Top 5 Defenses Against a Utah DUI Charge

Learn about the five most common defenses to a DUI charge. Keep in mind, that all cases are unique and some or all of these may or may not apply. If you believe the police failed to meet one of these standards, then you may have a defense to your DUI.

Improper Stop

Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, every person is protected against unreasonable searches and seizures. In interpreting this amendment, the courts have held that before a police officer may pull over a vehicle, the police officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” that the driver is committing a crime. However, if the police officer merely has reasonable suspicion and not probable cause, then the officer may not detain the individual, and the individual is free to leave at any time. In order to lawfully arrest anyone, the police officer must have probable cause to believe that the individual has committed a crime.

Field Sobriety Tests were Administered Inaccurately

Field sobriety tests are usually performed near where the individual was initially pulled over. The common field sobriety tests utilized are the horizontal and vertical gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the walk and turn test, and the one-legged stand test. The last two tests must be performed on dry, even surfaces in order to be accurate. Therefore, the accuracy of these tests may be challenged where the weather has been bad causing a wet surface, or where the surface is uneven or full of debris. The HGN test must be performed without flashing lights on the individual’s face. Therefore, if the officer forgets to turn off the emergency lights that are facing the individual, the accuracy of the test can be challenged.

Breathalyzer Machine was not maintained / was inaccurate

If a breath test is administered, instead of a blood or urine test, then the individual may challenge the accuracy of the results. There are multiple ways to do this, however, the most common include challenging: the officer’s ability and training to use the machine, the accuracy of the test due to intervening factors, and the maintenance and calibration of the machine.

Chain of custody defense

This defense is only used when a blood test is administered to the individual charged, or when a substance was taken from the individual to be tested for the presence of drugs. When police officers take a blood sample, or seizes evidence of drugs from the individual, they must take steps to insure that the sample/evidence is not contaminated and is not mislabeled. In order to do this, the sample/evidence usually will be sealed within labeled packaging and have a “chain of custody form” attached to the outside of the package. The chain of custody form must be filled out whenever a new person takes custody of the sample/evidence.

Affirmative Defenses

Affirmative defenses are defenses that the person being charged must bring up in court and must offer evidence of the defense. The affirmative defenses available to a DUI defendant include: necessity, duress, entrapment, and involuntary intoxication.

Charged with a DUI

Just because you have been charged with a DUI doesn’t mean you will be convicted of it. You have legal rights, and an experienced attorney can help you understand those rights. Before you can be convicted of a DUI, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated the law. You do not have to prove anything.

Utah DUI Laws & Penalties

Under Utah Law, a person who violates for the first or second time Section 41-6a-502, is guilty of a class B misdemeanor; or class A misdemeanor if the person: has also inflicted bodily injury upon another as a proximate result of having operated the vehicle in a negligent manner; had a passenger under 16 years of age in the vehicle at the time of the offense; or was 21 years of age or older and had a passenger under 18 years of age in the vehicle at the time of the offense. See Utah Code. There are certain offenses that require mandatory revocation, denial, suspension, or disqualification of a license. Review the applicable Utah Code here. So, does mandatory really mean mandatory? Is there anything that can be done? YES, give us a call now at 801-872-2222 to discuss your options.

Marijuana DUI Laws

Yes, you can get a DUI for driving while high. And not only are you subject to a DUI, you may also be charged with possession. There are defenses, though. Learn more here.

Prescription Drugs & DUI

Many people believe, “If my doctor prescribed it, I should be able to drive on it.” This is not the way the law sees it, however. You can be charged with a DUI even if you’re not “high” if you’re found to have an active metabolite in your system. Learn more.

Penalties for DUI in Utah

Here you will find a simple overview of Utah DUI Laws and the penalties associated with them. DUI Laws are tough. It takes a sharp attorney to understand and navigate these laws. Don’t go about it yourself. Hire any attorney you can before you go to court.

Get in touch with us today by calling 801-872-2222