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How Are DUI Arrests Made?

How are DUI arrests made? The answer starts on the road, with an officer’s observation, and progresses through assessments for intoxication via sobriety and breath tests. Once probable cause is confirmed, an arrest is initiated. We’ll cut through the complexities to outline the DUI arrest process, offering clear insights into what drivers can expect from the moment they’re stopped to the aftermath of the arrest.

During a DUI arrest, law enforcement officers follow a systematic process that includes observing the driver’s behavior, administering field sobriety tests, and carrying out preliminary breath tests to establish probable cause. Refusing to comply with chemical testing can lead to immediate consequences such as automatic driver’s license suspension, though drivers in Utah are not legally obligated to submit to field sobriety tests without repercussions.

It is crucial for individuals arrested for DUI to understand their rights and legal obligations, and to request a hearing to contest the driver’s license suspension within 10 days, as the repercussions of a DUI arrest can be severe and long-lasting.

dui arrest in utah

Navigating the Initial DUI Traffic Stop

The process of a DUI arrest in Utah typically begins with a traffic stop or a sobriety checkpoint. An officer needs a reasonable suspicion, such as a traffic violation or observable signs of impairment, to conduct a DUI traffic stop. If you are pulled over without a valid reason or if errors occur at a DUI checkpoint, this could lead to the suppression of evidence and dismissal of charges.

However, remember that violations against the Fourth Amendment, such as an officer entering your home without permission or making an arrest without witnessing the crime, can also be challenged in a DUI case. Being aware of these legal requirements can be a crucial first step in protecting your rights during a DUI investigation.

Identifying Signs of Impairment

During a traffic stop, officers carefully observe your behavior for specific signs of impairment. This may include fumbling with documents, slurred speech, or the odor of alcohol or marijuana. As these signs become apparent, a typical traffic stop can quickly escalate into a DUI investigation.

It is important to note that these signs alone do not confirm impairment. Other factors such as medical conditions or external influences can cause similar symptoms. Therefore, officers use these signs as a basis to conduct further DUI investigations.

The Role of Sobriety Checkpoints

In addition to traffic stops, DUI checkpoints serve as another method for law enforcement to identify impaired drivers. These checkpoints are exceptions to the general rule that police need specific evidence of wrongdoing before conducting a police pull.

Despite the seeming intrusion, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the legality of DUI checkpoints. According to the court, the state’s interest in reducing drunk driving incidents outweighs the minor inconvenience these checkpoints pose to motorists.

The DUI Investigation: A Step-by-Step Review

The DUI investigation is a systematic process consisting of three key phases:

  1. The vehicle in motion phase: involves the observation of the vehicle for signs of impaired driving such as weaving, swerving, or erratic speed.
  2. The personal contact phase: involves the officer making contact with the driver and assessing their behavior, appearance, and speech for signs of impairment.
  3. The pre-arrest screening phase: involves the administration of field sobriety tests and/or a preliminary breath test to gather evidence of impairment.

Next, during the personal contact phase, the law enforcement officer interacts face-to-face with the driver of the motor vehicle to look for further evidence of impairment. This could entail observing the driver’s speech or detecting the smell of alcohol, as well as assessing their actual physical control of the vehicle, especially in cases involving drunk drivers.

Finally, the pre-arrest screening phase includes the administration of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) and potentially preliminary breath tests (PBTs) to determine if there is probable cause for a DUI arrest. It is at this stage that the officer decides whether to make a DUI arrest based on the cumulative evidence gathered.

Field Sobriety and Breath Tests

Field sobriety tests and preliminary breath tests are standard roadside assessments used to confirm an officer’s suspicion of a driver’s alcohol impairment. Field sobriety tests such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn test, and one-leg stand test are designed to evaluate a driver’s balance, coordination, and ability to focus on multiple tasks. While these tests can indicate impairment, external factors such as medical conditions and procedural errors during testing can invalidate results.

Although drivers are not obligated to perform these tests or answer questions beyond providing their driver’s license and other documentation, refusal to comply can be noted and potentially used against the individual at trial.

Chemical Testing: Understanding Your Obligations

As part of the DUI arrest process in Utah, motorists lawfully arrested for DUI are required to submit to chemical testing under the state’s implied consent laws. These tests, including blood, breath, and urine tests, help prosecutions by providing evidence of the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

However, it is important to note the differing legality of refusing certain types of tests. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing the refusal to take a blood test are unconstitutional, while laws criminalizing refusal to submit to a breath test are generally permissible.

Understanding these obligations can help you make informed decisions during a DUI arrest.

Arrested for DUI: What Comes Next?

