DUI Attorney in Salt Lake County, Utah
Decades of DUI Case Experience
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol is a serious charge that is prosecuted aggressively in Utah. It is also an enhanceable charge, meaning that a third DUI charge of DUI in a ten year period can be charged as a Third Degree Felony. A DUI can also be charged as a felony if the accused has also inflicted serious bodily injury on another person as a result of driving under the influence. A DUI can also be charged as a Class A Misdemeanor if you are over the age of 21 and there is a minor under the age of 18 in the vehicle. Or if you're under 21 and the minor is under the age of 16.
Most often, in a DUI case, the prosecution’s witnesses are police officers, who can be easily contacted by the prosecutor and who will usually appear in court for hearings or a bench and/or jury trial. But as in all criminal cases, the state bears the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
As part of the process of a DUI charge, you have 10 days from the day you're cited for a DUI charge to request an administrative driver's license hearing with the Utah Drivers License Division. If you prevail at this hearing and can convince the hearing officer that you were arrested for DUI without the arresting officer having reasonable grounds to believe that you were DUI as a result of the arresting officers' investigation, you may be able to protect and keep your driver's license. In Utah, a driver’s license can be suspended from 120 days to three years based on a DUI arrest.
The first step in defending a DUI charge is to determine whether the officer who made the initial stop of the vehicle had an objectively reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver of the vehicle violated any law. In other words, criminal activity might be at hand and further investigation is required. If the stop was made without this required reasonable suspicion, you may be able to have the case dismissed.
As part of a valid DUI charge, the officer, after making the initial stop, must, before placing you under arrest for a DUI, have an objective basis to show probable cause that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Probable cause exists if the facts and circumstances known to the officer provide an objective basis to believe that the driver of the vehicle has committed, is committing, or is attempting to commit a crime. If this required probable cause is shown to be lacking, you may be able to have the evidence in the case suppressed and have the case dismissed.
Driving under the influence (DUI) charges can have severe legal implications, varying from misdemeanors to felonies. In Utah, understanding the consequences associated with these charges is crucial to mounting a strong defense.
Misdemeanor DUI Charges in Utah: The Legal Landscape
Misdemeanor DUI charges in Utah are serious offenses that can lead to penalties such as fines, license suspension, and even potential jail time. Utah employs a blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold of 0.08% for adults, and for drivers under the age of 21, any detectable amount of alcohol can result in a DUI charge. It is important to note that the penalties for misdemeanor DUI can escalate for repeat offenses within a certain timeframe. Understanding the legal limits and potential consequences of misdemeanor DUI charges is essential for anyone facing such allegations. There are several factors that can impact the severity of misdemeanor DUI charges in Utah. These include the level of intoxication, any prior DUI convictions, and whether or not there was a minor present in the vehicle at the time of the offense. A DUI charge may be elevated to a felony if it involves serious injury or death.
The Escalation: Felony DUI Charges in Utah
Felony DUI charges in Utah represent a significant escalation in legal severity. Certain circumstances can elevate a DUI offense to a felony, including multiple DUI convictions, causing serious injury or death while under the influence, or driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a prior DUI conviction. Felony DUI charges carry substantially higher penalties, potentially leading to extensive prison time, hefty fines, mandatory substance abuse programs, and long-term driver's license revocation. Having a clear understanding of what can trigger a felony DUI charge is crucial to developing a robust defense strategy.
Securing Legal Support for a Strong Defense
In the face of DUI charges, securing legal representation from a reputable criminal defense attorney is paramount. A skilled attorney can assess the case intricacies, challenge evidence, and craft a defense tailored to the specific situation. Engaging a professional with expertise and experience in navigating the legal system is crucial when considering a ten-year lookback period that encompasses any out-of-statistical occurrences. This ensures the best possible outcome for the accused, providing them with the guidance necessary to navigate the complexities of the legal process. A criminal defense attorney can also negotiate with the prosecution for reduced charges or alternative sentencing options. They can also advise on potential plea bargains and help determine if it is in the defendant's best interest to accept them.
In the face of DUI charges in Utah, understanding the nuances between misdemeanor and felony charges is vital. Seek the guidance and expertise of a skilled defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected and to mount a strong defense against DUI allegations.
If you are facing DUI charges in Utah, protect your future by reaching out to our experienced defense attorneys. Contact us today to secure professional legal representation and navigate the complexities of DUI charges effectively.