The Utah DUI Guide

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I just got arrested for a State of Utah DUI charge.  What happens next?


ISSUE ONE:  The Utah Implied Consent:  Under Utah law, a person operating a motor vehicle in Utah is considered to have given the person's consent to a chemical test or tests of the person's breath, blood, urine, or oral fluids for the purpose of determining whether the person was operating or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.  This is known as Utah's implied consent law. 


Pursuant to Utah's implied consent law, your Utah drivers license (or your right to drive in Utah if you're not a Utah licensed driver) was most likely revoked for 18 to 36 months if you refused a chemical (breath) test. This revocation typically begins on the 30th day following your arrest.


Read your paperwork carefully.  If you act within 10 days, you can request a hearing from the Utah Drivers License Division your proposed administrative revocation.  A hearing on your appeal will then be held within 29 days of your arrest. 


Speak to your Utah DUI attorney for more information about contesting your administrative (implied consent) license revocation. 



ISSUE TWO:  The Utah DUI Criminal Case:  Separate from the implied consent license proceeding is the criminal charge either for driving under the influence (DUI).  Under Utah law, you may not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle within the State of Utah if you:


(a) have sufficient alcohol in the your body that a subsequent chemical test shows that you have a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or greater at the time of the test;
(b) is under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle; or
(c) has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 % or greater at the time of operation or actual physical control.

Important:  The implied consent and the criminal DUI case are completely separate from one another. 


Will my Utah driver license be suspended or revoked?


RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE:  Your Utah driver license (or your right to drive in Utah if you do not have a valid Utah license) may be revoked in the implied consent proceeding for refusing a chemical test for alcohol and / or drugs.  This revocation is for one year. 


Again, you may challenge this proposed suspension / revocation in an administrative hearing this revocation if you make a timely hearing request.

RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE:  If you are convicted of the DUI charge, your Utah license (or your right to drive in Utah if you don't have a valid license) for between 30 days and three years depending on your DUI / DWI history.


My car was towed after my arrest.  How do I get it back?


To obtain a release for the vehicle, the vehicle owner must:

Present legal photo ID that proves the owner to be the legal, registered owner.

Provide a copy of the TC-540 Vehicle Impound Report (provided by the arresting officer). 

Show proof that the vehicle is properly registered.  If the vehicle is not properly registered, the vehicle must be registered and all taxes and fees paid before it may be released.

Pay the DUI impound fee ($330) in addition to any other taxes or fees due.

The vehicle owner will then be given a letter of release.  The vehicle must be claimed within 30 days, or it will be sold.

What happens if I get caught driving while my license is revoked?


Driving while your license is revoked for a test refusal or a DUI conviction should be avoided, as it is a separate criminal offense.  If you have more than one DUI conviction in the past 10 years, and you are convicted of driving after a revocation, you face mandatory jail time.


I really need to drive.  Will I be able to get a restricted license / work permit / occupational / conditional / probationary permit?

If you're convicted of the DUI charge, the court has the discretion to authorize limited driving privileges for the period of your revocation.  If granted, these privileges generally allow you to operate a vehicle for purposes of employment, sobriety testing, school attendance, and for counseling programs.


If you're revoked for refusing a breath test, the secretary of public safety may authorize you to drive for employment purposes.

What is the difference between a DUI, DWI, OWI, OUI etc.?


These terms are all acronyms that refer to the crime commonly known as "drunk driving."  Different states have different names for the crime.  For example, in Iowa the acronym OWI (operating while impaired / intoxicated) is used; New York, Texas and other states use the term DWI (driving while intoxicated).  Utah law refers to: driving under the influence (DUI) and actual physical control (APC). 


Is a Utah DUI offense a misdemeanor or felony charge?

In Utah, a first or second DUI conviction within a 10 year period is a misdemeanor charge.  If you are convicted of a third or subsequent DUI within a 10 year period, it is a felony offense.  It is also a felony offense if while driving under the influence you cause serious bodily injury to another person.

What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of an Utah DUI / Aggravated DWI charge?


Upon conviction of an Utah drunk driving offense, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties.  A range of penalties is set forth below: 


(for persons 21 years of age or over)
misdemeanor crime

  • fine of at least $700;
  • at least 48 hours of jail; compensatory service work; or home confinement;
  • 120 day Utah license suspension;
  • 18 month ignition interlock device.
(second conviction within 10 years)
misdemeanor crime

  • fine of $800;
  • at least 240 hours of jail; compensatory service work; or home confinement;
  • three year Utah license suspension.

