An 18-year-old Utah man was arrested August 17th after throwing an empty beer can at a police officer from his vehicle and then leading the officer on a chase. The officer eventually stopped the man using a PIT maneuver (if you have never seen one of these, check out the video below). The man was charged with driving under the influence, among other things. He reportedly told officers that he had been dumped by his girlfriend and wanted to get into trouble. He obviously succeeded.
Each person that is charged with criminal offenses brings with them to court their own circumstances and problems. Although being emotionally distraught, as this man clearly was, may not excuse a criminal act, a good criminal defense attorney can communicate a client’s unique circumstances to judges and prosecutors. An advocate can help tell your story and achieve the best possible legal outcome that will prevent bad situations like the one described above from becoming worse.
A Utah man has been charged with two counts of automobile homicide after the car he was driving smashed into a home and two of the car’s occupants were killed. Investigators think that speed and alcohol contributed to the accident.
The driver, Christopher Youngblood, was in critical condition when he was taken from the scene of the accident but was released from the hospital several hours later. One passenger was ejected from the car at the time of impact, and the other individual was in the front passenger seat.
Automobile homicide is basically a DUI situation where someone is killed. Automobile homicide is normally a third-degree felony, unless the violator has been previously found guilty of a DWI violation, in which case it is a second-degree felony.
A person is guilty of automobile homicide in Utah if he operates a motor vehicle negligently, causing the death of another person and
• has blood or breath alcohol of .08 grams or greater while driving
• is under the influence of alcohol, any drug or both, and is unable to drive safely
• has a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 grams at the time of a chemical test
Utah law states that a person is criminally negligent with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he ought to be aware of a substantial risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise in all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.
Call a Utah criminal defense attorney if you have questions about any criminal charges against you.
Getting a DUI charge normally involves a vehicle with all the basic equipment such as doors, windows, etc. An Ohio man inadvertently tested local police when he climbed onto his motorized barstool and took it for a spin along the street outside his home. Unfortunately, he was quite inebriated at the time and crashed his barstool, causing minor injuries to himself in the process.
In a police report, after the officer asked him if he’d had six beers or twelve beers, Kile Wygle is quoted as saying that he had “more like fifteen” beers prior to crashing his barstool. Wygle failed multiple field sobriety tests before being charged with DUI. Wygle was also charged with driving with a suspended license, a misdemeanor.
Wygle’s barstool is described as a homemade vehicle in the police report, and the description doesn’t end there. The officer states that the vehicle is a standard type metal barstool with round seat. The stool had been welded to a small frame that had a five horsepower lawn mower motor attached to the frame. There were also four wheels connected to a gear box, which was connected by a chain to the motor. There was a steering wheel and two hand controls. Just picture it in your mind.
Wygle’s neighbor also gave a statement that he was “sitting his living room and saw someone go past…on a strange motorized machine.” Lest you think that a motorized barstool is unusual, a man was arrested for DUI while out on his motorized recliner sometime after Wygle had his incident.
We don’t want to judge anyone here. Our main goal is to let you know that people do get arrested for DUIs while driving contraptions other than mainstream cars and trucks. Also, if you do run into trouble with the law, say while driving your motorized toilet, call a Utah criminal defense attorney for help. We’re here for you.
A man was arrested for DUI after driving his car into another vehicle while traveling through Big Cottonwood Canyon. Law enforcement apparently received several calls about the driver prior to the collision. Two occupants of the vehicle that was hit were both hospitalized with injuries. The incident also involved two other cars, both parked on the side of the road.
Driving under the influence is nothing new. Unfortunately, many people are hurt or killed each year as a result of driving while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. There are different penalties for DUI, depending on mitigating factors.
Someone that violates the statute regarding DUI the first or second time is generally guilty of a class B misdemeanor. However, the person will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor if the following occur as well:
A driver may be charged with a third-degree felony if they have inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while driving under the influence, or if they have had previous DUI convictions (under certain circumstances). A third-degree felony may mean a prison term of up to five years.
Don’t hesitate to call an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney if you are facing DUI, or any other, charges. There are defense attorneys who are trained to help you sort out your situation and communicate with law enforcement on your behalf.
We’ve said it before, but it never hurts to remind people that drunk driving in Utah is a serious offense and can result in life-altering consequences for all people involved. Please don’t drink and drive!
