DUI in Utah

What is a DUI in Utah?

In Utah, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) refer to all forms of drunk-driving violations. A motorist with a BAC of 0.05 or greater is legally considered under the influence. However, there is no actual BAC limit if the driver is under 21 years. This is because Utah operates a "not a drop" law that disallows youngsters from ingesting alcohol before operating a vehicle. DUI penalties include license suspension or revocation, jail time, mandatory alcohol education, fines, etc.

A driver can get a DUI in Utah even without physically controlling a vehicle. For example, motorists found seated in the driver's seat with the keys in their possession, but the car turned off may be arrested for DUI. The primary goal of this law is to keep motorists safe from even the potential danger that an intoxicated driver creates when getting behind the wheel. The state's Division of Motor Vehicles (Utah DMV) records and disseminates all traffic violation documents. Depending on the nature of the offense, records of these offenses may be included in the offender's Utah criminal records. The Utah District & Justice courts have jurisdiction over DUI and DWI cases. The clerk of these courts in Utah maintains records of DUI or DWI cases handled in their specific courthouses.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Utah?

DUI is an acronym that stands for "Driving Under the Influence," while DWI means "Driving While Intoxicated". In some states in the U.S., a DWI refers to driving while impaired. Officially, in Utah, there is no distinction between DUI and DWI. However, people use the term DWI and DUI interchangeably in relation to drugged/drunk driving. So, motorists in Utah can be charged if they exhibit behaviors that suggest impairment regardless of the lack of substances in their system. Utah Code Section 41-6a-502 states the restrictions under which a motorist cannot drive in Utah.

DUI Penalties in Utah

In Utah, the penalties for DUI vary depending on the motorist's prior drunk-driving convictions in the past ten years. These penalties include:

  • Jail time of between 2 days to 180 days.
  • A minimum fine of $1420.
  • If the motorist's BAC is as high as .16 (or higher), an "ignition interlock device" will be fixed into the car. The device must remain installed for a minimum of 18 months, and the offender is responsible for the installation and rental fees of the device.
  • License suspension for 120 days for offenders above 19 years and for younger motorists, an additional 12 months.
  • 12 months probation.

What Happens When You Get a DWI in Utah?

The State of Utah does not regard a DWI as a separate offense. Instead, it categorizes these offenses in the same way as a DUI with the same penalties as provided in Utah Code Section 41-6a-502. Law enforcement officers are responsible for arresting drivers driving under the influence in Utah. However, because it is a Class B misdemeanor, the offender can quickly get bail. In Utah, motorists convicted of DUI are usually required to do community service, mandatory jail time, pay a hefty fine, and their driving privileges are normally suspended.

What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in Utah?

A first-time DUI offense in Utah is considered a class B misdemeanor in Utah. However, if the motorist caused a bodily injury or had an under 16 passenger, the first-time offense will be regarded as a class A misdemeanor.

When law enforcement officers suspect motorists of being intoxicated, they ensure the motorists take chemical tests to ascertain their BAC level. In Utah, the legal BAC limit is.05, according to Utah Code Section 41-6a-502. Hence, any driver with an alcohol concentration of .05 or higher will be arrested. Upon arrest, some administrative penalties would be imposed by the state's DLD (Driver License Division).

The administrative penalties for a DUI in Utah are license suspension for 120 days and an 18-month revocation of license for drivers who violate Utah's implied consent law. In addition, under the Utah Code Section 41-6a-502, a motorist convicted for a first-DUI offense may face the following criminal penalties:

  • Jail time of between 2 days to 6 months.
  • A fine of about $1,370.
  • A minimum fine of $2,500 applies to drivers transporting a child under the age of 16 or the offender inflicted bodily injury upon another person.

What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in Utah?

