If a person is convicted of a DUI or a Driving While Impaired charge, it is statutorily required that the person participate in drug and alcohol treatment by a state certified agency. The class is called the Prime for Life Class. This is a 16 hour course taught by agencies throughout Utah. In fact, many courts have agency representatives sitting in Court signing people up once they enter their plea. I recommend most of my clients to take some proactive steps and do the class prior to attending the court hearing. Here is a link to a list of providers all over Utah who are on the court approved list.
After many showed up to the committee meeting to oppose this bill, Rep. Perry put the bill on hold for further study.
Here is an interview wherein Rep. Perry tries to clarify that slightest degree is not a not a drop statute–very confusing.
Yesterday, Rep Lee Perry, proposed changes to the current DUI Law. Right now, there are three ways to violate the Utah DUI Law when it comes to alcohol and drugs. First, you are over an alcohol level of .08 at the time of driving. Second, you are over an alcohol level of .08 at the time when a chemical test is given after driving. Third, you are impaired by drugs or alcohol or a combination of both to the extend that you cannot safely drive a vehicle. The proposal is to change the third prong and to change it drastically. The proposal to is to change the language of the third prong to “impaired to the slightest degree”. Further, the proposed language includes “impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol, drugs, or ANY SUBSTANCE.” This language is so far overreaching that anyone pulled over could be said to be “impaired to the slightest degree by any substance.” Caffeine can impair to the slightest degree. Tylenol can impair to the slightest degree. Advil can impair to the slightest degree. Turkey contains a well known substance called tryptophan, which can impair you to the slightest degree by making you tired. It is interesting that the LDS Church leaders have said the laws do not need to be changed. What this law would do is put law abiding citizens at risk of being arrested who may or may not have something in their system. How hard would it be to prove someone is impaired to the “slightest degree” and allege “any substance”. This is a bill that should not pass or progress any farther. Keep an eye on HB 303, its dangerous.
If you get a DUI from another state, and have a Utah Drivers License, Utah will suspend your license as if the DUI conviction occurred in Utah. Many states have similar laws. My friend, Evan Levow, from New Jersery, compiled a database from most states. While his information looks correct, it is always best to contact a DUI attorney in your state to verify the information. Laws change all of the time and there are always exceptions to the rules. The link to database is State by State DUI Penalties.
Thank you Evan to your hard work.
The Constitution should apply to all equally. A person accused of murder has the exact same rights as someone accused of writing a bad check. This is the way it is supposed to work, but in the real world, it doesn’t. In fact, the Utah Courts and the Utah legislature have continuously found ways to limit the rights of the citizens accused of DUI in Utah. Here is the reality:
- If you are arrested for DUI, the officer will immediately seize your license. No judge, no jury, and you are presumed guilty before anyone hears the facts of your case.
- You can contest your Drivers License Suspension, and if you win the administrative hearing, you can still lose it in the Criminal Proceedings. Double jeopardy does not apply.
- The officer will not read you Miranda warnings until after he has done his investigation, and he may never read them even after you are arrested.
- You do not have a right to an attorney before you give evidence against yourself. In fact, in Utah, you have no right to an attorney when you are deciding to take a chemical test.
- Normally, if you remain silent, the jury cannot hear evidence of you exercising your right to remain silent. However, if you refuse a chemical test, there is a Utah statute that specifically allows the evidence of you refusing to be presented to the jury.
- Officers are required to have a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime in order to pull you over. However, in a DUI check point, officers can pull you over for no reason and check to see if you have been drinking.
- Normally, if the government destroys evidence, the evidence cannot be used against. In a Utah DUI situation, you have no right to retest the chemical evidence against you.
- In Utah, you can be convicted of a DUI even though when you were driving you were below a .08 brac/bac, but yet when you were tested you were above a .08.
The reality is there are DUI exceptions to the constitution. There is no other crime in Utah with so many exceptions to the out citizens constitutional rights.
