DUI lawyer Salt Lake City UT

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DUI lawyer Salt Lake City UT

If you are facing a DUI charge you need to look for a respected DUI lawyer Salt Lake City UT residents trust from Rasmussen & Miner. You must defend yourself first before the Driver License Division and second in a criminal court.  An experienced DUI lawyer from our law firm can explain everything you need to know during this time.

Hearing before the Driver License Division

When a police officer issues you a DUI citation he takes away your driver’s license and tells you the citation that he just issued you is a temporary license.  The officer should further explain that you have a right to a hearing before an administrative judge at the Driver License Division but only if you request it in writing within 10 calendar days.  Failure to request the hearing within 10 calendar days will result in the automatic suspension of your license for a minimum of 120 days. Your citation is valid as a license for thirty days and your hearing before the Driver License Division must occur within that time limit.

How a Utah DUI Lawyer Can Make The Difference In Your Case.

Have you Been Charged with a DUI?

As a skilled lawyer, it has always troubled me that the importance of this hearing and how to prepare for it is not more fully explained to the accused driver.  Unfortunately the statute governing these hearings only requires that basic notice of the hearing be given to the accused driver. The accused certainly deserves more than basic notice.  He should also be aware that the officer who arrested him must also submit a report, called a DUI Report, to the Driver License Division within the same 10 calendar day period. That report is the blueprint for prosecution of the accused person. 

Anyone charged with a DUI should not just request a hearing but also a copy of the DUI Report if they want to have a clue as to what will transpire in the hearing they request. Of course, unless the accused is an expert in DUI law and evidence it would make more sense to retain the services of a lawyer to help them understand the Report and how they might best defend their driving privilege.

Many times everything that has transpired: from the initial stop, through field sobriety tests and arrest, is now videotaped.  After consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer, you may determine that surrendering your right to remain silent is not in your best interest.  In any event, the time to prepare for this hearing is always less than 30 days. It’s true you have 10, but it’s wise not to waste any time; particularly when you can call our firm and receive a free consultation as to how best to proceed.

The Steps of the DUI Process

It can happen to anyone: just a drink after dinner turns into a late-night party. You drink far more than you ever intended to. Even though you should call a ride, you get in your vehicle. You begin the drive home, only to soon see flashing lights in your rearview window. 

An officer assesses your condition then charges you with a DUI. This stands for “Driving Under the Influence.” You can be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol to be charged. The steps of a DUI can be lengthy. A lawyer from Rasmussen & Miner may be able to guide you during this tough time.

The Arraignment Process 

The officer should give you a citation ticket that provides a date and time for a mandatory court appearance. This is called an arraignment. A judge will read the charges against you in court. You can then plead guilty or not guilty. 

This is the first of a few steps in the process. Know that one of your rights is to have an attorney. A DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, can work with your specific situation to find a good outcome. 

The Pretrial Process

You should have a pretrial conference a few weeks after your arraignment. This is where your DUI attorney can work with the courts on your sentencing. Some examples of this include offering up a community service sentence instead of jail time if jail time is a common sentence. 

A Rasmussen & Miner attorney can also advise you of what to do next. This includes whether you should plead guilty, go to trial, or ask for a plea bargain. 

The Trial Process

The DUI process can end before it gets to a trial. You may plead guilty or take a plea bargain. In some cases, a trial is a necessary step in your sentencing. This is a court case complete with a jury. Your attorney may ask witnesses to testify. 

It can also be a lengthy operation. Your trial can range from days to weeks. This gives time for thorough questioning from the prosecution and defense. It also allows for the jury to come to a decision. 

If you are headed into a DUI trial, being patient can help. Let the process unfold as it should. Additionally, you may not even reach the trial process. A DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, can help you decide the best course of action in the DUI process. 

 

DUI infographic

 

I’ve been Charged with DUI. What Happens Now?

Being charged with DUI can be an overwhelming experience. A lot is at stake in your future. Depending on the severity of your charges you could be facing large fines and a long prison sentence. Your job and family may be at risk. Your driving privileges may be revoked for a short time or forever.

