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Salt Lake City Personal Injury Law Blog

Can grandparents seek child custody or visitation in Utah?

The current standard that Utah courts are required to follow when it comes to the fate of children in a divorce or separation is what is in the best interests of the children. The basic assumption is that the being with a parent fulfills that standard. However, there are instances where the children would be better off with their grandparents, and the law does allow for these relatives to petition the court for child custody or visitation.

It can be a challenge to overcome the assumption that the best interests of the children would be served by a parent receiving custody. However, Utah courts might consider granting a grandparent custody of the children under certain circumstances. If it can be proved through appropriate evidence that one or both parents are somehow unfit or not competent to care for the children, a grandparent might be awarded custody or visitation.

78 drivers could be charged with DUI after Labor Day weekend

Several local law enforcement agencies and the Utah Highway patrol participated in the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign over Labor Day weekend. Across the state, 78 people were taken into custody during the campaign. It remains to be seen how many will actually be charged with DUI. 

According to reports regarding the checkpoints conducted in northern Utah, one location had five separate stations and stopped 10 random vehicles at a time. Once 10 vehicles were pulled over, any others were not stopped until there was an opening. As for the vehicles that were pulled over, officers had a mere 90 seconds to ascertain whether a driver might be driving under the influence.

Avoid these 2 financial mistakes during a Utah divorce

Outside of issues dealing with any children a Utah couple might have, money is often the central issue at the end of a marriage. Each party is struggling to ensure that he or she will not suffer financially after the divorce. Below are two financial mistakes that could derail any other efforts at a secure financial future.

There is no way to avoid at least some financial fallout since the parties are going from supporting one household to each supporting a separate one. However, taking certain actions could help minimize the impact that transition will have. First, the parties should look at any joint accounts they might have.

Salt Lake City suburb councilman will not be charged with DUI

On July 19, a councilman in a suburb of Salt Lake City was charged with hit and run (a class C misdemeanor) after he allegedly left the scene of an accident that occurred in a local tavern's parking lot. He has entered a not guilty plea to the charge. The accident is said to have occurred at approximately 7:30 p.m., but police did not make contact with him until around 8:40 p.m. at his home. Therefore, he was not charged with DUI despite witnesses reporting to police that he was impaired.

Reports indicate that the councilman had one shot of whiskey and four 24-ounce beers on the evening in question. Witnesses reported that he was obviously impaired and another patron drove him home. The councilman came back to the tavern on foot at around 7:30 p.m. to get his car and hit a parked car as he was leaving the parking lot. No injuries were reported as a result of the alleged incident.

It might not be finances that lead to divorce

Money matters are often cited as the reason for the end of marriages here in Utah and around the country. The more couples argue about financial issues, the greater the possibility of divorce. This might make sense, but is it accurate? One study claims that it is not necessarily money that leads to divorce, but it is a couple's division of labor that is a greater predictor. 

In every marriage, there are multitudes of tasks that need to be performed in order to run the household. Some of that work is paid, and some is not. It is the division of paid versus unpaid tasks that the study says is the true indicator of whether a couple will divorce.

Police accuse woman of DUI in fatal accident

Sadly, fatal accidents happen on Utah's roadways far too often. Some of them result in the filing of criminal charges. This is especially true if police suspect an individual of DUI at the time of the crash.

Police were recently called to the scene of a crash involving a passenger vehicle and a motorcycle. Preliminary reports indicate that the passenger car moved into the northbound center lane and then initiated a left turn directly in the path of a southbound motorcycle that was already moving at a high rate of speed. The 43-year-old man riding the motorcycle died from the injuries he suffered in the impact.

Driver faces charges of vehicular homicide and DUI after crash

At approximately 4 a.m. on a recent Thursday morning, police responded to the scene of a single-vehicle accident. The driver is now facing criminal charges in connection with the crash, including vehicular homicide and DUI. Allegedly, the woman's blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit of .08 here in Utah.

According to reports, the driver lost control of the vehicle. It then struck a tree and flipped onto its side. Police removed the windshield and pulled out the three occupants. One was a 4-month-old infant who suffered significant injuries. She was taken by helicopter to a children's hospital in the area.

How is alimony determined in Utah?

Going from one household to two when a marriage ends often puts a strain on the available monetary resources of the parties. If one spouse will be at a financial disadvantage after the divorce, he or she might be able to obtain alimony. Utah's courts use several factors to determine the amount and duration of the payments.

A review of each spouse's overall financial situation will need to be done in order to determine what it will cost each of them to maintain a household. The income of each party, along with future earning capacities, is then reviewed. Once this information is compiled, other factors are taken into consideration such as the duration of the marriage. If either party engaged in misconduct such as infidelity during the marriage, that could also affect the amount of alimony the other party receives.

Trial against UHP officer who lied in DUI cases will move forward

On Sept. 10, 2011, a man was driving home when he was pulled over by a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol. The trooper allegedly stopped the man because he was swerving. She claimed that he failed a field sobriety test, administered a breath test and arrested him for DUI. The problem was that the breath test – and the blood test that was taken at the jail -- both proved that the driver had not been drinking. Thousands of dollars later, his name was cleared. 

Sadly, this man's story is not a unique one when it comes to this particular trooper. She was terminated in 2013 after allegations surfaced that she was lying in court, drawing blood during a traffic stop without supervision and not following proper procedures for field sobriety tests. Even her traffic stops came into question. At one time, she was honored for making somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 DUI arrests per year.

What happens if you are charged with DUI a second or third time?

The state of Utah considers driving under the influence a serious concern for its residents. For this reason, the penalties associated with DUIs increase with the number of offenses. Therefore, if you are charged with a DUI for a second or third time, it is imperative that you engage criminal defense counsel as soon as possible to protect your rights.

A DUI might remain on your record for more than 10 years, but at the expiration of that time from your first conviction, you can once again be treated as a first-time offender. However, if you are convicted of two DUIs within that 10-year period, you will spend a minimum of 10 days in jail. Your driver's license will be suspended for a year, and you will be assessed fines of at least $800.

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