As the New Year approaches for 2014, troopers, sheriffs, unified police, and local city police will be saturating the state in an effort to arrest people for DUI. There is always a big concentration in Salt Lake City. As an attorney, these saturation patrols concern me. Corners get cut by the police and innocent people get caught in their net and accused of DUI. Just this past month, in the name of DUI saturation patrols, I have defended two people that were totally innocent. One citizen told the officer, I do not drink, I have not taken any medications for two months, and I don’t do illegal drugs. The officer claims he saw many signs of impairment. The man’s blood was drawn, and the results came back showing nothing in his system.
These patrols, such as the one planned this week in Salt Lake City, have purpose and strategy. The purpose is to arrest as many people for DUI as possible and then boast to the media what a good job they did in getting drunk people off the road. As an attorney and practicing in Salt Lake City (and everywhere in the state), I see this every year. The strategy is to find any minor reason to pull citizens over and then test them for DUI. The pull over reasons I have seen in Salt Lake City and other cities are: failure to signal, license plate light out, cross a lane line, make a wide turn, no insurance found on cop’s computer, failing to stop at the sidewalk area before entering the street and a litany of other minor infractions. It is not hard for an officer to find a reason to pull you over, especially when you pull out of a drinking establishment.
Be cautious. Even though it is not against the law to drink and drive, don’t drive if you have had anything to drink. If the officer smells alcohol, the game will be over and you will most likely bet arrested.
The Second Edition of Utah DUI Defense: The Law and Practice has just come out. The first edition was released in 2011. The second edition has been updated with the latest case law, statutes, and strategies in defending DUI’s in Utah. The book took several hours of research, editing, and re-writing certain portions. It has been an exercise of being on top of this specialized area of practice. One thing I have learned from writing these books is that DUI is not as simple as people would like to thing. Second, it is an ever changing area of law. Statutes consistently change every time the legislature get together. The appellate courts make rulings that change DUI laws. The Drivers License Division change their policies. The purpose of the second edition of Utah DUI Defense: The Law and the Practice is to keep the practitioner up to date on these changes, to assist lawyers in Defending these cases, and to educate the public about the complexity of the law. The includes an invaluable CD that contains forms, manuals, videos, and examples of things attorneys will need in defending clients accused of DUI. The book has extensive chapters concerning alcohol DUIs, drug DUIs, metabolite DUIs, and minors and DUIs. The book discusses breath testing, urine testing, blood testing, and field sobriety testing. This book was a labor of love for my fellow practitioner defending people accused of DUI in Utah.
Many people, including judges and attorneys, have the wrong perspective about DUIs in Utah. A lack of knowledge in the area of DUI can have dire consequences to a citizen without realizing it. The Big Lies are:
- A DUI is a “simple charge.” I hear it all the time. ”Should I just go in and plead guilty?” Without knowing it, doing so puts your job, your license, your living situation, your gun rights, and your normal ordinary life at risk. A DUI prevents you from having a concealed weapons permit, can prevent you from having many jobs and security clearances, will suspend your license, and can cause problems with renting an apartment. In this competitive job market, a DUI on your record in Utah, can be the difference of not getting a job.
- A DUI is just like any other Criminal Charge. A DUI in Utah is one of the most complex areas of law. Different rules apply in a DUI a case than in a run of the mill criminal case. For example, you have no right to talk with an attorney before you are asked and then forced (with a warrant) to take a chemical test. You are not given Miranda warnings until the end of the investigation, after you have given evidence against yourself such as field sobriety tests and chemical tests. Third, in no other area of the law can you be convicted of a crime without committing the crime at that time. Utah DUI law says you can be under the limit when you drove, but a subsequent test that shows you were above a .08 at the time of the test can still get you charged and convicted of DUI. Further, a DUI cannot be expunged off your criminal record for 10 years.
- You Must be Guilty of a DUI if you were charged. Police officers are human and make mistakes. They are driven by incentives, promotions, glory, etc. just like everyone else. It is not uncommon for me to have a client be arrested for a DUI and have a chemical test that shows absolutely nothing in the body that would impair them. The field tests are not science, they are only indicators. Many people fail field tests for different reasons than being drunk or impaired by drugs. The reality, an officer can see clues of impairment in any person that is put through field sobriety tests.
