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DWI lawyer Salt Lake City UT
If you’ve been arrested in Utah for a DWI, it may be in your best interest to call a DWI lawyer Salt Lake City, UT residents regularly consult for trusted legal advice from Rasmussen & Miner. We may be able to advise you of what actions you should take and answer any questions you may have. As a DWI lawyer, we are frequently asked what to do after a DWI/DWI arrest. One of the biggest concerns for clients is Could I Lose My Job After a DWI Conviction?
Call Rasmussen & Miner, Attorneys at Law, at 801-683-9944 to have a free consultation to walk through the things you should do after an arrest. The following information may also be helpful but remember it’s general advice and not specific to your situation.
Recovering Your Vehicle from the Impound
Any lawyer may warn you that if you are arrested for a DWI, the arresting officer may impound your vehicle according to Utah law. Before you can get your vehicle from the impound lot, you have to clear it with the DMV so the impound can release your car. You may need the following things at the DMV office:
- Evidence that you own the car (registration, bill of sale, title, etc.)
- A copy of the vehicle impound report you receive from the police
- A picture I.D.
- $330 Impound fee
Once you present all of the required information and fees to the DMV, they may release your vehicle and give you a Letter of Impound Release. This is the letter you may show the impound lot, along with a photo I.D., to get your vehicle back. Keep in mind that the impound lot may have its own storage and towing fees that you may have to pay in addition to the DMV fee.
Request a Driver License Division Hearing
In Utah, if you had a license when you were arrested, the arresting officer may confiscate it. It’s the state law that your license should get taken and it’s then mailed to the Driver License Division (DLD). You have to request a hearing with the DLD within 10 days of your arrest in order to have a chance at getting your license back.
If you don’t request a hearing within the 10-day timeframe, your license is automatically suspended. Once you have a hearing date, you may want to hire a DWI lawyer to represent you at the hearing in order to increase your chances of getting your license back.
Mental Health Considerations
Mental health is an important potential factor in your DWI case. You may want to ask yourself how and why, and whether it was the first incident or just the first time you’ve been caught. Many people charged with a DWI or DUI are going through hard times and could use extra support. It could work in your favor in the defense case if you have been diagnosed with one or more of these mental health conditions:
- Bipolar disorder
- Alcohol use disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
Sometimes when our mind doesn’t feel well, we turn to substances to blanket the pain temporarily. Please be open and honest with us if you think you could benefit from receiving therapy, rehabilitation, or completing an educational class. We can utilize this information during negotiations with the prosecution and judge, in hopes that you can avoid jail time and enter a support program instead. Those with untreated mental illness may be susceptible to continued offenses related to DWI/DUI, and we may be able to motivate the prosecution to give you the resources you need and a chance to get healthy.
There is no shame in getting help for yourself if you think you may have an issue with alcohol or a mental health illness. Pursuing counseling, which can be a part of your DWI plea deal, can help you reduce or quit drinking, and thus decrease your likelihood of having another alcohol-related arrest.
If you want your driver’s license back (or at least restricted driving privileges), it may be required of you to undergo an alcohol evaluation. A trained counselor will assess your alcohol use patterns to decide if you have an alcohol-influenced condition. Usually, the evaluator will inquire about your alcohol consumption and how it has affected your life. Based on the conclusions of your evaluation, you may attend a court-approved treatment program, that can give you the support you need to heal your inner struggles.
How a DWI Lawyer Can Help
After a DWI, drivers may wonder why they need a lawyer. They made a mistake and already got arrested for it, so how is an attorney going to change things? There are several important ways our team at Rasmussen & Miner: Personal Injury Attorney can help.
Fighting the Charges
It’s smart to contact a DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City UT as soon as you’ve been charged. Your attorney can review the charges against you and analyze the law enforcement procedures followed. If police administered tests in a way that breaks the law or committed other serious legal mistakes, your lawyer may be able to get the charges dropped.
Building a Strong Case
The stronger your case, the more likely it is for you to get a favorable outcome at your trial. One of the ways a DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City UT helps is by gathering evidence to defend you. This may include eyewitness testimony, camera footage, medical records, police records and other evidence that bolsters your defense.
