Impaired Driving – The Reduced DUI Charge for Utah Drivers

Utah drivers who are arrested for a DUI need to know there’s a chance they may be offered a reduced charge known as impaired driving. Although this charge is slightly better than a DUI, it is best to consult with a criminal defense attorney to find out if it is the best option available.

Don’t settle without legal counsel

DUI

Photo by: SanDiego DUIAttorney

When a driver is arrested for a DUI, they may accept whatever charges are thrown at them; this is a major mistake that many Utah drivers make. There is a possibility that a DUI charge can be reduced to impaired driving instead. The option for this reduced charge is not something the prosecution will always offer voluntarily, so it is encouraged to have an educated attorney on your side can help ensure this option is available to those who qualify. If a prosecutor willingly and swiftly offers a plea bargain of impaired driving, it is best to consult with an attorney before agreeing as there may be a better option out there.

DUI-Driving under the influence

A DUI is what Utah Code 41-6a-502 defines as “driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both or with specified or unsafe blood alcohol concentration”. A person may face a DUI charge if they operate a vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 grams or higher. They may also face a DUI charge if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs which would “render the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle.” If someone is arrested for a DUI, it is considered a class B misdemeanor and the guilty party can plan on spending at least 48 hours of jail time, losing their Utah’s driver’s license, and dishing out a hefty fine.

DWI – driving while impaired (impaired driving)

Impaired Driving

Photo by: SanDiego DUIAttorney

DUI and impaired driving; these two terms may sound like different ways of saying the same thing, but there are slight differences that are important to understand. Impaired driving is considered a reduced DUI charge of one degree and according to Utah Code 41-6a-502.5, “[w]ith the agreement of the prosecutor, a plea to a class B misdemeanor violation of [a DUI] may be entered as a conviction of impaired driving ( . . . ) if:

a) The defendant completes court ordered probation requirements; or

b) (i) the prosecutor agrees as part of a negotiated plea; and

(ii) the court find the plea to be in the interest of justice.”
Those facing impaired driving charges are less likely to spend time in jail and will usually have a smaller fine.

Additionally, those facing impaired driving charges will typically either have their driver’s license suspended for half the time of what can happen with a DUI or they may not lose their license at all.

Not for everyone

Not all DUI charges have the potential for being reduced to an impaired driving charge. These plea deals are saved for those who are first time offenders without a criminal history. If someone is hurt or if a minor is in the vehicle at the time of arrest, then a DUI charge will not decrease but increase instead to a class B misdemeanor. If a person is seriously injured because of someone negligently driving under the influence, then the charges can increase even higher to a third degree felony. This is the same charge for repeat offenders with two or more convictions of a DUI or impaired driving within the last 10 years. Regardless of whatever charges a defendant is facing, a criminal defense attorney will help ensure the best possible outcome for his client.

Call a Cab or Phone a Friend – Do Not Drink and Drive

As the smoke from the fireworks has settled and everyone is headed home, those who have been consuming alcohol are being warned by law enforcement to call a cab or phone a friend; do not drink and drive.

Deadly day on the road

Photo by: Matthew Blouir

Photo by: Matthew Blouir

The 4th of July is a day of celebrating our nation’s independence and many do this by consuming mild to excessive amounts of alcohol while playing with dangerous fireworks. This combination itself can be hazardous, but getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking is can be fatal for the driver or others on the road.

Do Not Drink and Drive

Photo by: Michael Fötsch

Be responsible-don’t drink and drive

Residents who end up wasted at the end of the night usually know ahead of time that their plans involve drinking. Instead of making the deadly and usually impaired choice to drink and drive, party-goers are encouraged to be responsible and plan ahead. Some ways to do this include:

• Decide early on a designated driver.
• Give a sober friend the car keys.
• Have a friend or family member pick you up at a determined time.
• Have the number to a cab company on hand and enough cash for the trip home.
• Take public transportation to the party to take away any option of driving home.
• Encourage those around you to not drink and drive as well.

Increased DUI patrols

Photo by: 911 Bail Bonds Las Vegas

Photo by: 911 Bail Bonds Las Vegas

Law enforcement officials throughout Utah are warning residents that they will have an increased amount of patrols out in full force to catch drunk drivers this 4th of July. Those who drink and drive and a caught by one of the numerous DUI stops planned for the holiday can face days to weeks in jail and up to thousands of dollars in fines. Additionally, choosing to drink and drive for one night can result in a suspended license for up to 2 years. Those facing DUI charges with or without being the cause of an vehicular accident are encouraged to contact a criminal defense attorney.

Saratoga Springs Bus Driver Arrested For Possible DUI

A bus driver transporting special needs children in Saratoga Springs Utah was arrested last week for a possible DUI.

DUI or unsure footing?

DUI

Photo by: ThoseGuys119

52 year old Sherry Lund was transporting a small group of special needs kids from an Alpine School District elementary when a parent noticed her stumble getting a child off the bus. Allegedly, Lund did not recover immediately from her fall and stayed on the ground while the parent called police. By the time officers arrived, Lund had reentered the bus and left.

No breathalyzer test reported

When officers located Lund, they detected the smell of alcohol. No information has been given regarding whether or not she was given a breathalyzer, however Lund supposedly failed a field sobriety test. Lund, who has served as a bus driver for two decades, was placed on administrative leave and arrested for a possible DUI.

Field sobriety test

Field Sobriety Test

Photo by: Jeffrey Smith

More information may come to light during the investigation of Lund’s supposed DUI; however as of now her arrest is said to be based off of the alcohol smell and a failed field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests such as walking a straight line or saying the ABC’s backwards have been under scrutiny lately with experts stating that the tests may produce a false DUI. This can be due to an innocent mistake either by the arresting officer or the individual suspected of a DUI.

Wait for a legitimate test

Photo by: KOMOnews

Photo by: KOMOnews

When a DUI is suspected, waiting for a legitimate test such as a breathalyzer or a blood or urine test is encouraged. No one is legally required to participate in a field sobriety test and with their high fail rate, they are more than likely a waste of time. If a test of breath, blood, or urine does confirm an alcohol limit over what is legally allowed, a criminal defense attorney is recommended.