Driving Under the Influence DUI
Utah aggressively prosecutes drunk drivers because of the threat for dangerous accidents drunk drivers pose. A drunk driving charge is called “driving under the influence” or abbreviated to “DUI” in Utah courts, but is also commonly referred to as “driving while intoxicated.” There are multiple ways a driver can be charged with driving under the influence and a lawyer can help you navigate the process.
Utah’s Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limit
First, you may be convicted of driving under the influence if a prosecutor proves that a test administered by a police officer demonstrates that you had a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater at the time you were driving or had actual physical control of a vehicle.
The term “actual physical control” is one of legal art and works to limit when a person can be convicted for “driving under the influence.” When deciding whether a driver was in actual physical control of a vehicle, courts look to details like whether the vehicle was running, whether the vehicle was capable of running, and where the vehicle was located when a drunk person is discovered in it.
The Utah law that describes what must be proven before you are found guilty for driving under the influence gives prosecutors another way to convict you. Regardless of what your blood alcohol concentration was, the law says you may also be convicted of driving under the influence if a prosecutor proves that you were under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug and the alcohol, drug, or combination rendered you incapable of safely operating a vehicle.
It is important to understand that this law allows you to be arrested, charged, and convicted for driving under the influence even if your blood alcohol concentration was under 0.08%.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
DUI penalties can be harsh. Our DUI lawyers can ensure your rights are protected and make sure the court treats you fairly.
A first or second DUI is a class B misdemeanor punishable with up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1000 fine. If it is your first or second DUI, and you caused injury to another, had a passenger under 16 years old, or you are 21 years or older and had a passenger under 18 years old, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor. You will face up to one year in jail and up to a $2500 fine.
If, while driving under the influence, you cause serious bodily injury to another or you have two or more prior DUI convictions each within 10 years of the current conviction, you are guilty of a 3rd Degree felony. In Utah, 3rd Degree felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to a $5000 fine.