Helping You Avoid Conviction
Being arrested for DWI isn’t the same thing as being convicted. Depending on the circumstances of the case, your DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City UT may be able to cast doubt on the methods followed by law enforcement in determining your guilt.
Many jurors know that police officers can make serious mistakes and show prejudice in their duties. If your DWI arrest is the result of this type of injustice, the jury may find in your favor.
Minimizing the Consequences
There is a wide range of possible consequences in DWI cases. Even if it’s not possible to avoid a conviction completely, a DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City UT can help to reduce the severity of the sentence, sometimes through a plea agreement. That way, you can reduce the harm to your life and family.
Looking Out for Your Other Interests
Another reason having a DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City UT by your side matters is that we care about your wellbeing. Besides the criminal charges you face, there’s the question of dealing with your insurance company. Your attorney can help defend your finances against insurance-related lawsuits and negotiate on your behalf.
Guiding You Through the Case
One of the most important ways our team at Rasmussen & Miner: Personal Injury Attorney helps is by providing legal expertise you can trust. We have extensive experience with DWI/DUI cases and courtroom litigation. We can help you avoid common mistakes that get you into trouble, such as admitting fault to law enforcement.
Mistakes to Avoid After a DWI Arrest
If you have just been arrested for a DWI, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and scared. However, if you let these emotions take control, you are more likely to make mistakes that could hurt your case. Here are common mistakes a DWI lawyer would tell you to avoid:
- Not Requesting an Administrative Hearing: If you have been arrested for a DWI, the police will take away your driver’s license. In order to get your license reinstated, you have to request an administrative hearing within 10 days. If you delay requesting this hearing, you might not be able to get your license back until after your case is over.
- Driving With a Suspended License: The judge doesn’t always reinstate driver’s licenses at administrative hearings. If your request to get your license reinstated was denied, you probably feel frustrated. However, that doesn’t mean you should try to drive your vehicle anyway. We have seen many individuals receive harsher penalties for driving with a suspended license.
- Pleading Guilty Right Away: Even if your blood alcohol was above the legal limit, you might not want to plead guilty immediately. It’s still possible that the test is inadmissible and can’t be used against you. For example, if the police officer didn’t administer the sobriety test correctly, it could get thrown out. Let a DWI lawyer look over all the evidence and determine if there is anything that could reduce or dismiss your charge.
- Admitting to the Police the You Consumed Alcohol: If the police pull you over under the suspicion of drunk driving, they will ask you if you have consumed any alcohol. It’s not a good idea to admit to anything. The information you tell the police may be used against you in court. To avoid jeopardizing your case, you may tell the police that you don’t wish to answer that question without a DWI lawyer present.
- Not Taking Your Charges Seriously: Getting charged with a DWI is a serious matter and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even if you are innocent and haven’t been in trouble with the law before, you should still take these charges seriously. Follow all your bond conditions and listen to everything your DWI lawyer tells you.
- Talking About Your Case With Others: When you are dealing with a DWI charge, you may feel afraid or depressed and want to talk about your case with a close family member or friend. However, this could backfire. If your family or friends are subpoenaed, they may be required to tell the court everything you told them. To avoid these issues, avoid discussing details about your case with anyone but your DWI lawyer.
- Not Hiring the Right Lawyer: To improve your chances of a successful outcome, it’s crucial to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you.
What should I know about being charged with a DWI?
Being arrested and accused, or charged, with a DWI can be extremely upsetting, nerve-wracking, and confusing. DWI lawyers from Rasmussen & Miner can tell you these charges are taken very seriously by Utah’s state courts because drinking while driving can be consequential to your life and those around you. If you have been charged with a DWI or may be facing charges, here is what you should know:
- As soon as you have been pulled over by the police for any reason, including the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is important that you be respectful and maintain their cooperation. An experienced DWI lawyer warns to avoid arguing with the officer, using verbal insults, or threats.
