Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Utah DUI Penalties

You've gotten a DUI in Utah and you've heard horror stories and conflicting information about what can happen to you. A friend of your cousin's said you can get five years in prison. Your neighbor told you his roommate got a DUI in Salt Lake City and only got a fine.

So what's the truth about DUI penalties in Utah? Here's some quick facts:


By far, this is my clients' top priority and the number one question they have about it is: how much jail or prison time am I facing? The answer is a resounding: it depends.

On a first DUI you are technically facing six months in jail but if you pled guilty you would possibly only get the minimum mandatory of two days unless you had aggravating circumstances like a high BAC, an accident, you were a jerk to the cop, the prosecutor doesn't like you etc. On a second DUI the minimum mandatory goes up to ten days. On a third, you're now facing five years in prison with a minimum mandatory of 62.5 days. The "minimum" though set by law, varies by judge and prosecutor though so be careful. Some clients that I have tried to go it alone first and ended up getting far in excess of the minimums. When a prosecutor knows you're at their mercy, they can do whatever they want. Best not to go without representation and let that happen. And yes, I have seen first time DUI's get nearly the maximum in jail (it was a bad case though where they hit another car and disabled the other driver).


How much are you going to pay? A lot. Let me emphasize that: A LOT. DUI's are major money-makers for cities, counties and states. A single DUI in Utah, with the impound fees, license reinstatement fees, fines, attorney fees, treatment class fines, etc., could run, in total, somewhere between $5000-$20,000. The court fines are just the tip of the iceberg. A good attorney can help minimize these costs, but not get rid of them entirely. Expect to pay something.


Courts love recommending lots of treatment, even though the studies suggest they have little impact on DUI offenders. Regardless, treatment will probably be part of any deal you negotiate. It can run anywhere from 4 hours of classes to 50 hours of classes depending on the treatment provider chosen. Speak with a good DUI attorney about what treatment providers are good, or get other recommendations from people you may know. You may find reviews of treatment providers online and you can research them there as well. One thing to keep in mind: many treatment providers have you pay for an assessment to determine if you need treatment and then provide the treatment too. Clearly a conflict. Government agencies usually are better on this but BE CAREFUL. Treatment costs can easily skyrocket.


The suspension rules are complex and too broad a topic for a section in a blog post. You need to research them or hire an attorney (sorry to keep saying that but it's just such good advice!) and figure out which sections of the administrative rules and Utah Code apply to your case. Your license could be suspended for as little as four months or as long as three years. This is very fact specific to your case and you need some research or to consult someone knowledgeable to figure out where you fall.


You may not want your work to find out that you have a DUI. There's going to be documents filed, possibly subpoenas sent, phone calls made etc. This is something you need to be wary of if it's important to you. To be honest, the court doesn't care if you get fired over this so you're the only one that can prevent it. Getting a P.O. Box as your official address may not be a bad idea if you don't want people in the home finding out either.


Sadly, this is something that can rarely be prevented. You're going to have lots of them. More if you have a good attorney, less if you have a bad one and they plead you guilty the first chance they get (unless there is a specific reason for doing so and there sometimes is). You're going to miss work, children's birthdays, soccer games etc. You just have to work with your attorney to schedule these the best way possible.


You may feel bad on a moral level that you committed a crime and feel that you deserve punishment. Put that out of your head right now! The prosecutor's job is to prove crimes, not make you feel bad. We all make mistakes. I have defended doctors, lawyers, politicians, Church leaders and on and on. We're human. The point is to get the best possible outcome for you, learn from the experience, and make sure it doesn't happen again. Don't beat yourself up over it if you have a DUI.


There's going to be more associated with a DUI in Utah, like ignition interlock devices, becoming an alcohol restricted driver, having your vehicle towed, having the stigma of the charge on your record etc. Frankly, there's so much that entire books have been written on DUI's. The best thing you can do is hire a good DUI attorney and begin the process as soon as possible.
By Yossof Sharifi Google


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T Charles said...

Based on the penalties for DUI conviction, Utah is strict and prosecute DUI cases without mercy,

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