In Utah, it's illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Generally, you can be convicted of DUI if you drive:
Typically, a driver who's convicted of a first DUI is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. However, a first DUI is generally a class A misdemeanor if the driver caused bodily injury to another, had a passenger under 16 years old, was 21 years or older and had a passenger under 18 years old, was traveling the wrong way on a street, or entered or exited a freeway except at designated entrances or exits.
"Administrative penalties" are those imposed by the Utah Driver License Division (DLD). These penalties are triggered by a DUI arrest (as opposed to a conviction in court). For a first DUI, the administrative penalties include:
At the time of your arrest, the officer will confiscate your driver's license and issue a citation that serves as a temporary license for 29 days. If you don't request a hearing within 10 days of the arrest, you forfeit your right to challenge the above administrative suspensions.
And if you are later convicted in criminal court of DUI, the DLD will suspend your license for an additional 120 days.
24/7 Sobriety Programs
Until recently, successfully challenging a suspension at your administrative hearing or obtaining a dismissal of DUI charges was the only way to shorten a license suspension. Now, Utah has a "24/7 Sobriety Program" that allows drivers to get their license back more quickly. Utah's 24-7 Sobriety Program requires you to:
- abstain from alcohol and drugs
- submit to random drug testing
- submit to alcohol testing twice daily at a testing facility, and
- wear a device that continuously monitors for alcohol consumption (sometimes called a "SCRAM" bracelet).
If you successfully complete this program, the judge can shorten the suspension period triggered by a DUI conviction. The judge can also suspend the mandatory jail time upon successful completion of the program.
"Criminal penalties" are those that a court imposes once a driver is convicted of DUI. For a first DUI, the criminal penalties depend on the BAC level, the presence of drugs, and whether the DUI can be charged as a felony. If a driver's BAC is .16% or higher, or .05% or higher in addition to any measurable controlled substance, or two or more controlled substances in the driver's body that were prescribed or legally ingested under Utah's medical marijuana law, then the following minimum mandatory penalties apply:
The court may also require the driver to participate in a substance abuse treatment program, the 24/7 sobriety program, and "supervised probation"—meaning the driver's compliance with the conditions of sentencing, terms of probation, and other court orders will be monitored by the supervising probation agency.
In all other first offense non-felony DUIs, the mandatory minimum jail time is two days or 48 hours of community service. All the other penalties are the same.
If you've been arrested for driving under the influence, get in contact with an experienced DUI attorney. A qualified DUI attorney can help you navigate the complexities of DUI law and tell you how the law applies to the facts of your case.