- You can choose to refuse a field sobriety test, such as a breathalyzer. However, your lack of consent could have an adverse effect on you in court. If you do refuse to test, you may be arrested and taken to the police station and be required to give a blood test. Your vehicle may be towed to a facility and you will be given the details of the towing company and how to get your vehicle out of the impound. This will be at your own expense.
- If you are under arrest, your Miranda Rights should be read to you. At this time, you can choose to remain silent by not saying anything further until you have spoken with a lawyer.
- Once you arrive at the nearest station, you may be put into a holding cell while you wait to be processed. This can take several hours. If this is the first time you have ever had a DWI, it may take longer. An intake officer will take your fingerprints and a mug shot. An investigator may question you about the incident. If you have invoked your Miranda Rights, you don’t have to say anything until your lawyer arrives.
- The amount of time you spend at the station will largely depend on where the DWI happened, your age, your current criminal record, your blood alcohol levels, your cooperation with the police, and whether there are any aggravating factors. If you are released on bond, you will have the chance to contact relatives or friends for the amount owed and to pick you up from the police station. If they do not have the money, you may call a bondsman. In certain situations, you will be sent to jail until your arraignment.
- Once charged, you will almost certainly be required to go to court where you will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty. After which, you will be sentenced. If you have a Salt Lake City, Utah DWI lawyer, he or she can speak on your behalf. Failure to appear in court could result in a warrant for your arrest.
- If you were found guilty, you may be asked to complete community service or alcohol rehabilitation programs. These should be completed quickly so you can return to court and let them know you have fulfilled your duty. Fines and fees should also be paid. If you have any concerns or questions regarding your punishment, it is important you speak with your DWI lawyer.
- Depending on your charge, you may get a criminal record. The DWI could stay on your record for a number or years, if not for life. It is possible for employers to view this record before they hire you. You may also have to include it on visa forms to enter other countries or rental application forms. Lying about your record could result in further consequences.
A DWI can have a massive impact on your life. If you find yourself in a situation that involves you being charged with a DWI, you should consult a DWI lawyer from Rasmussen & Miner as soon as possible.
How do I get my DWI dismissed?
Even before you contact our DWI lawyer at Rasmussen & Miner, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get your DWI charge dismissed. The truth is, the answer depends on whether or not you hired a skilled DWI lawyer such as one at our firm, and the circumstances of your situation. Below we provide a general overview which you may find helpful, but you will receive information specific to your case when you talk to our legal team.
We offer Salt Lake City residents a no-obligation, no-cost first-time consultation with our DWI lawyer to discuss their case. After an honest assessment of your circumstances, you may have a clearer perspective of your situation.
What is a good defense strategy for a DWI?
Again, the answer will depend on your particular circumstances. For instance, your DWI lawyer may have reason to believe that the law enforcement officer who pulled you over had no right to do so. A large part of our successful record in defending Salt Lake City, UT residents is the diligence of our DWI lawyer who invests a significant amount of resources into investigating and preparing each client’s case. As a result, aspects of your case may send up red flags which can form the basis of dismissal, or at the very least, a reduction in your charge. Common examples include these:
The law enforcement officer did not have probable cause to pull you over.
- The equipment used by the law enforcement officer to perform your DWI field test was not properly calibrated and therefore the alcohol reading was not accurate.
- The law enforcement officer did not read your rights when they arrested you.
- You have a medical condition that does not impair your ability to drive, but it does make successfully performing a roadside sobriety test impossible to pass.
- The lab testing company that analyzed your blood test contaminated the results in some way.
I’m not sure why I got pulled over. Can I challenge the stop as part of my defense?
You can challenge the legality of a traffic stop, and you should challenge it if you believe the officer didn’t have a valid reason to pull you over. While police officers have a lot of latitude when it comes to making traffic stops, they can’t initiate one for just any reason.
If you challenge the stop (with the help of a Salt Lake City, UT DWI Lawyer) and a court determines that it was illegal, any evidence obtained during the traffic stop would likely be inadmissible in court. When you contact Rasmussen & Miner for experienced defense representation, the traffic stop will be one of many issues that we investigate on your behalf.