- You cannot win a DUI Case. This is the biggest lie I have heard. Every case is unique and different. I’m not saying every case will be won. However, with an experienced Utah DUI Attorney, your chances of winning your case increases greatly. Even the worst circumstances in a case can be overcome by good investigation and a well trained DUI Attorney.
- DUI is a Minor Offense. A DUI in Utah is no minor offense. It used to be viewed as a little more serious than a traffic offense. Now, it has more serious consequences than many felony charges. First, a DUI has minimum mandatory sentencing. Hardly any other crimes in the Utah statutes have minimum mandatory sentencing. Second, a DUI cannot be expunged for 10 years. Most felonies can be expunged after 7 years, class A misdemeanors 5 years, and other class B misdemeanors 4 years. Further, a DUI is permanently on your driver license record. While you can expunge a DUI in Utah after 10 years off your criminal record, it never gets expunged from your driving record. A DUI may have a perception of being a minor offense, but in reality, it can be more serious than many felonies.
I opened my law practice shortly after graduating law school in 1998. There was no big firm dreams for me. I did not want to work for someone else. My dream was to help those in need who could not help themselves. My dream was to be that down to earth lawyer that a client could contact without much effort, to be the lawyer the client could rely on to give good legal advise, and to be the lawyer that would fight even the toughest cases.
I grew up in Ogden and that is why I became an Ogden DUI Attorney. Why DUI? DUI is one of those status crimes that everyone hates, politicians campaign on, and special groups fight for tougher laws and punishments. It was where my rights, your rights, and the rights all citizens begin to wither away. Many people I meet tell me “I won’t ever need you, I do not drink.” Many of those people I later see in my office accused of something they didn’t do, something they did just one time, or something they did many times. Many people get accused of DUI unsuspectingly. I’m talking about prescription drugs. Many people think that because they have a prescription, they cannot be charged with a DUI. Utah law is very specific. A person cannot be impaired to the degree they cannot drive their car safely. So, if you have a prescription drug in your system, and the officer thinks you are too impaired to drive safely, you can and will be charged with DUI. As a DUI attorney in Ogden, I see this all the time. It is hard sometimes when a person comes to see me for a consultation, and I have to tell them this is just not going to get dismissed because they have a prescription. I have to tell them, this is why you will need a lawyer to fight for them. As an Ogden DUI Attorney, I’m proud to represent people in my community in these charges. Last month, a man came into my office in Ogden and asked me, “Do you love your job?”. I looked him straight in the eye and said “YES.” I love the law. I love helping people. A deceased lawyer in Texas, Stuart Kindard had the motto “Protecting the Lord’s children who have fallen short of perfection from the wrath of those who believe they have attained it.” It’s one of my favorites. It is an honor for me to be an Ogden DUI Attorney to represent people in the entire State of Utah against DUI. I love helping good people in bad situations.
I was presenting to UACDL attorneys on Drivers License Suspensions. An area that became real confusing is the area of minors who get a DUI. The reason this gets so confusing is because there are administrative based suspensions and then there are conviction based suspensions.
Utah code 53-3-223 (7)(a)(ii) provides that a person under 21 years of age is suspended administratively for a period of six months 30 days after arrest. If it is a second offense, the suspension period is two years or until the person is 21 years old, whichever is longer. This all happens before the person goes to court.
Here is where the confusion sets in.
After the Drivers License Division suspends on an administrative action, then the person goes to Court and pleads or is convicted of a DUI. Utah Code 41-6a-509 provides the following:
19 years old to 21 years old: Suspension is for a period of one year.
19 years old to 21 years old second offense: two years or until 21, whichever is longer.
Under 19 years old: Suspension is until 21 years old.
Under 19 years old second offense: revoke the person’s license until 21 years old.
The next tricky part is that a Court reporting the conviction can reduce the time frames to 6 months if the person completes several items: screening, assessment, treatment, educational substance abuse, no other motor vehicle convictions, complied with all terms of probation, and a sworn statement of no alcohol consumption.
So in summary, the Drivers License Division will take the initial action for 6 months. If the person is convicted of DUI, then there is an additional 6 month added. The additional 6 months may be reduced by the Court back to the original 6 months if the person complies with the above terms.