Statutorily Required Penalties for DUI
In Utah there are certain penalties that are required by statute depending on the facts of the DUI charge. When a judge is faced with sentencing a person that has been convicted of DUI they will use a calculating system that determines what the mandatory sentence is and will also give suggestions for further sentencing.
The first two things to consider are whether the person was operating or in control of the vehicle, and whether or not they were tested to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08 or were determined incapable of safe driving.
The first issue, operating or having control of a vehicle, means that the police can arrest you if they witnessed you driving or if the totality of the circumstances suggest you were driving or were about to be driving. If the prosecutor can’t prove either of these things then the case is dismissed.
The second thing is the BAC and there are three things that the court can use to determine this:
1. A subsequent chemical test (BAC of .08 or greater)
2. A determination that the driver was under the influence to a degree that rendered the defendant incapable of safely operating a vehicle
3. A blood or breath test at the time of operation (BAC of .08 or greater)
If the prosecution can’t show one of these things then the case will be dismissed.
The two issues above are the threshold questions and if they can’t be shown then there is no case, but if they can be shown then the only thing to consider is how serious the crime was because the existence of a DUI has already been determined. There are a number of things that can cause a DUI to be a Class A misdemeanor or a Felony, meaning it must be handled by a district court. These types of charges are very serious and carry much heavier penalties. The factors that could elevate a DUI charge to this level are: bodily injury, a passenger under 16, a defendant over 21 and passenger under 18, or previous DUI related convictions, reductions, or Plea In Abeyance.
The only other thing for a justice court to consider is if this is a first or second DUI offense. If it is a first offense then it carries at least 48 hours jail time, 48 hours of work service, or electronic home confinement as well as a fine of at least $1,332. If it is a second offense then it carries at 240 hours jail time, 240 hours work service, or electronic home confinement, and a fine of at least $1,532. Either scenario also involves assessment, education, screening and probation requirements. If you have more than two offenses then it goes into the range of Class A Misdemeanor or Felony and is handled by the district court.