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First DUI in Utah and its Impact on the Driver License Hearing
You have just bailed out of jail after your DUI arrest. You are trying to figure out what to do. You have never been in trouble before, never gone to jail. You recall with some regret that you had some alcohol or some other substance and that you were stopped by a police officer for what seemed a trivial reason. All you know right now is that you are in trouble and justifiably lost as to the best course of action to take. You look at your DUI ticket. You notice that the upper left hand corner has information regarding the criminal court, in which you are to appear, “no sooner than 5 no later than 14 days after the issuance of the citation…” Then you recall, (if you are extremely fortunate) that the police officer took away your license and that the citation he gave you in return was to act as a temporary license for 29 days. You read the lower half of your ticket and it informs you that you can have a hearing to determine whether or not you continue to have a driving privilege (but only if you make a request in writing to the driver license division within 10 calendar days) If you fail to do this you will lose your privilege irrespective of your guilt or innocence.
So what does an accused person understand about this hearing? He knows he has to request a hearing within 10 calendar days. He might be able to deduce that this hearing has to occur with the 29 days his temporary license is valid…but what else? What kind of hearing is this going to be? What evidence is the hearing officer going to require from the police officer? How can the accused person get a copy of that evidence before the hearing? How can the accused person attack that evidence? What helpful evidence might the accused person present…if any? If you can’t answer any of these questions what kind of hearing can you expect? A hearing that simply rubber-stamps the suspension of your driver’s license.
Strangely, Utah law only requires that the accused person receive basic notice about his right to a hearing and gives the accused absolutely no right to receive the evidence the Driver License Division requires from the arresting officer. Unknown to the accused, the arresting officer also has a 10 day requirement to submit a report to the Division “a signed report in a manner specified by the division…” What is this “report?” Would a person understand its significance by researching the statute? No! The report referenced as “specified by the division…” is called the “DUI REPORT.”
The DUI REPORT is the blue print of the government’s case against the accused person. At the commencement of the hearing, hopefully requested by the accused person, the hearing officer will ask the officer to identify both the DUI citation by number and the DUI REPORT by case number and then lead the officer through the DUI REPORT he submitted within the required 10 day period. Imagine how helpless an accused would feel not even being able to see the DUI REPORT. How do you get the report prior to the hearing? You ask for it in writing from the Division at the same time you request the hearing. Strange and unfair that you would have to ask for the evidence that is going to be used against you at the hearing you are required to request? Absolutely!
What’s in the DUI REPORT?
The DUI REPORT is going to detail: What first brought you to the officer’s attention, what traffic violation he observed justifying him stopping you, what were your initial statements, what was you speech and balance like, what physical disabilities you might have that would impact field sobriety tests, what field sobriety tests were given, how and under what conditions were the field sobriety tests administered, how were you graded on those tests, what admonitions were given prior to asking you to take the intoxilizer or other chemical test, whether or not he checked your mouth for foreign substances prior to having you blow in the intoxilizer, whether or not he had current certification for operating the intoxilizer system, whether the testing equipment had been tested and calibrated, whether or not you consented or refused, and how and when notice of the Division’s intent to suspend or revoke your license pursuant to this hearing was served.
The above details are not a complete list, but every one of those details would give an attorney skilled in DUI law an opportunity to win your hearing. A competent DUI attorney will want this report ASAP. He will want to go over it with you in detail before the hearing. He will want to find out if you have testimony that would be helpful. He will also want to find out if there is video that he can compare with the DUI REPORT. Many times the video, which can’t lie, doesn’t line up with the REPORT. Imagine how powerful that is! He will want the opportunity to cross examine the arresting officer under oath and fix his testimony at the Driver License Hearing before the criminal proceeding even starts. Any accused person who does not employ an attorney who is aggressively representing him at the Driver License Hearing is losing all realistic chances of winning the hearing and hamstringing his defense in the criminal case where more than just his license is at stake.
Questions to Ask a First DUI Lawyer Salt Lake City UT Drivers Trust
If you have been charged with drunk driving for the first time, you need a skilled first DUI lawyer to handle your defense. It is critical to find the right attornlawyerey — one who is experienced in cases like yours. When you are searching for an lawyer, the following are questions you should ask to make sure you are hiring a DUI lawyer who is well-versed in Salt Lake City UT drunk driving laws.
How much experience does the attorney have handling DUI cases?
It is important to have an attorney who has experience handling cases like yours. The more experience an attorney has with DUI cases, the more knowledge they’ll have about different tactics used by prosecutors and law enforcement. Asking about the outcomes of other cases the attorney has handled can also be helpful.
What is the attorney’s caseload like?
Attorneys often handle many cases at once; however, you want to make sure that your attorney has the time and resources to prepare a strong defense on your behalf and represent you.
Who will actually handle your case?
There are several people who may be part of your attorney’s legal team, depending on the size of the law firm. The larger the firm, the more chances there are that the attorney you meet and hire may not be the one who actually handles your case. With smaller firms, that is less likely to happen and the attorney you hire will be the one who shows up in court. Attorneys also depend on their different support staff to help in client’s cases, including paralegals, legal assistants, and law clerks. Knowing who will be working on your case — and even being introduced to them — can be reassuring to clients that they are being kept fully informed about their case.
How often do the attorney’s cases go to trial?
The majority of cases are resolved before they go to trial. This is often due to the defense attorney and prosecutor working out a plea deal. However, you want to make sure — depending on the circumstances of your case — that the attorney you hire will be prepared to diligently defend you, should your case go to trial.
What will the cost of representation be?
Defending against criminal charges can be expensive; however, it is critical to keep in mind that this is your future at stake. It is important to know how much this defense will be upfront before you retain the attorney and what type of fee arrangement is required.
Contact a First DUI Lawyer Today
If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, you could be facing serious consequences — not only criminally but also personally. You may be facing the loss of your license, heavy fines, and possibly even jail time. A conviction can also affect your ability to work, as well as future job or educational opportunities.
Call Rasmussen and Miner, P.C. today to find out how a first DUI lawyer Salt Lake City UT families trust may be able to help. At Rasmussen and Miner, P.C., we work diligently to protect the rights of our clients and help them seek the best possible outcomes based on the circumstances of their cases. Call our office today for a free case evaluation.