Few Utah residents would argue with the necessity of keeping impaired drivers off the roads. However, here in Utah, the legislature might have taken this need a bit too far. You might not be aware of the fact that you could be charged with DUI even if you are not impaired.
Yes, you read that correctly. Here in Utah, if a urinalysis or blood test indicates any trace of certain prescription drugs, or metabolites from those drugs, in your system, you could face a DUI charge. After you take a medication, your body breaks it down into other compounds called metabolites. You might have taken the medication yesterday or a couple of days ago, but metabolites could still be present in your system.
When an officer initiates a traffic stop, he or she might accuse you of being impaired and place you under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. Fortunately, that is not the end of the story. You retain the right to review the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop and your arrest.
Police officers need a legal reason to stop a vehicle. They are allowed to conduct a limited investigation during the stop, but sometimes they overstep their bounds. If they do not have sufficient probable cause to stop you or exceed their bounds and you end up being arrested, any evidence derived therefrom might not be admissible in court. You have rights, and it is the responsibility of the officer to ensure that they were not violated. If he or she failed in that duty, the charges against you could be dismissed.
The handling and testing of samples also comes under scrutiny since human error and defective machinery can skew the results of any test. Furthermore, Utah law does provide for defenses against a metabolite DUI. Your attorney will review the circumstances surrounding your arrest, the alleged evidence and any other pertinent information before suggesting a course of action that could provide you with the best outcome possible.