What would be an acceptable reason to initiate a traffic stop?
Essentially, the officer needs to witness a traffic violation/vehicle issue or otherwise have reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed. Here are some reasons for a traffic stop that would likely hold up in court:
- The officer noticed you swerving or driving erratically in a manner that suggests alcohol or drug impairment.
- The officer saw you commit a traffic violation such as a “rolling stop” at a stop sign, running a red light or speeding.
- The officer observed a problem with your vehicle that violated Utah vehicle regulations, was likely to be dangerous, or both.
- The officer received a detailed tip from another driver who suspected that you were driving drunk. The tip would need to include things like a good description of your car, your location and the direction you were traveling.
What would be an unacceptable reason to initiate a traffic stop?
Basically, any reason other than those listed above might mean that the stop was illegal. For instance, potentially illegal reasons to pull you over include:
- An observation that you “looked suspicious” or “looked nervous”
- An observation that you were driving with license plates from a state other than Utah
- Your race or skin color (this is an obvious red flag)
- A vehicle violation that the officer couldn’t have noticed until after pulling you over (like a small crack in your windshield that would not be visible after dark unless looking at it up close).
- A very vague tip received from another driver (such as a description of a suspected drunk driver in a “white car”).
An experienced Salt Lake City, UT DWI Lawyer like those at Rasmussen & Miner will examine every detail of your traffic stop to determine if the officer violated your rights or otherwise deviated from protocol. If so, we may be able to have the charges dismissed or greatly reduced.
Should I challenge the reason for the stop during the stop?
If you are ever pulled over, it is important to be reasonably compliant and cooperative. Nearly any Salt Lake City, UT DWI Lawyer would tell you that challenging the officer during the stop is not a good idea. Instead, make a mental note of your concerns and bring them up with the attorneys at Rasmussen & Miner during your initial consultation.
Penalties for DWI/DUI in Utah
It is important to understand the different levels of penalties that exist due to a DWI in Utah. Everyone’s case is different due to the details involved in their specific case. It will also depend upon prior offenses and how many DUI’s you have been charged with in the past. The first offense sees a jail time of 2 days along with a fine of at least 1000$ for a DUI. Your license will also be suspended for 120 days and you will have to have an IID or ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. If a judge offers you a plea of admitting guilt to DWI, then you may be able to avoid going to court for a DUI. This may mean you can keep your license and avoid some of the penalties involved with a DUI as the penalties for a DUI are generally higher than those for a DWI. Ask your DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT for more information about the details that exist between DUI and DWI.
Second and Third Offenses
If you are a repeat offender and have been charged with a second or third DWI/DUI, then it is important to understand the possible penalties. Your fine will go up to 1500$ or more for a second offense and over 2500$ for a third offense. The minimum jail time also jumps to 5 days for a second offense and 62 days for a third offense. Your license will also be taken away for 2 years or more and you will be required to have an IID or ignition interlock device equipped in your car for 2 years. If you are facing a second or third offense, then contact Rasmussen & Miner today for help with your case. We can help you out with your defense and review all of the details of your case.
What is an IID or Ignition Interlock Device?
An IID can be thought of as a device that allows you to start your car if you can pass its test. It’s a breathalyzer installed in your car that is connected to the car’s computer. If you blow into the breathalyzer and pass the test, you can start your car and operate it normally. If you do not pass, then your car will not be able to start for a certain amount of time. When someone has been charged in the state of Utah with a DUI, the judge may order for this device to be installed in their car. The device also at certain points while driving will require the driver to blow into it again. If the driver does not do this in a certain amount of time (usually around 5 minutes), then the car may start to blow its horn or flash its lights until the driver completes the test. If you have been charged with DWI or DUI, then contacting a DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT from Rasmussen & Miner can help you out with your case. We will look into all of the details of your situation and come up with a strategy to help you out.
Can there be aggravating factors in your DWI case?