Your case is not unusual to Rasmussen & Miner Attorneys at Law. While it may be your first DUI charge or first encounter with the criminal system, as a team of DUI lawyers, we do this every day. We can help you navigate this difficult time and take your concerns off your shoulders.

  • What’s the first thing I should do after my release? It’s so important to immediately write down everything you remember from the day/night of your arrest. Here are some questions to help you get started:
  • Where had you been before your arrest?
  • What had you been eating and drinking?
  • How much alcohol did you have?
  • What time was it when you got in your car?
  • When and where were you stopped by police?
  • What did the officer say to you? How did you respond?

Small details in DUI cases can be the difference in winning or losing. All details should be written down right away, regardless of how insignificant you believe they are. Your DUI lawyer will sort through your story and be able to identify the most relevant pieces to your case. Time is of the essence, however, to record the details. The longer you wait after your arrest, the hazier your memory will become. Write it all down while it’s still clear in your mind.

Do I have access to the police report?

You absolutely do, and should most definitely get a copy. It is well within your rights to request a copy of the report.  The arresting officer’s report will contain the majority of evidence against you, including results of any field sobriety or chemical tests performed. Take the time to review this police report closely, and compare it to your notes of that night. Look for any inconsistencies between the two and bring them to the attention of your DUI lawyer.

Will I lose my license?

You will probably lose your license for at least a short time. Several factors will affect this, including your prior record and the severity of the charges against you. If you caused someone an injury or caused property damage the charges against you are likely more severe.

Some states require automatic administrative license suspension following a DUI charge. This is something you can often appeal, but you must do so within a short window of time following your arrest. Our DUI lawyers are familiar with these protocols and can assist you every step of the way.

Should I just plead guilty?

A lot of people choose to plead guilty, but they may do so without realizing their case could have been defended. If you plead guilty you are opening yourself up to the possibility of large fines, jail time, license suspension, court fees, higher car insurance rates, negative impact on your job, and expensive DUI training classes.

In many cases the cost of a DUI defense is outweighed by the long-term costs of a conviction. The team at Rasmussen & Miner Attorneys at Law is ready to review your case for free and evaluate all of your options. Call us now to get started.

Undergoing a Blood Alcohol Test

If you have been pulled over, then it is important to understand what the requirements in Utah are for whether or not you will have to undergo a blood alcohol test or breath test. Utah state law does require a mandatory blood alcohol test if the officer pulling you over has done so lawfully. If you attempt to not take this test and completely refuse, then penalties exist for not taking this mandatory test. Those penalties generally mean that your license will be taken away anywhere from 1 – 3 years depending on if this is your first offense or a repeat offense. The standard level of BAC% is .08% and higher. Speak with your DUI lawyer to learn more about these tests and what to do if you have opted to not take them and are facing penalties or fines. Utah takes DUI’s very seriously and having a lawyer on your side could be the difference between having your license revoked and paying large fines or having these things reduced or possibly dismissed.   

Possible Penalties for a DUI Offense

If you are facing a DUI in Utah, then it is important to understand and know the different penalties that are involved in these types of offenses. It will also make a difference as to whether or not this is your first, second or further repeat offense for DUI. If you are found guilty of DUI, then you most likely will have to spend a minimum of 2 days in jail. The maximum amount of time spent in jail for a first offense is 180 days. The fines involved with this first DUI offense are probably going to cost over 1,250$ along with a license suspension of at least 3 months. If you are facing a DUI and are in need of someone to help lower your offense penalties and fines, then a DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah from Rasmussen & Miner can be contacted for assistance. We have dealt with numerous DUI cases and have the skills, experience, and knowledge to help you out with the charges you are facing. Contact us today for a consultation and let’s get your case going in the right direction. 

