Third-Offense DUI in Utah

Read about the consequences of a Third-offense DUI in Utah.

In Utah, it's illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you’re facing a third DUI in ten years, the penalties are stiffer than those for a first or second offense. Generally, you can be convicted of DUI if you drive:

  • while "incapable of safely operating a vehicle" due to drugs or alcohol (impairment DUI), or
  • with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more (“per se” alcohol DUI).

Typically, a driver who’s convicted of DUI is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. However, a driver who's convicted of a third DUI is guilty of a third degree felony.

(Utah Code Ann. §§ 41-6a-501, 41-6a-502, 41-6a-503, 41-6a-517 (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

"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 second DUI, the administrative penalties include:

  • Per se alcohol and per se drug DUI. Drivers arrested for per se DUI for a third time in ten years will have their license revoked for two years. Once the two years is up, the driver needs to apply for a new license before getting back behind the wheel.
  • Chemical-test refusals. Motorists who refuse a chemical test (in violation of Utah’s implied consent law) and have already had their license suspended or revoked from a previous DUI arrest or conviction within the last 10 years face a three-year license revocation. The same penalty applies to motorists who refuse a chemical test a second time. Also, a prosecutor can use a refusal as evidence of guilt in court.

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 ten calendar days of the arrest, you forfeit your right to challenge the above administrative revocations.

(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).)

Criminal Penalties

Criminal penalties" are those that a court imposes once a driver is convicted of DUI. For a felony DUI, the criminal penalties include up to five years in prison or 1,500 hours in jail. The fines and surcharges for felony DUI are at least $2,850 (third-degree felonies can carry a fine up to $5,000). If the judge doesn’t impose a prison sentence, the driver must complete a term of supervised probation. Convicted motorist are also required to complete a drug/alcohol screening and assessment and comply with any recommended treatment. If the driver's BAC was .16% or greater, the court generally is required to order an IID, SCRAM bracelet, and/or electronic home monitoring. And a judge who’s convinced the driver is a safety hazard can order an additional 90-day to two-year license suspension.

(Utah Code Ann. §§ 41-6a-502, 41-6a-503, 41-6a-505, 41-6a-507, 41-6a-509, 41-6a-503 (2017).)

Talk to an Attorney

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.

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