DUI Penalties in Utah can be charged through observation of erratic driving or signs of intoxication without a blood, breath or urine test even being administered. If a test is administered and a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .08 percent (or over .04 percent for commercial drivers and any amount of alcohol for drivers under the age of 21), a driver will be charged with driving while over the legal limit. A DUI can also be charged for driving while impaired by a controlled substance or prescription drug.
Penalties for these two charges are similar or identical in nearly all cases. The distinction between the two charges mostly comes into play when a driver is under the age of 21 due to Utah’s “Not a Drop” zero tolerance policy for underage drivers. These drivers can get a DUI for a BAC over .0 percent.
Penalties for a First DUI Offense
For drivers over the age of 21, a first offense results in a license suspension of a minimum of 120 days and required use of an ignition interlock device for 18 months. In addition, drivers will be required to serve a minimum of 48 hours either in jail, at a work service program or under home confinement as determined by a judge. The minimum fine on a first conviction is $700.
Under Utah’s “Not a Drop” laws, the rules become more complicated (and penalties more severe) for drivers under the age of 21. Drivers aged 19 or 20 will have their licenses suspended for six months regardless of which charge is levied. Drivers under the age of 19 will have their licenses suspended for one year if convicted under the “Not a Drop” law and two years if convicted under the “per se” law. In all cases, drivers under the age of 21 will be forced to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on all vehicles that they use for a period of three years.
Penalties for a Second DUI Offense
For drivers over the age of 21, the penalties for a second DUI rise to 240 hours minimum in jail, a work service program or home confinement, a license suspension of two years and a minimum fine of $800.
Utah DUI penalties for drivers under the age of 21 do not vary for any offense other than the first. As the state mandates an ignition interlock device on drivers for a period of three years for any underage DUI conviction, it is unlikely that a defendant would accrue a second DUI before reaching the age of 21.
Penalties for a Third DUI Offense
A third DUI conviction in Utah escalates the penalties to a mandatory jail sentence of 1,500 hours minimum, a minimum fine of $1,500 and mandatory use of an ignition interlock device for three years after serving jail time. A third DUI may also result in permanent license suspension at the discretion of a judge.
Penalties for a Fourth DUI Offense and Beyond
If the driver’s license has not been permanently suspended by previous DUI convictions, the penalties for a third offense carry over to subsequent offenses. Driving without a license carries additional fines and a potential one-year jail sentence.
Penalties for Refusal to Submit to Testing
Drivers over the age of 21 who refuse to submit to a chemical test will have their licenses automatically suspended for 18 months on a first offense. This rises to 36 months with all subsequent offenses.
Drivers under the age of 21 who refuse to submit to a chemical test will have their license automatically revoked until they reach the age of 21 or for a period of two years, whichever is longer.