Salt Lake City DUI Lawyers
Were You Arrested for Driving Under the Influence in Salt Lake County, Davis County, Weber County, Morgan County, & Box Elder County?
Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can be overwhelming. Getting placed in handcuffs and taken to jail is not a pleasant experience for anybody. If you or somebody you care about has been arrested and is facing DUI charges, seek assistance from Jardine Law Offices P.C. as soon as possible. Our Salt Lake City DUI attorneys have the resources and legal expertise necessary to conduct a complete investigation into your case and formulate a solid defense on your behalf.
Do not rest your fate in the hands of an overworked public defender — call us today at (801) 396-9993.
If you or a loved one are facing a DUI, there are some important steps to take right away. First of all, you need to know that there are two different entities that can have a dramatic effect upon your future. Those two entities are: 1) the criminal justice system (the court) and 2) the Driver’s License Division, or DLD (the agency in charge of issuing your driver’s license). The Court has the power to punish you through fines, jail time, and other restrictions. The DLD is the agency that will decide if you can drive or not. Which of these punishments is worse? Going to jail or not being able to drive? For many people, the loss of a driver’s license is by far the more significant punishment.
You Only Have 10 Days to Request Your DLD Hearing
Imagine not being able to legally drive for 120 days. That is four months of not driving.
- How do you get to work?
- How do you drive to the next job site?
- How do you go to the store for groceries?
- How do you pick up your kids from school?
- How do you get to the doctor’s office?
The first step in a DUI case is to preserve the driver’s license. In Utah, you only have 10 days from the date of the citation to request an administrative hearing with the DLD. If you fail to do so, you will automatically lose your license for at least 120 days! The request for the hearing must be done in writing and must be received by the DLD within those 10 days!
This can be confusing, because on the citation that you receive, it typically will state that you must appear in “not less than five, nor more than 14 days after the issuance of this citation. IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR, THE COURT MAY ISSUE A WARRANT FOR YOUR ARREST.”
Most people don’t appreciate the difference between “the court” and the DLD. They believe that if they have contacted the court, they have done everything they need to. This is false.
If you want to keep your license, you must make your request to the DLD within 10 days — end of story.
Protect your rights and either 1) affirmatively make your DLD request in writing or 2) hire an attorney to make that request for you. We make these requests regularly for our clients and know how and where to make them.
Once you have taken steps to protect your license, the next step is to protect yourself from criminal liability.
You Have Not Less Than Five nor More than 14 Days to Request Your Court Hearing
Essentially, you have a nine-day window to contact the court or face a possible warrant for your arrest. The citation says that you must “appear,” but most courts simply want to schedule a hearing for you in that time period. This can be done by calling the appropriate court on the phone. The court’s location and phone number will appear in the upper left-hand corner of your citation. Again, once you hire an attorney, your attorney should take care of this by contacting the court on your behalf. This is a service that we provide to our clients.
Once You Have Requested Both Hearings, You Are Ready to Start Preparing Your Defense
Now that both aspects of the DUI have been addressed, you can begin to prepare your defenses for each of them. Interestingly, while the DLD and the courts operate under different rules and have different consequences, actions taken in either venue may affect the outcome in the other venue. That is precisely why it is important to have an experienced Salt Lake City DUI attorney to assist you in both the DLD hearing and the court hearing.
Keep in mind that at the DLD hearing, the arresting officer will be testifying under oath. We have noticed that police officers are often less prepared at the DLD hearing than they are in court. Consequently, it gives us an opportunity to elicit favorable testimony that can be used later in court.
The Reason for the Stop
The first question that needs to be answered is: “Why were you stopped?” Were you speeding? Did you fail to signal? Were you swerving? Did you run a red light?
There are hundreds of valid reasons why a police officer could stop you, and there are also some invalid reasons to stop you. If the officer alleges you violated a traffic law, they have to be specific, and they have to be telling the truth.
All too often, we see officers that are literally parked outside of the bar waiting for cars to leave the parking lot. These officers will then look for any potential violation, and the moment they see one, they will turn on their overhead lights and pull you over. Sadly, we have seen cases where officers literally make up a reason to stop someone. For instance, they say you didn’t stop before entering the roadway, or that your car crossed the fog line. Sometimes, they say there is an equipment violation. If an officer is alleging you did something wrong, and you know you didn’t, that’s when you need an attorney to help. We have gotten numerous DUI cases dismissed for these reasons. You can read about one of the more famous cases we handled by clicking here.