Second and Third DUI Offense

If you are facing a second, third or more offense in Utah, then your Salt Lake City, UT DUI lawyer will fill you in on even more details regarding this repeat offense. The possible fines that exist for 2nd and 3rd DUI offenses range from 1,500$ – 3,000$ and possibly higher. Your license will most likely be taken away for at least 2 years as well. You will also be required to install an IID or ignition interlock device for a significant amount of time. Speak with our lawyers from Rasmussen & Miner today to look into all of the details of your case. We can help you out with your case and go over the nuances involved with what happened in your particular circumstance. 

Hearing before the Criminal Court

Your hearing before the Driver License Division only concerns your license. The criminal court has the power to take:  your license, liberty and money. Don’t make the mistake of believing that all DUI’s receive the same treatment. Criminal courts, their judges and prosecutors are generally employed by individual cities.  Each one of these cities has different standards for how DUI’s are handled. A seasoned Utah DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City will know how best to present your case in any of the numerous city courts that may have jurisdiction over your case.

Shorten your Driver License Suspension

Did you lose your license at the hearing before the Driver License Division?  This is another reason to consult with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer.  Many times it is possible, given your driving history and blood alcohol level, to have your driver license suspension time cut in half.  Call me today! There is a very good chance that I can use my experience as a DUI lawyer to cut your suspension in half as well.

If It’s Not Your First DUI

A record of DUI convictions may result in even more serious penalties with a subsequent conviction, which our DUI lawyer can explain at length after reviewing your case. The details of each individual’s case is what usually sways the decision process on the part of the prosecution and the Court. The driver’s past motor vehicle history plays a substantial role in this. A pattern of DUI will most often result in the most serious penalties allowable by law. However, there is hope for the driver when they hire an experienced DUI lawyer.

Understanding the role of field sobriety tests

At Rasmussen & Miner, we often get asked about field sobriety tests. Why do police conduct them? What evidence do they provide? Can an experienced Salt Lake City, UT DUI Lawyer challenge the results in court? We’ll address some of these concerns below.

The first thing to know is that, while many field sobriety tests have been created over the years, there are three which are considered “standard” because they are endorsed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as reliable tools to indicate impairment (to be confirmed by breath or blood tests). The three standard field sobriety tests include:

The walk-and-turn: The officer has you walk heel to toe in a straight line, turn around, and come back in the opposite direction. The test measures balance, coordination and ability to follow instructions.

The one-leg stand: The officer has you stand on one foot and raise the other about six inches off the ground and hold it there for approximately 30 seconds. The test measures your ability to balance.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus: The officer has you follow a moving object (such as his finger or a pen) with your eyes. When anyone’s eyes move from side to side, they will involuntarily jerk at extreme peripheral angles. When someone is alcohol-impaired, that jerking occurs at shallower angles.

Are these tests reliable?

As most any Salt Lake City, UT DUI Lawyer would tell you, field sobriety tests are not reliable indicators that a person is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Some people can pass these tests when very intoxicated. Many others will fail when completely sober. Common reasons for failure include:

·       Poor balance and coordination due to a medical condition, poor health or old age

·       Being out of shape or obese, making it harder to perform these actions

·       Suffering from an eye disorder that would skew the results of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test

·       Being nervous

·       Struggling to take the test and listen to directions on the side of a busy road at night (which is when DUI stops frequently occur)

·       Poor instructions from the officer and subjective interpretation of the results (by the officer)

At Rasmussen & Miner, we have extensive experience challenging the results and interpretations of field sobriety tests on behalf of clients.

Why are these tests used?

As you can see, these tests aren’t reliable indicators of impairment. But the reason they are used is simple: as a pretext to ask suspects to submit to a breath-alcohol or blood-alcohol test. The same officer who orders the test also administers it and interprets the results. You could fail a test simply because the officer wanted you to. And if you fail, the officer would then have probable cause to ask you to take a breathalyzer test.

Can you refuse field sobriety testing?

In Utah, there is no legal penalty for refusing a field sobriety test. That being said, an officer could still arrest you based on initial suspicions. While not every Salt Lake City, UT DUI Lawyer would give you the same answer as to whether you should refuse, they would at least tell you that it is your right to do so.

