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, or was 21 years or older and had a passenger under 18 years old.
(Utah Code Ann. § § 41-6a-501, 41-6a-502, 41-6a-503, 41-6a-517 (2017).)
Utah's felony DUI law imposes stiffer penalties for certain DUI offenses. A DUI is a third-degree felony when the offender drives under the influence:
(Utah Code Ann § § 41-6a-501, 41-6a-503 (2017).)
Utah's New Legal Limit: the Lowest in All 50 States
In March 2017, Utah became the first state to enact legislation lowering the legal alcohol limit from .08% to .05%. The new law takes effect on December 30, 2018.
"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 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.
(Utah Code Ann. § § 41-6a-509, 41-6a-520, 41-6a-521, 41-6a-524, 53-3-221, 53-3-222, 53-3-223 (2017).)
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. However, because this program is still new, it isn’t yet available in all areas.
(Utah Code Ann. § § 41-6a-505, 41-6a-509, 41-6a-515.5 (2017).)
Criminal penalties" are those that a court imposes once a driver is convicted of DUI. For a first DUI, the criminal penalties include:
Also, check out our article that goes into more depth about the actual costs of a first DUI.
(Utah Code Ann. § § 41-6a-503, 41-6a-505, 41-6a-507, 41-6a-509, 41-6a-503 (2017).)
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.