This week, I encountered the comingled headache of administrative agencies and criminal law while working on a few DUI cases. I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so you can help yourself and be more informed while working with an attorney on your case. First and foremost, you can be charged with a DUI while driving your ATV.
What is a DUI? Driving under the influence includes driving while intoxicated, driving while misusing prescriptions or over-the-counter medications (such as Benadryl), ingesting illegal or unprescribed medications, or having the remnants of an illegal substance in your system (such as metabolite 30-40 days after ingesting marijuana).
Getting arrested. If you are pulled over and think you are going to get a DUI, be polite to the officer. However, you do not have to answer any of their questions beyond providing your driver’s license, registration, and insurance. You do not have to give them the reason they pulled you over or answer if you’ve been doing DUI-able things. You should complete the roadside test at the officer’s request and complete the breathalyzer test. You should consent to a blood test. Failure to do these things will only hurt your case in court. Do not chit-chat with the officer. If you are uncomfortable with the officer’s questions or you feel the officer is asking too many questions, state you have the right to remain silent and request an attorney before answering any other questions. You’re going to get arrested. But that was probably going to happen anyway at this point. Affirmative silence will help you and your case, even if the officer says otherwise.
Charged with DUI. After your arrest and release, you must contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days of the citation and request a hearing. If you do not, your license can be immediately suspended by the agency and you can’t drive for at least 120 days. Even if you are not convicted.
Go to your court date. Ideally hire an attorney beforehand, but remember you do have the right to use the local, free public defender.
CDL repercussions. If you have a CDL and are convicted with a DUI while driving a commercial vehicle or personal vehicle, you lose your CDL for one to three years. Your second conviction results in CDL suspension for 10 years to life. If you have a blood alcohol content of .04%, while driving a commercial vehicle, you face the same license suspensions.
Individual repercussions. Utah takes DUIs seriously. For your first DUI, you lose your license up to 120 days, can pay up to $1310, and spend at least 2 days in jail or must complete 48 hours of community service. For your second, you must spend 5 days in jail or have 30 days of electronic monitoring, pay up to $1560, and your license is revoked for 2 years. Your third in 10 years can result in a felony and losing along with increased jail time, fines, and license suspension.
So, don’t drink and drive. Don’t irresponsibly take prescription drugs and drive. Don’t take too much antihistamine. Don’t legally smoke marijuana then drive suspiciously while in Utah. You know better and the consequences are devastating to your ability to travel, work, and be a part of your community.
Disclaimer. As always, my column is not legal advice, instead merely insight into the law and legal profession. If you have a general question about the law or legal profession, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 435.610.1431.
Published in the 8/22/2018 Wayne & Garfield County Insider.