A Utah man was charged with two counts of driving under the influence, as well as driving on a suspended license and failure to stay in one lane while driving. The latter two charges are both class C misdemeanors, while the DUI charges are third degree felonies. Class C misdemeanors carry the potential sentence of up to 90 days in jail, while third degree felonies can send a person to prison for up to 5 years.
To complicate matters, this man allegedly hit and injured two pedestrians while driving under the influence. One alleged victim remains on life support, while the other was released from the hospital following the March incident. The man’s blood alcohol level was .16, which is twice the legal limit allowed in Utah.
There are a few important things to remember when you are about to take an alcoholic drink. First, give your keys to someone who won’t be drinking and who can be responsible to drive you home. Second, have enough money for cab fare in case option one doesn’t pan out. Third, work on knowing your limitations when drinking. Keep in mind that people out and about want to get home safely, and for some reason, there are probably people in your life who want you to return home alive, too. If all else fails and you find yourself in a jam with law enforcement, get yourself a top Utah criminal defense attorney without delay.
The following video is from the UHP patrolman’s stop of former Utah Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack. How do you think the Honorable Mr. Killpack did on his field Sobriety Tests?
This year, thousands of people in the state of Utah will make the decision to drive drunk. The conundrum that isn’t easy to solve is how to influence those people to make the right decisions when they’re not in the right frame of mind. In 2009, there were over 15,000 arrests and 31 deaths related to driving under the influence. Statistics, however, do not show the many friends and families emotionally scarred by those fatalities or the lives shattered from everyday DUI arrests. If you do choose to get behind the wheel while inebriated, below are the possible penalties you’ll be facing as a first-time offender:
The penalties increase exponentially after your first-time offense. In fact, the average jail time served by drunk drivers in Utah is 154 days.
We all know good people make bad decisions, especially when they’re a little tipsy. Their day may start off joyously planning a Super Bowl party, but then they somehow find themselves at the end the day crying uncontrollably while walking the line and reciting the alphabet in reverse. So, please remember the 5 Ps. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. If you know you’ll be drinking, have a game plan. Take a taxi or bus to the bar or line up a designated driver for the evening. If you don’t prepare before your next night out on the town, you may find yourself calling us to help solve your own mind-boggling riddle.
Has this happened to you before? You only have one or two drinks one night “because you’re driving” and don’t want to get a DUI. You know that the legal limit is .08 and you always make sure that you don’t drink over that limit. You drive home feeling buzzed, but you are 100% sure that you aren’t drunk.
So when the cop pulls you over and you blow a .07, can the cop arrest you for driving under the influence?
Unfortunately, you can still be charged with a DUI even if you aren’t over the legal limit. The law reads:
(1) A person may not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state if the person:
(a) has sufficient alcohol in the person’s body that a subsequent chemical test shows that the person has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 grams 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 grams or greater at the time of operation or actual physical control.
Source: Utah Code Ann. 41-6a-502 (1)
Both subsection (a) and (c) require a blood/breath alcohol concentration of .08 grams or greater, but subsection (b) does not. This means that the cop only needs to think a person is “incapable of safely operating a vehicle.” That’s it. The prosecution would put the officer on the stand and the judge would have to make a determination on his credibility.
Practically, the prosecution should probably not prosecute a case like this; however, it has been done before and nothing would stop them from doing it again. And if someone who blew a .07 was involved in a traffic accident, the prosecution would definitely charge the person with a DUI. Remember to contact a Utah criminal defense attorney if you have been cited for a DUI below the .08 limit.
Be careful and don’t think that .08 is a magic number. The best thing to do after you’ve been drinking is to call a cab or arrange for a ride. However, if you do get stopped for a DUI, remember:
1. Don’t trust or believe the police.
2. Don’t resist being handcuffed.
3. Don’t say a damn thing.
Trooper Steed of the Utah Highway Patrol is in the news again. This time, she pulled over a vehicle and arrested the driver for DUI. While it may sound like a routine stop by a normal UHP Officer, this stop was not. Trooper Steed is an overzealous law enforcement officer who has pulled over more people last year than any law enforcement officer in the nation. So why was she over eager in this case?
The vehicle? A bike. The driver? A person with cerebral palsy and epilepsy who hadn’t taken his medicine.
Luckily, prosecutors are not charging the man. Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Steed has been reprimanded for her handling of DUI cases and has been reassigned to desk duty.