If you’d like case-specific advice on your DUI or other criminal matter, you can contact the attorneys at Rasmussen & Miner to schedule an initial consultation. 

When a person who is charged with a felony DUI enlists the help of a seasoned DUI lawyer from Rasmussen & Miner, they provide themselves the best chance for a successful outcome. How is this possible? After a close examination of the details of the defendant’s case, from the moment they were pulled over by law enforcement until they were charged with DUI, there may be just cause for a dismissal or a reduction of the charge to a simple misdemeanor.

The primary reason for why it’s so important to hire an experienced DUI lawyer is that they are much likelier to identify discrepancies and issues with the case against you than you are. If your DUI lawyer from Rasmussen & Miner discovers any of the following, they may be able to plead your case to a lesser charge or have your charge dismissed outright.

  • You were not read your Miranda rights at the time of your arrest.
  • A law enforcement officer lied or misled you into believing that your only legal option was to admit guilt for DUI whether or not you were actually DUI.
  • The chain of custody was broken for one or more pieces of evidence in the case against you. For example, if the blood sample for the blood alcohol test has possibly been tampered with, your DUI lawyer may be able to get the test results excluded from evidence and your case dismissed.
  • The law enforcement agency that arrested you did not allow you the opportunity to contact a DUI lawyer.
  • The law enforcement officer who pulled you over had no just or reasonable cause for doing so.

Don’t Hire a Lawyer Without Considering These Questions

Engaging the services of a DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, is critical to effectively navigate the legal implications of being charged with a driving under the influence offense. You might be wondering if you should hire a firm like Rasmussen & Miner to represent you. Here are the most important questions you should consider.

Do You Feel Comfortable Talking to Your Lawyer?

You’ll need to be completely honest with your lawyer in order for him or her to develop an effective legal strategy. This can be difficult to do, especially when you might feel shame or embarrassment over being charged with a DUI. It’s essential that you feel comfortable enough with your lawyer that you can tell the truth about the incident. Getting a DUI doesn’t make you a bad person. Everyone makes mistakes, about 1.5 million people a year, in fact, based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics.

Does Your Lawyer Have the Right Expertise?

When searching for a DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, you want to ensure that they have the right expertise. Look for a firm like Rasmussen & Miner that specializes in criminal defense and specifically references DUI cases. You’ll also want to ask how many of these cases they try and when they last tried one. Experience matters: Trial lawyers at Rasmussen & Miner have been defending against DUI cases for decades.

Does Your Lawyer Have a Good Reputation?

Looking for testimonials or reviews will give you insight directly from clients about their experience. Ask around to see if friends or family know a DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, with a good reputation. Many of Rasmussen & Miner’s clients are referred by word of mouth, and you can read client testimonials on their website.

Do You Feel Clear on Your Defense?

This is perhaps the most critical aspect of finding experienced legal representation. Your lawyers should be able to effectively explain the strategy they will use to defend your case. They should also be direct with you on what is realistic or unrealistic to expect from your defense. You want a lawyer who is a clear communicator focused on achieving a desirable outcome for you.

Consider these questions to ensure you get the most qualified defense lawyer. Many law firms offer a free consultation so you can evaluate their services. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before committing.

Possible Repercussions For a DUI

Each state has laws that make it illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. If the charge you are facing is listed as a DUI, DWI, or OUI, the repercussions can be quite severe. And unfortunately, the court system just doesn’t allow much leniency and often pushes for the most severe punishments. However, if you have a lawyer on your side who is dedicated and has represented cases like these in the past, you have a much better chance at retaining some degree of your freedom. While the laws differ by state, the penalties frequently include:

License Suspension

If you were arrested for a DUI, then your license is likely to be suspended for a period of time. Even if you aren’t convicted in criminal court of a DUI, DMV (or related agency) may suspend your license if the test shows that you had a BAC of 0.08% or more. If you do get convicted of the DUI, the court may decide to impose a suspension in addition to the DMV license suspension. But, these suspensions may overlap, meaning that you may not have to serve two full license suspensions. These are the kinds of details that the average person isn’t aware of, but a lawyer with experience in DUI cases does.

