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Utah DUI Laws

Driving under the influence (“DUI”) is a criminal offense that occurs when you are driving with a substantial amount of alcohol in your system. DUI is one of the major causes of death on the highway. To combat DUIs, most states created harsh punishment and multiple procedures. As such, DUI is now a complex system of charges and punishments. In general, there are two types of DUIs: the traditional DUI (“DUI”) and administrative revocation. The DUIs are the one you see on television, getting pulled over by the police and having too much blood alcohol content. In Utah, you are guilty of a DUI if you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of 0.08 or more. Under Utah law, BAC is defined as the unit of milligrams per deciliter. If you gave a blood sample, it’s 0.08 grams of alcohol for every 100 milliliters. If you have a breath sample, it’s 0.08 grams of alcohol for every 210 liters of breath.

Furthermore, Utah prohibits driving under the influence of drugs. This prohibition includes both legal and illegal drugs. Unlike alcohol, there is no level requirement. The prosecutor only needs to prove that you were driving under the influence of a drug. The term drug is broad and includes anything from high blood pressure drugs to crack cocaine. Unlike other states, Utah is extremely strict in enforcing DUI of drugs. There is no defense for driving under the influence of drugs, even prescription drugs.

Traditionally, you could only be convicted if you were driving. In a recent legislation, the Utah legislator removed the driving requirement. Now, you can be convicted of a DUI for having “actual physical control” of the vehicle. The term “actual physical control” is ambiguous and extremely broad. The Legislators inserted these words giving the police a way to stop DUIs from ever happening. In recent case laws, Utah has defined this term to mean that you had actual control of a vehicle and could commit DUI at any moment or that you could have committed a DUI at any moment. If you are intoxicated, slumping over the wheel and the engine is running, you are guilty of a DUI. Although intoxicated and asleep, you still have actual physical control over the vehicle. Thus, if you accidentally stepped on the gas or the car suddenly moved forwarded, you committed a DUI. On the other hand, if you are asleep, the keys are in the ignition, but the car is not turned on; you are still guilty of a DUI. At any moment, you could turn the keys and take off. Thus, you could have committed a DUI at any moment. These are logical reasons to charge you with a DUI and prevent you from harming others.

The second type is the administrative DUI revocation. Under Utah law, just by driving on the road, you consent to giving a blood, breath, or urine sample. Once an officer has probable cause to reasonably believe that you were driving under the influence, she can pull you over and ask for a sample. You can either consent or refuse. If you refuse, your driver license shall be revoked for a set period.


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