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.

Pedestrian and Others Injured in Dog Attack

Three women are recovering from injuries after a dog attack which first targeted a pedestrian and then two bystanders who rushed to help.

Two animals involved in dog attack

Dog Attack

Photo by: State Farm

20 year old Sierra Coe of Millville Utah was walking home from the post office when she was attacked by two animals, a 4 year old Pit Bull and 10 month old Great Dane who had escaped their yard. Two female neighbors heard Coe’s screams for help and rushed to her aid, only to be attacked themselves. Although both animals were involved in the dog attack, the physical injuries which included deep puncture wounds and damaged tendons were done almost entirely by the Pit Bull.

Dog’s fate sealed, owner’s pending

The 4 year old Pit Bull who the owners were trying to rehabilitate had a history of biting and ended up being euthanized. The Great Dane puppy will undergo observation and training before being placed for adoption by Cache County Animal Control. The owners of the two dogs may end up facing criminal charges, pending an investigation. There is also no word yet on whether or not the victims will seek compensation for their injuries.

One bite rule not in Utah

Many states use what is called the one bite rule regarding dog attacks. This means that the first time a dog bites a person then the owner shouldn’t face charges as long as the dog had no violent history and the owners weren’t negligent in any way. In Utah however, every dog is not allowed “one free bite”. Utah Code 18-1-1 which amends the one bite law states “Every person owning or keeping a dog is liable in damages for injury committed by the dog, and it is not necessary in the action brought therefor to allege or prove that the dog was of a vicious or mischievous disposition or that the owner or keeper of the dog knew that it was vicious or mischievous.” The first time a dog bites someone, the owners are liable even if the dog didn’t show any prior signs of aggression.

Consult an attorney

Although it may seem that charges are inevitable following a dog attack, there are always factors to take into account such as provocation by the victim that may remove all or partial blame from the owners. For this reason, it is best to consult with an attorney if facing charges following a dog attack.

Felony Charges for Aiding and Abetting in Poaching Crime

Helping a couple friends with an illegal activity usually comes at a cost, as one Utah politician learned the hard way as he now faces felony charges for aiding and abetting in a poaching crime.

Permission to hunt on land illegally

Earlier this month, the mayor of Hurricane Utah was arrested for aiding and abetting after he allowed a couple friends to hunt protected mule deer on his land. Although Mayor John Bramall was not stated to be an active participant in the hunt, he knowingly allowed the men to hunt the deer on his land, an act the state of Utah claims to be aiding and abetting in the wonton destruction of protected wildlife.

Aiding and abetting a poaching crime

Utah Code 23-20-23 of the Wildlife Resources Code of Utah states: “It is unlawful for any person to aid or assist any other person to violate any provisions of this code or any rules or regulations promulgated under it. The penalty for violating this section is the same as for the provision or regulation for which aid or assistance is given.” For aiding and abetting with a poaching crime, Mayor Bramall will face the same charges as if he were the one who had pulled the trigger.

Two deer, two charges

Since there were two deer killed unlawfully, there are two different charges for Mayor Bramall to face. The value of the smaller deer was between $250 and $500, which according to Utah Code 23-20-4 would make the poaching of said deer a class A misdemeanor. The larger trophy deer was valued at more than $500, which is punishable as a third degree felony. The mayor of Hurricane, whose term isn’t up until 2018, may face up to five years in jail for essentially looking the other way while a crime was committed on his property.