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An Overview of DUI Penalties in Utah

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

In Utah, a driver’s first driving under the influence (DUI) offense is considered a misdemeanor, unless that DUI was extremely serious, such as a DUI accident causing serious injury or death. Listed below are DUI charges and penalties pulled directly from the Utah Traffic Code, § 502.

According to § 41-6a-502, driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol with an unsafe blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is against the law. For drivers under the age of 21, there is a zero tolerance rule that does not allow for any measurable BAC. For drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), the maximum BAC is .04 percent, while for other drivers that limit is .08 percent.

This specific statute is also distinct from other state’s DUI statutes in that it provides for DUI charges even if the driver’s BAC did not exceed .08 percent. According to the statute, a person can be arrested if their BAC is at or above .08 percent OR can be arrested if they have sufficient alcohol or drugs in their system as to render them incapable of driving safely.

A first or second-time DUI defense offense under this statute can be charged as either a class B misdemeanor or a class A misdemeanor. Typically, DUI offenses will only be charged as class A misdemeanors if that DUI also involved:

inflicting a bodily injurya passenger under 16 in the vehicle of the drunk drivera drunk driver at least 21 years old and a passenger under 18

A first misdemeanor DUI conviction can warrant minimum jail time of 48 consecutive hours, participation in a compensatory-service work program OR participation in home confinement for at least 48 consecutive hours (possibility of an electronic monitoring device). To view all the sentencing requirements for Utah DUIs, visit 41-6a-505 of the Utah Statutes.

A DUI can be charged as a third degree felony under the following circumstances:

The DUI caused an accident that inflicted serious bodily injuryThe drunk driver had two or more prior convictions within ten yearsAutomobile homicide

Utah Statute allows a person charged with a felony DUI to plead to reduce their charges to a misdemeanor provided that they complete the terms of probation, such as potential drug or alcohol counseling and community service.

In addition to criminal penalties that correspond with the type of charge (class A misdemeanor, class B misdemeanor, third degree felony, etc.), those convicted of DUI will also face administrative penalties such as driver license suspension and installation of an ignition interlock device. Each DUI case differs drastically from the next, so to learn more about the charges and sentencing that you could face, contact a Salt Lake City DUI attorney from The Zabriskie Law Firm today.

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