If you are pulled over for a DWI, you may be wondering if there could be aggravating factors. The truth is, there can be. A DWI is already bad enough but the circumstances surrounding you getting pulled over may make things even worse. When there is more to this story, remember that it will only benefit you if you are working with a DWI lawyer you can trust. Below, you will find out more about aggravating factors and what could make a DWI conviction even worse.
- You were driving with passengers in the car. If you are pulled over and charged with a DWI, this could automatically be worse if you had any passengers in the car. Getting into an accident will not only put your life at risk but it will put the lives of anyone else in the car at risk as well.
- You were driving with a minor. You can expect your penalties to be much worse if you had one or more passengers in the car who were minors. Having someone in the car who is less than 16 years old could mean you are facing a much harsher punishment.
- You crashed the car. If you were swerving your car and a police officer pulled you over and charged you with a DWI, you can expect that the punishment for that would be lighter than if you had crashed. If you caused property damage or if you injured someone else while you were driving, you will be facing additional punishments.
I wasn’t even driving the car. How did I still get charged?
In the state of Utah, you may still be charged even if you were not driving the car. This can happen if a police officer deems you “in control” of the car. This means the police officer will be looking for a few things specifically:
- Were your car keys in the ignition of the car?
- Were you in the driver’s seat or somewhere else in the car?
- Were you awake or were you sleeping?
If you were not driving your car, you want to make sure you discuss this with your Utah DWI attorney. They may be able to argue that you were never operating your vehicle and you were not in control of your vehicle and were thus not a threat to you or anyone else.
Can You Be Charged With DWI if Your Blood Alcohol Was Under the Legal Limit?
Utah has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the country. While most states impose a legal limit for blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, Utah recently lowered the legal limit to 0.05%. If you are drinking anything at all, it is difficult to remain below that threshold, but you may be surprised to learn that you can face charges for impaired driving even if your BAC is under the legal limit. If this ever happens to you, you should definitely call a DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, at Rasmussen & Miner: Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible.
What Does the Law Say About the Legal Limit?
Many people believe that it is legal to drive with any amount of alcohol in your body as long as it is below the statutory limit. This is not true. The legal limit is the amount of alcohol in your system at which the law presumes that you are too impaired by alcohol to drive.
However, your BAC is only one piece of evidence used to determine impairment. If you showed other signs that your driving ability was affected by alcohol consumption, all the evidence taken as a whole could be enough to justify charging you with impaired driving even if your BAC was below the legal limit.
The time elapsed and the metabolization of alcohol by your body are also taken into consideration. For example, if your BAC could not be tested until after you were arrested and taken to the station, it might be below the legal limit. However, during the time it took to transport you to the station, your body was processing and neutralizing the alcohol you had consumed. It is possible to extrapolate that if your BAC was slightly under the legal limit at the time of testing, it may have been over at the time of your arrest. However, a DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, may be able to successfully challenge this assumption.
What Does Research Say About Impairment?
Utah’s lower legal limit is based on research showing that impairment of driving ability occurs at lower blood alcohol concentrations than previously realized. Information processing, eye movement, and reaction time are all slowed with a BAC of 0.05%. Even a 0.02% BAC may hamper multitasking ability and visual functioning.
Many factors affect the way that the body processes alcohol. Because BAC is only one piece of evidence, it may be possible to provide evidence showing that you were not impaired despite the level of alcohol in your blood. Contact Rasmussen & Miner: Personal Injury Attorney to discuss your case with a DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT.
Hire a DWI Lawyer at Rasmussen & Miner Today
Hiring a DWI lawyer may be in your best interest because a skilled lawyer may be able to help you keep your license, reduce your penalties, and prevent jail time. You may be tempted to just use a public defender, but remember that public defenders may not have your best interests in mind because they work with the County Prosecutor’s office.
DWI charges are serious in Utah and the penalties may be severe. Don’t make the mistake of not being properly represented. We understand that right now you may feel like everything and everyone is up against you. Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty, and it is worth having a lawyer who will work relentlessly on your behalf. We can protect your future, finances, and freedom. Call Rasmussen & Miner for your free consultation with a DWI lawyer from Salt Lake City, Utah by dialing (801) 363-8500 today.