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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many law enforcement agencies throughout the country use checkpoints in an attempt to deter drivers from getting behind the wheel of their vehicles after drinking. The question becomes whether Utah drivers are legally required to stop at DUI checkpoints. As is the case with other legal issues, the answer is complicated.