handled in district court. At that point, an individual should expect their driving privileges to be revoked for a long time.
For more information on DUI Law In Utah, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 923-6565 today.