Serving Jail Time

Around half of the states in the U.S. impose mandatory jail sentences for first DUI convictions, and usually last from one day to a week. By having a lawyer represent your case, we can advocate for your behalf, try to reduce the time you spend in jail, or negotiate for other consequences in place of jail time. 

Fines and Fees

In most states, a first time offense for a DUI will result in a few hundred dollars in fines. There are also other fees associated with the DUI charge that will increase the amount they must pay. For instance, a driver may have to pay court or license-reinstatement fees.

Ignition Devices

Drivers who have been convicted of drinking and driving may be required to install an ignition interlock device onto their vehicles. This is similar to a breathalyzer that detects the percentage of alcohol in the body, and attaches to the vehicle ignition system. The car will not start until someone blows into the tube and has a breath reading free of alcohol presence.

Rehabiliation/Treatment

Some DUI offenders are court-ordered to participate in substance abuse treatment or education. The offender may be required to partake in a substance abuse evaluation and then complete recommended programs or treatments. 

Further Consequences

The repercussions listed above may not be the entirety of the potential DUI consequences. We strongly advise speaking with a lawyer as soon as you are able to after your arrest. Here at Rasmussen & Miner, we can protect your best interests and see to it that you are treated fairly by the court of law.

Busting 4 Common DUI Myths

1. Passing a Field Test Means You Won’t Get Arrested

You may think that if you are able to easily pass a field test that an officer administers that you can completely avoid being arrested. Rasmussen & Miner: Personal Injury Attorney notes that simply isn’t the case, since based on the officer’s opinion he or she can still ask you for a blood alcohol or breath test. Even if you refuse those further tests, which you have a legal right to, an officer can still arrest you for a DUI if they think that you could possibly endanger yourself or others because of any level of intoxication. 

2. You Are Fine If Your BAC is Below .05 Percent

Utah has the lowest legal blood alcohol content limit in the nation. The state takes DUI cases very seriously, which is why it is best to hire a DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City UT if you have been charged with a DUI. Some drivers think that as long as their BAC is below .05 then they never have to worry about a possible arrest. Just as passing a field test doesn’t keep you safe, neither does a lower BAC. A police officer can cite other reasons as to why they think you are too impaired to drive despite a lower BAC and arrest you as they see fit.

3. Chewing Gum and Mints Can Keep You Out of Trouble

Masking the odor of alcohol does nothing to hinder a DUI arrest. Mints and gum just turn alcohol-smelling breath into more minty alcohol-smelling breath. While trying to cover up any evidence of alcohol consumption will be futile, hiring a DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City UT like Rasmussen & Miner: Personal Injury Attorney can help you reduce the consequences of a DUI.

4. Follow the Two Drink Rule and You Can Avoid a DUI

This common myth about the number of drinks you consume in an evening certainly doesn’t hold up. Any DUI Lawyer in Salt Lake City UT can tell you that no person and no two drinks are the same. Everyone processes alcohol differently so there is no way to be sure that only two drinks will keep you from ever getting pulled over for a DUI. Different drinks also vary greatly in their alcohol content, so you cannot count on limiting yourself to only two drinks to keep you away from jail time.

Give Yourself the Best Chance for Avoiding a DUI Conviction

Even lawyers rarely represent themselves when they are in court. This is because it is nearly impossible to remain objective about one’s own legal issue. When you have a seasoned DUI lawyer who is tasked with the responsibility of protecting you, you can be confident that your rights will be protected.

A DUI conviction, particularly if it’s a felony, can result in a long prison sentence, fines of many thousands of dollars, the loss of your driver’s license, and other serious penalties. Rather than risk this scenario, contact Rasmussen & Miner without delay and request a free consultation. Our DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah from Rasmussen & Miner can meet with you, review the details of your case, and let you know if our representation might be a good fit for you.