A second DUI offense in Utah is also classified as a misdemeanor offense. Administrative penalties for Second DUI offenders are imposed by the Utah Driver License Division (DLD). The license of the motorist will be revoked for two years. Second-time DUI offenders who refuse a chemical test in violation of Utah implied consent law would face an additional one year license revocation. Upon arrest, the police officer will issue a citation that serves as a temporary license for 29 days, and offenders are expected to request a hearing within ten days of the arrest. Criminal penalties for a second DUI offense include:

  • Jail time of about 5-10 days plus 720 consecutive hours of electronic monitoring
  • A minimum fine of $1,560.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installation for two years

What Happens After a Third DUI in Utah?

Motorists convicted of a third DUI in Utah are guilty of a third-degree felony. A third DUI offense attracts administrative penalties, usually imposed by the Utah Driver License Division (DLD). Third-time DUI offenders are persons found guilty of a DUI offense for the third time in 10 years; they are liable to have their licenses revoked for two years. After that, the offender will have to apply for a new license before driving.

Upon arrest, the police officer will issue a citation that serves as a temporary license for 29 days, and offenders are expected to request a hearing within ten days of the arrest. Aside administrative penalties, criminal penalties are also imposed on the offender by Utah Courts. These penalties include a maximum of 5 years in prison or 1,500 hours in jail. However, if the judge doesn't impose a prison sentence, the motorist must complete supervised probation. In addition, offenders are likely to pay a minimum fine of $2,580 and a maximum of $5,000 and complete a compulsory alcohol or drug screening test or assessment.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Utah?

When motorists get convicted of DUI in Utah, it remains on their record for a period of 10years. DUI penalties carry license suspensions, and the state might need to track DUI convictions. However, based on the judge's discretion, this length of time may be reduced. Offenders can appeal in court for DUI expungement or be removed from their records. In addition, a DUI conviction record can affect your ability to get a new job because potential employers could find your history when considering you for a job.

DUI Expungement in Utah

In the state of Utah, offenders can expunge their DUI records. They can start by filing a petition with the city's district court where they were convicted. To qualify for DUI expungement, the offender must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for Expungement from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI).

According to the Utah Expungement Act, offenders cannot seek DUI expungement except:

  • They complete the payment of fines and interests.
  • They complete the prescribed probation and jail time.
  • They have spent at least ten years after the DUI offense and completing all DUI penalties.

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Utah?

In Utah, jail time after a first offense is very likely. DUI offenders with a first DUI conviction may serve between 2 days to six months of jail time, depending on the nature of the offense and its severity.

What is the Average Cost of DUI in Utah?

The overall cost of a DUI in Utah varies greatly. The fines and penalties of a DUI might differ from case to case, but they typically include:

  • Impound Fees: when motorists are pulled over and arrested for DUI, their cars are usually towed and impounded. They are often required to pay towing and impound fees, depending on the location and company.
  • Court Costs: a DUI offense in Utah is a Class B misdemeanor. Hence, a first-time offense carries a combined maximum fine of $1940. The court can suspend up to $520 from the fees.
  • Attorney Costs: motorists are free to represent themselves in court, or they can get an attorney. A Utah DUI attorney who is well-versed in the state's DUI policies. In most cases, attorney fees may range from $1000 to $10000, depending on the case and the attorney's expertise.
  • Alcohol Treatment Program: a DUI offense in Utah requires motorists to enroll in a drug or alcohol treatment program. Motorists are responsible for paying for this program which may be expensive.
  • Driver's License Fees: even if motorists are acquitted of a DUI offense, their license can be suspended. After completing this suspension period, motorists would have to pay a minimum of $275 to reinstate their drivers' licenses. They may also have to pay for an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), which requires them to take and pass a breathalyzer test before their keys turn on their ignitions and their cars start. The cost for this device is about $100 for installation, and they will have to pay a monthly rental fee of about $75-$100. So, for 18 months, they can expect to pay above $1400.

How Much is Bail for a DUI in Utah?

When a motorist is arrested for a DUI in Utah, bail may be required. The offender can decide to pay for bail personally or seek the services of a lawyer or bail bondsman. The bail for a DUI in Utah will vary depending on the nature of the offense. For example, a first-time DUI offender in Utah typically faces a class B misdemeanor, and the bail for a class B misdemeanor is $680. However, a third-time DUI offense is graded as a class A misdemeanor, and the bail payment is $1,950. In some instances, a DUI offense can be deemed a third-degree felony, and the bail for third-degree felonies is $5,000. There are also various payment options for bail; an offender could pay cash, use their credit or debit card, or use a surety to secure bail in other cases.

