Under 21, there is a zero tolerance policy and a Blood or Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over .00 grams or greater at the time of the test is considered to be a DUI. This is often referred to as the, "Not a Drop" law.
For those over 21 years of age, a BAC of .05 grams or higher is considered to be a DUI. Effective 12/30/2018, however, the BAC limit was reduced from .08 to .05 grams.
For those who are operating a commercial vehicle, a BAC of .04 grams or higher is considered to be a DUI.
What possible penalties am I facing if I am convicted of DUI?
If this is your first or second DUI, the offense will generally be a class B misdemeanor (a class B misdemeanor carries with it a possible jail term of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000).
However, if this is your first or second DUI and you also inflicted bodily injury as a result of the DUI, had a passenger under 16 years of age in the vehicle, or was 21 years or older and had a passenger under 18, you are more likely facing a class A misdemeanor (a class A misdemeanor carries with it a possible jail term of up to one year and a possible fine of up to $2,500).
If this is your third DUI, the offense will generally be considered a third-degree felony (a third-degree felony carries with it up to five years in prison and a possible fine of up to $5,000). Similarly, if the incident involved serious bodily injury to another person as a result of the DUI, then the offense will also be classified as a third-degree felony.
While knowing what classification your DUI falls into is important, the main penalties you should worry about are listed below. Most DUI cases settle with the prosecution before trial through a plea agreement. If you were to accept a plea agreement offered by the prosecution, the following sentencing guidelines are mandatory and cannot be amended by the prosecution.
Penalty First Offense Second Offense Third Offense
Minimum Jail Required 48 hours 240 hours 1,500 hours
Minimum Fine Required $700 $800 $1,500
Minimum License Suspension Required 120 days 2 years 2 years
Interlock device required? No Yes Yes
These mandatory penalties may be much more severe if an accident was involved or if any person was injured during the accident. Also, the above sentencing guidelines represent mandatory minimums if a conviction or guilty plea is entered. See Utah Code 41-6a-505.
The judge may also order other requirements, such as completing community service, participating in a drug or alcohol assessment program, or even complete a substance abuse program.
If I am pulled over, can I refuse to take a chemical test?
While you can always refuse to take a chemical test, Utah has an implied consent law. The “implied consent” means that by accepting your driver’s license and driving within the state of Utah, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence, you have consented to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, urine, or saliva for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC).
If you choose to refuse to take a chemical test, as requested by the police officer, you are facing an 18-month license suspension if it is your first refusal. If the incident involves your second or third refusal, you are looking at a 3-year license suspension. See Utah Code 51-6a-521.
Furthermore, if you refuse to take a chemical test, the prosecution can use your refusal against you by arguing that you refused the test because you knew that you were intoxicated and guilty of DUI.
If I am arrested for DUI, can they take my license from me?
Yes. The arresting officer can confiscate your license and replace it with a citation that will serve as a temporary license that expires in 29 days. If this happens, you can (and should) request a hearing within 10 days from the Driver’s License Division. The hearing is an “appeal” of your license suspension and is not part of the criminal proceeding. You can request this hearing by completing the required form (available at http://www.dmv.org/ut-utah/automotive-law/dui.php) and faxing it to (801) 964-4499. You have the right to have counsel present at this hearing, as well as the right to have counsel present at any criminal proceedings resulting from the arrest. On the 30th day after the date of arrest, if your appeal was denied, your privilege to drive may be withdrawn.
This article was updated 12/27/2018.
Learn more about DUIs from our blog posts below:
Blood Alcohol Limit
Utah Amendment Drops the DUI BAC Level from .08 to .05
DUI Without Driving
Q: Can I get DUI without actually driving my car? A: Yes, you can.
DUI Blood Draws
DUI – What is required before a blood draw is allowed?
Second DUI Charge
I was charged with my Second DUI, what happens now?
Top 5 Defenses Against a Utah DUI Charge
Learn about the five most common defenses to a DUI charge.
Impaired Driving vs. DUI
The legal differences between Impaired Driving and DUI charges.