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Salt Lake City Personal Injury Law Blog

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.

Making the adjustment easier for the children in a divorce

Going from one household to two is often a challenge for Utah couples who are ending their marriages. However, when there are children involved, the importance of making a smooth transition becomes a significant priority for most parents. How children adjust during and following the divorce often sets the stage for the future. 

Utah parents who spend their time focusing on their resentment, hurt and anger toward each other could inadvertently sabotage the chances of giving their children the best opportunities for seamless adjustments. Granted, there will be some trepidation and issues regardless, but ensuring that children feel loved and secure will go a long way. In order to provide this to them, parents often have to put aside their feelings for each other and focus on being parents.

U.S. Supreme Court ruling puts light on refusal of DUI blood test

The United States Supreme Court recently made a ruling in a case for which it heard oral arguments in April. The issues before the court were whether those suspected of DUI can be arrested for refusing to submit to a breath test or a blood test. The court decided that drivers could be arrested for refusing a breath test, but not for refusing a blood test. This ruling is a good time to remind Utah residents what their rights are in reference to these impairment tests.

The blood test is considered an invasive procedure, and, therefore, a person's Fourth Amendment rights are violated if a warrant is not obtained for the test if the driver does not consent to it. Fortunately, only 13 states currently allow for the arrest of a driver for refusing to submit to a breath or blood test, and Utah is not one of them. However, just because an individual will not be arrested for refusing a blood test, that does not mean that there are no consequences.

Utah man arrested for driving under the influence of drugs

Few Utah residents know how they would react in an emergency situation. Where some people might be able to keep their wits about them and call for emergency services, others might react by attempting to get an injured person to medical help on their own. This is what one man was doing when he was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs.

The passenger in his vehicle had been involved in an ATV accident. Reports indicate that she suffered serious injuries in the crash, and the driver was attempting to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, he was pulled over by an officer with the Utah County Sheriff's Office for reckless driving.

Tax issues when splitting retirement accounts in a Utah divorce

The thoughts of Utah couples who are ending their marriages often turn to the division of their property. What they need to know is that there is more to consider than just who will receive which assets in the divorce. Many people fail to take the time to look at the tax implications associated with the division of certain assets.

For example, nearly every retirement account has tax consequences for early withdrawals. Even so, the marital portion of these accounts are often divided in a divorce. Therefore, the method in which the other party's portion of the account is transferred needs to be considered.

Most DUI or DWI defenses begin with the traffic stop

The first contact that many drivers who are suspected of being impaired behind the wheel have with Utah law enforcement officials is through a traffic stop. Once an officer has pulled you over, he or she will automatically begin assessing you to determine whether you are impaired. However, a mere suspicion is not necessarily enough to arrest you for DUI or DWI.

If an officer did not have sufficient probable cause to make the traffic stop, the charges might not stand up to the scrutiny of ta criminal court. This is why every defense to charges in these circumstances typically begins with the evaluation of the traffic stop itself. Many officers develop a sixth sense regarding drivers with experience, but that suspicion is not enough to substantiate a traffic stop.

Divorce affects insurance along with every other financial issue

Utah residents who are ending their marriages are often told that their financial lives will be changed forever, but they might not realize exactly what that means. One of the areas that some people might neglect to consider during the divorce process is insurance. This includes life, health and car insurance, among others.

While many Utah couples focus on the division of their marital estate, they might neglect to pay close attention to how the divorce will affect their insurance. For instance, many people take advantage of health insurance coverage offered by their spouse's employer. What they might not realize is that they will most likely no longer be eligible to use it after the divorce.

Some ways spouses attempt to hide assets in a divorce

When it looks like a Utah marriage is going to end, some people decide that they do not want to have to share certain assets with their spouses. They may begin a campaign to convert and hide assets in an attempt to keep them from being part of the marital estate. If this is the case in your divorce, finding those assets will become a priority.

There are numerous ways that spouses attempt to hide assets. One is to use the social security number of one of the children in order to open a bank account into which money can be siphoned, and you might not ever notice. Purchasing collector's items such as art or antiques is often used as a way to hide other assets. If your spouse is suddenly purchasing items of this nature, it could be a red flag.

Utah man is facing charges for DUI after single-vehicle accident

When a Utah resident is involved in a single-car accident, one of the questions that most law enforcement officials ask is whether the driver was impaired. As part of the investigation into the crash, field sobriety tests could be administered if the driver is not seriously injured. If the individual appears to fail those tests, he or she could end up facing charges for DUI.

One Utah man recently ended up in jail on suspicion of driving under the influence after he lost control of his pickup truck. When he did, it flipped over. When officers arrived at the scene, they claim to have reason to believe that the man was impaired. Reports indicate that he failed a field sobriety test, which is why he was taken into custody.

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