What Is a Felony DUI in Utah?

Aggravating factors that can make a drunk driving charge a felony.

In Utah, you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05% or more or while under the influence of (impaired by) drugs or alcohol. Most DUI convictions are misdemeanor criminal offenses. However, certain aggravating factors can make a DUI a felony, a much more serious crime.

Here are some of the circumstances that can result in felony DUI charges in Utah.

Third DUI Conviction Is a Felony

For most first, second, and in Utah, an offender will be facing misdemeanor charges. But when an offender has two or more prior DUI convictions, the current offense generally can be charged as a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony generally carries up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Even if the judge grants probation, the offender still faces mandatory minimum fines and jail time. If the driver's BAC exceeds .16% or .05% and a measurable controlled substance or has at least two measurable controlled substances in his or her system, the driver will pay of fine of at least $1,500 and spend no less than 120 days in jail or in home confinement. Otherwise, the driver is looking at 60 days jail time and the $1,500 fine.

Felony Charges for DUIs Involving Serious Injury

Drivers who cause serious bodily injury to another person because of drugs or alcohol in their system will face felony charges in Utah. If the driver caused injuries to multiple victims, the state can charge the driver with a separate felony DUI for each victim.

Felony Charges for DUIs Involving Death

Causing the death of another person while driving under the influence is considered "automobile homicide."

If the driver was negligent in causing the death of another, then the prosecutor can charge the driver with a third-degree felony. However, if the driver was criminally negligent (more extreme conduct) in causing the death of another, the state can charge the driver with a second-degree felony.

Depending on the situation, the driver could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 for a third-degree felony and one to 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine for a second-degree felony. If the motorist caused the death of multiple individuals, the state can charge the motorist with a separate second-degree felony DUI for each victim.

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