(third conviction within 10 years)
felony crime

  • fine of at least $1500;
  • at least 1500 hours jail;
  • three year Utah license suspension;
  • six year ignition interlock license.
Note 1:  The
Note 2:  A

Will my defense lawyer be able to plea bargain / negotiate my Utah DUI / APC charge down to another (lesser) offense?

Possibly.  A person charged with a DUI in Utah may be allowed to plead to an alcohol related reckless driving under some circumstances.  Many times, however, this will not be possible.

Will a Utah DUI / DWI conviction go on "my driving record?"

Yes.  A DUI conviction will go on your Utah driving record and remain indefinitely.

Just how much jail / prison time will I have to do if I am convicted of a DUI in Utah?

The amount of jail time received will depend on a number of different factors, including (but not limited to) the following:

•  your prior driving record especially your DUI history (including any DUI's / DWI's outside of Utah);

•  your level of intoxication / blood alcohol content;

•  whether there was an accident / collision involved;

•  whether there was bodily injury (especially serious bodily injury) to another person;

•  which Utah county or court your case is in;

•  which judge sentences you;

•  whether there was a passenger especially a child under 16 years of age in your car;

•  whether the judge feels you have accepted responsibility.


I am licensed to drive in a state other than Utah and I was cited for a DUI / APC in Utah.  Will my driver license be revoked or suspended?

Utah only has the authority to revoke your right to drive in the State of Utah.  However, Utah and 44 other states and Washington D.C. have adopted an agreement known as the "Driver License Compact."  Utah will report a driving under the influence conviction to the home state of the driver (assuming the home state has also adopted the Compact).  Your home state will then generally take action to suspend or revoke your drivers license.

This also works in reverse.  If you are a Utah licensed driver and you are convicted of a DWI / OWI / DUI in another state, Utah will suspend or revoke your license if it learns of your conviction. 

Will I have to install an Ignition Interlock Device on my car?


An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breath alcohol measurement device that is connected to a motor vehicle ignition system.  In order to start the vehicle, a driver must blow a breath sample into the IID which then measures alcohol concentration. 


If you are convicted of a Utah DUI offense, you will be required to install an IID in your vehicle for at least 18 months.  If you are required to install drive only with an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, it is a Class B misdemeanor crime to drive without an IID installed.

What will a Utah DUI do to my ability to keep my liability insurance?

If your insurance company finds out about a Utah (or other) DUI conviction one of two things are likely to happen.  Either your Utah insurance company will raise your insurance rates or your policy may be cancelled or not renewed. 

Are there special concerns for licensed pilots who get an Utah DUI?


Yes.  The FAA has special reporting requirements for certain Motor Vehicle Actions including Utah DUI convictions and implied consent license revocations.  Learn more about the FAA requirement here.

I missed my DUI criminal court appearance.  What do I do now?

Failing to appear (FTA) for court is to be avoided.  When you miss a Utah court appearance, bad things happen.  At a minimum, the Utah court typically issues a summons or warrant for your arrest (sometimes known as a bench warrant).  You may also face a new, additional criminal charge for "failure to appear."  Talk to an attorney as soon as possible.  Often, your only option is to turn yourself in on the outstanding warrant.  A new court date will then be scheduled for you.

Can I represent myself in court on my Utah DUI or other criminal charge(s)?

Yes.  You have an absolute right to represent yourself on any Utah criminal charge no matter how serious including an Utah DUI charge.  Keep in mind that Utah DUI defense is a complex area of the law as shown by the information in this website.  If you cannot afford to hire your own attorney, you definitely should apply for a court appointed attorney.  You have no right to court appointed counsel at any administrative license revocation hearing.

Copyright 2010 - 2012


Websites, including this one, provide general Utah DUI information but do not provide legal advice or create a lawyer / client relationship.  General information cannot replace legal advice about your case, criminal charge, or situation.  Consult qualified Utah Drunk Driving - DUI - DWI lawyers / attorneys for advice about any specific problem or Utah drunk driving charge that you have.  Utah attorneys are governed by the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct.  This website may be considered an advertisement for services under these Rules.  Information contained in this website is believed to be accurate but is not warranted or guaranteed in any way.  No attorney associated with this website is specialized or certified in any way.  Utah DUI frequently asked questions.


Providing drunk driving (DUI) and criminal defense representation to the communities of:  Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Provo, West Jordan, Sandy, Orem, Ogden, St. George, Salt Lake County, Utah County, Weber County, and Washington County.  How to beat a DUI.  What happens with a UT DUI.  Utah attorneys may accept credit cards (VISA, Mastercard, and American Express). 


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