How to Get My License Back After a DUI in Utah?

Aside from paying fines, jail time, community service, and other penalties, Utah motorists arrested for DUI will also have their license suspended temporarily.

The reinstatement of driving privileges in Utah will require motorists to request a hearing; the offender will be required to do this within ten days of being arrested, weekends and holidays inclusive. It is challenging to obtain a hearing after the 10-day deadline.

Eligible offenders may begin the process of requesting a license reinstatement by filling out the Hearing Request Form provided by the Utah Department of Public Safety to request a hearing.

An administrative law judge is in charge of a DUI hearing and will determine whether a license suspension would be appropriate or not. The hearing is also open to the offender's arresting officer and legal representative. However, if the judge denies the motorists' request to restore their licenses, they may still be eligible for an alternative license called a "limited license". Although a limited license has many restrictions, motorists will be allowed to drive to and from work.

How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in Utah?

DUI has severe consequences for individuals in Utah. In most cases, a DUI conviction will have severe long-term implications, including:

  • A person's ability to travel internationally can be affected because it can appear on their record.
  • If a person's driver's license is revoked due to DUI, they might not be able to renew their passport.
  • The motorists might find it difficult to rent a vehicle.
  • The offender's custody rights can also be affected.
  • The motorist may have issues securing a job because a DUI conviction will appear on their background checks and criminal records.
  • Although people with DUI convictions can still carry insurance on their vehicles, they often experience increased insurance. This is because DUI offenders are considered a high risk to their insurance companies. Some insurance companies can even go as far as canceling their insurance policies.
  • Convicted DUI motorists spend a lot on bail, attorney fees, counseling fees, etc.
  • DUI offenders might have to skip work to attend a court hearing, which can lead to their employment termination.
  • Convicted motorists may face educational and academic obstacles because most schools can deny them admission. It can also prevent them from getting scholarship opportunities and financial aid.
  • Commercial drivers arrested for DUI might get their commercial driver's licenses canceled, especially if convicted.
  • The economic and emotional stress of a DUI can affect the offender's relationships (professional, personal and romantic), and it will affect their health in the long run.

Can You Get Fired for a DUI in Utah?

Utah is an "at-will" employment state, suggesting that an employer can hire or fire an employee on their prerogative. Hence, a person's employment can be terminated because of a DUI charge. DUI issues can demand offenders to spend time in jail or attend to DUI issues in court. This will likely cause the employee to be away from work, and the employer can fire said employee for unproductivity. Even in cases where the motorist opts not to tell their employee about the DUI offense, they can check with the Driver License Division of the Utah Department of Public Safety. However, if the offender holds a commercial driver's license (CDL) or if driving is part of said offender's job, the employer can decide to fire you. However, it is the employer's discretion to keep or fire an employee with DUI criminal records.

How Do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Utah?

DUI checkpoints are legal in Utah, and they are also known as roadblocks or mobile checkpoints. DUI checkpoints are somewhat easy to find because they are clearly marked, and police officers in uniforms are typically stationed there. The best place to find information on the locations of the inspections is on the internet. Motorists can use search engines to see when and whether a checkpoint is in a specific area. Interested persons can search by entering the name of the law enforcement body into the search field available on the site.

Which Is Worse, DUI vs. DWI?

In Utah, there is no legal difference between a DUI and a DWI. The Utah traffic statutes outline the state's laws regarding alcohol consumption (41–6a–502), operating a vehicle with contents of a metabolite or a hard substance in the body (41-6a-517), and Impaired driving (41-6a-502.5). The DUI offense covers all types of impaired driving, from drunk driving to driving while under the influence of drugs. Because of Utah's implied consent law, all persons with an active driver's license are subject to testing for legal alcohol limits. If a person's blood alcohol content (BAC) is .05 or above, the person faces a DUI charge which stays on record for ten years.