DUI & DWI in Utah

What is a DUI in Utah?

Those who drink and drive in Utah risk being charged with two crimes: driving while under the influence and driving while over the limit―meaning with a BAC of over 0.05%. Though they sound similar, these are two different charges designed to make sure intoxicated drivers receive a DUI (driving while under the influence) conviction if their driving was merely impaired by drugs or alcohol―whether or not a chemical test showed their BAC was above the legal limit.

Utah DUI Penalties

With an arrest for DUI, you will face two different types of penalties. Most people know they will have to deal with criminal penalties by the local courts but in Utah you will also face unrelated civil penalties. These penalties, known as "Per-se" or Administrative penalties, are handled by the Department of Public Safety's Driver License Division. These civil penalties are separate and in addition to any criminal penalties.

Administrative Per-Se Penalties

The penalties by the Department of Public Safety come into play even before you are convicted of a DUI or alcohol offense. If you are arrested on a DUI charge, your license is immediately confiscated by the arresting officer and replaced with a citation that expires in 45 days. This is known as a Per-se arrest. If you do not submit a Hearing Request Form then on the 45th day your license will be suspended by the Driver License Division.

How long your license is suspended will depend on your age, number of prior arrests and your blood alcohol content (BAC) or chemical test results. For driver's under 21 years old your license will be suspended based on the "Not-a-Drop" law. This law makes it illegal for a driver under 21 years old to have ANY measurable amount of alcohol in their blood.

A driver of any age will also face Administrative penalties, usually stiffer ones, if a chemical test is refused.

The Administrative penalties for a DUI arrest are:

21 years old or over

  • 1st offense Per-Se arrest: 120 days
  • 2nd offense Per-Se arrest: 2 years

Under 21 years old

  • 1st offense Not-a-Drop arrest: 6 months.
  • 1st offense Per-Se arrest: 6 months.

The Administrative penalties for refusing a chemical test are:

21 years old or over

  • 1st offense Refuse a chemical test: 18 months.
  • 2nd and subsequent offenses Refuse a chemical test: 36 months.

Under 21 years old

  • 1st offense Refuse a chemical test; whichever is longer:
    • The offender's 21st birthday.
    • 2 years.

Any Not-a-Drop arrest will require an assessment by a substance abuse program. A recommendation from the program will be required to have your license reinstated.

Criminal Penalties

A DUI conviction will typical have these penalties:

  • Jail time.
  • Community service
  • A series of fines plus court costs
  • The suspension of your driver license
  • Treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, whether you have a problem or not
  • Impounded vehicle fees
  • Ignition Interlock Device and associated fees

All of these penalties may be increased or decreased at the discretion of the court, depending on your previous record and the circumstances of your arrest.

Ignition Interlock

If you are convicted of a DUI you will be required to have a Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed on your vehicle. For drivers 21 years old and over you will have to have this on your vehicle for a minimum of 18 months. For those under 21 years old you will have an IID on your vehicle for a minimum of 3 years.

The IID must be installed by a company on the Department of Public Safety approved list. You will be responsible for the installation and maintenance fees. These fees vary by vendor.

Utah DUI Restrictions and Penalties

Alcohol Restricted Driver

Anyone convicted of a DUI or had their license sanctioned due to failing or refusing a chemical test becomes a " Alcohol Restricted Driver". This means that you are prohibited from driving with any amount of alcohol in your system. This restriction will appear on your driving history.

How long the restriction remains on your license depends upon the circumstances of you getting this restriction. If you drive with any alcohol in your system while you have this restriction your license will be revoked for 1 year.

DUI Impounded Vehicle

When you are arrested, law enforcement will have your vehicle (or boat) impounded. You will only have 30 days to pay your $455 impound fee before legal proceedings are started to sell the vehicle. In order to have your vehicle released you must:

  • Provide proof of identity (photo id).
  • Provide proof of registration.
  • Have a copy of the Vehicle Impound Report (Form TC-540) provided by the arresting officer.
  • Pay the $455 fee.

How to Reinstate Your Utah Driver's License

In order to reinstate your license or apply for a Alcohol/Drug Related Limited License you will need to satisfy all of your individual requirements based on your circumstances.

Everyone whose license was suspended; either due to criminal charges, Per-Se or Not-a-Drop, will pay some or all of the following fees to the Driver License Division in order to have their license reinstated:

  • Administrative fee: $255.
  • Alcohol/drug-related offense reinstatement fee: $85.
  • Per se arrest fee: $5.
  • Refusal arrest fee: $5.
  • Court conviction fee: $5.

You may also be required to take the driver's test again as well as pay for other driver's license fees.

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