Exploring the circumstances surrounding the stop is often overlooked. Sometimes, the person feels that because they knew they were over-the-limit, that it’s not worth the time or energy to follow the investigation step by step. We have found that being thorough from start to finish is a recipe for success.
The legal standard for making a stop is that an officer must have “reasonable suspicion” that a crime or traffic infraction was committed in their presence. Basically, that means that the officer must have personally observed some sort of traffic infraction in order to legally stop you. If we can negate the reasonable suspicion, the case can be dismissed.
The DUI Investigation
Once you have been stopped for a legal reason, the police officer will then begin their DUI investigation. Usually, a police officer will try to get close enough to smell your breath. The officer will then ask where you are going or if you have drank any alcohol. If the smell of alcohol is detected or if you admit to drinking any amount of alcohol, that will justify further investigation. Sometimes, an officer will see an open container or drugs in a car, which will also merit further investigation. The officer’s goal now is to develop “probable cause” to arrest you.
Field Sobriety Tests
If the officer has developed reasonable suspicion of DUI, you will be asked to get out of your car to complete field sobriety tests. You will be told that the purpose of these tests is to see if you are safe to drive. In reality, the tests are designed to prove you are intoxicated. The standard battery of tests, as developed by NHTSA, include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk and Turn Test, and the One Leg Stand Test. Each of these tests involves going through a series of movements with your body after having received very little instruction. Your performance on the tests will determine whether you will be arrested for DUI or not. While it is true that alcohol or drugs will affect your ability to perform these tests, the truth is that many people cannot pass the tests even when they are sober.
An experienced attorney can re-evaluate your results from these tests, assuming there is good body cam footage. We often see that local law enforcement have little experience in administering the tests correctly. Failure to administer the tests correctly can result in the case being dismissed, but only if you point out to the judge where the mistakes were made. Again, this is where the value of an experienced attorney comes into play. An experienced attorney will know these tests better than the officer that administered them. They can expose the officer’s errors and bring them to the attention of the judge.
Language & Physical Attributes
While everything is happening, the police officer will be taking notes. They will be evaluating your appearance. Are your eyes bloodshot? Is your face flush? Do you slur your words? Do you take a long time to answer their questions? Do you answer those questions correctly? Do you remember what day it is? Everything that happens is part of the investigation.
Eventually, you will be asked to submit to a chemical test. The officer will ask you to blow into an machine or perhaps submit to a blood or urine test. Your failure to submit to this test could cost you your driver’s license for 18 months or more due to Utah’s Implied Consent law. If you refuse the test, the officer will likely be able to get a warrant to draw your blood without your permission. Almost always, submitting to the test is your best choice. If the test shows that your BAC is 0.05% or higher, you will be arrested for DUI in the State of Utah.
Penalties for DUI in Utah
The penalty system in Utah for DUIs depends on a number of factors, including:
- Driver’s age
- History of DUIs
- Whether there were children in the car
- Whether there was an accident
- Whether someone was injured or not
You can read about all the specifics of DUI penalties in Utah law by clicking here. But, generally speaking, this is what you are looking at:
- First offense: Minimum two days in jail or 48 hours community service; maximum 180 days in jail; $1,380 minimum fine; evaluation and treatment classes; supervised probation at judge’s discretion; ignition interlock not usually required; Class B misdemeanor
- Second offense in 10 years: Minimum 10 days in jail or five days in jail plus 30 days home confinement; maximum 364 days in jail; $1,570 minimum fine; evaluation and treatment classes; supervised probation mandatory; ignition interlock generally mandatory; Class A misdemeanor
- Third offense in 10 years: Minimum zero to five years in prison or 62.5 days in jail; maximum five years in prison; $2,900 minimum fine; evaluation and treatment classes; supervised probation mandatory; ignition interlock generally mandatory; third-degree felony
In addition to these consequences, with a DUI conviction you also become an Alcohol Restricted Driver. That means you cannot operate a vehicle with any alcohol in your system whatsoever for a specified period of time, starting at two years. You will also experience a significant increase in your car insurance premiums.
To have your specific case evaluated, it is best to speak with an experienced attorney. At Jardine Law Offices P.C., we will thoroughly review your situation and identify the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. We will then determine whether you are better off fighting the case or seeking a plea bargain. We will be beside you every step of the way. We are licensed to help in the entire State of Utah.
Call (801) 396-9993 today and let us use our extensive knowledge to your benefit.
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