Utah DUI First Offense
No matter whether it's your first, second, or fourth driving under the influence (DUI) offense, Utah residents should expect serious penalties if convicted of drunk driving. Even if you have never been arrested in your life, the judge could sentence you to time behind bars in addition to other punishments. The only way to increase your chance of avoiding a criminal sentence is to retain the counsel of a qualified DUI defense attorney.
Penalties for a First DUI Offense
Utah has set the minimum mandatory penalties you may face if convicted of driving under the influence. While the judge cannot set your sentence below the mandatory minimum, he or she can increase it should the circumstances of your case warrant additional penalties.
The penalties for a first DUI offense include either (a) a mandatory minimum of 48 hours in jail, (b) a mandatory minimum of 48 hours performing a work service program, or (c) home confinement. The judge could also suspend your driver's license for 120 days and sentence you to pay at least $700 in fines.
Other potential penalties could include an alcohol/drug screening and alcohol/drug assessment. If the evaluator finds that you may have a substance abuse problem, you could be ordered to complete a substance abuse education program or treatment for alcohol/drug abuse.
You could also face an administrative penalty if you violate Utah's Implied Consent law, which states individuals suspected of intoxicated driving must submit to a breathalyzer test. For simply refusing to take this test, your driver's license could be suspended for 18 months--even longer than the suspension you would have faced for taking the breathalyzer and failing it.
Fighting a First DUI offense
When you are charged with DUI, it is important to remember that the evidence cannot be taken at face value. As humans, police are prone to making mistakes, and the breathalyzer machines used to test your blood alcohol content (BAC) have their own set of problems that could render an inaccurate reading. Therefore, you need a DUI defense attorney to comb through the facts in order to determine if they are correct.