Once the officer determines probable cause for a DUI arrest, you’ll be cuffed and transported to the local jail or police station. From the moment of arrest, a 10-day window begins during which you must request a Driver License Division (DLD) hearing to avoid automatic suspension of your driving privileges. The consequences of a DUI arrest can be severe, particularly for first-time offenders who may face:

  • fines
  • potential jail time
  • mandatory alcohol or drug screening
  • education programs
  • a period of driver’s license suspension

This complex process can be daunting, making it crucial to contact an experienced DUI attorney like Darren Levitt to guide you through the ensuing legal process.

Booking and Processing

During the booking and processing phase, you’ll be officially entered into the criminal justice system. This involves:

  • Recording personal information
  • Taking a mugshot
  • Inventorying personal belongings
  • Collecting fingerprints

Following this, depending on the severity of the DUI offense and any prior convictions, you may be allowed to post bail, providing financial assurance of your return for court proceedings.

While the term ‘implied consent’ in Utah means that drivers have already agreed to chemical testing, refusing such a test can result in automatic driver’s license suspension. If you refuse chemical testing, law enforcement can obtain a search warrant to enforce the test, potentially using force if necessary.

Handling Driver License Suspension

Following a DUI arrest, you will be immediately issued a temporary paper driving permit. However, a DUI offense typically incurs an automatic 120-day driving license suspension. To contest this suspension, you must request a hearing with the Driver License Division within 10 days of your arrest.

It’s crucial to understand that a DUI charge in Utah involves both a criminal case conducted by the state, following the Utah Code, and a separate administrative case for license revocation or suspension handled by the Utah Driver’s License Division. To retain your driving privileges, you must be successful in both the criminal court case and the administrative Driver’s License Division hearing.

Building Your Defense with Levitt Legal

Building a defense against a DUI charge requires expertise and a deep understanding of the law. Darren Levitt, a highly experienced DUI attorney, provides a swift response in DUI defense, promptly analyzing evidence and preparing for both settlement negotiations and potential trial scenarios.

Each DUI case defense strategy is precisely tailored by Darren Levitt to suit your unique circumstances, leveraging his specialized knowledge of Utah’s DUI laws.

Comprehensive Case Workup

A comprehensive approach is used in crafting your DUI defense with Levitt Legal. This includes meticulous preparation and investigation for each case, ensuring that every detail from the legality of the traffic stop to the accuracy of blood alcohol content testing is scrutinized.

Each defense is customized, incorporating an in-depth understanding of the law and considering the unique aspects of your case. Darren Levitt’s primary goal is to safeguard your rights and mitigate the long-term consequences of DUI charges on your life.

Active Client Communication

Throughout the legal process of a DUI case, Darren Levitt maintains clear and transparent communication with his clients. This includes providing straightforward updates, and ensuring that you are well informed at every step of your legal journey.

This active client communication approach is crucial in helping you understand the progress of your case, the legal procedures involved, and the potential outcomes. You can count on receiving transparent guidance from Darren Levitt throughout your DUI case.

Legal Guidance Through the Utah Criminal Court System

Once you’ve been charged with a DUI, it’s essential to understand the charges against you and how the court process works. Darren Levitt assists clients in understanding the varying degrees of DUI offenses, which can influence the defense approach. He guides clients through the procedural hurdles of the court process, from arraignment to pretrial motions, ensuring they are informed at each step.

Pre-trial preparation includes gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and developing a strategic defense for trial.

Understanding Legal Charges and Court Procedures

The law in Utah prohibits driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher, which is the legal limit, and for drivers under 21, any detectable amount of alcohol in their system is grounds for DUI charges, under the ‘Not a Drop’ law. The penalties for DUI vary based on the severity of the incident, ranging from a Class B Misdemeanor for a first-time conviction to a Third Degree Felony for more serious or repeated offenses.

Apart from the criminal court case, a DUI process in Utah also includes an administrative case with the Driver License Division. This can impact sanctions such as:

  • fines
  • jail time
  • probation
  • license status

Exploring Options and Strategies

Entering a not-guilty plea allows you to engage in a pre-trial process, where negotiations with the prosecutor may occur to potentially avoid a trial. This stage can often lead to lesser charges or even dismissal, making it a critical part of your defense strategy.

Mitigating Circumstances and Dismissal Tactics

While a DUI charge can be daunting, it’s important to know that there are strategies to prevent the escalation of charges based on your prior DUI history. For example, if past DUIs occurred over a decade ago or had been previously reduced to lesser charges, these can be used as legal arguments against DUI charge upgrades.

Understanding and leveraging these mitigating circumstances can be crucial in crafting a strong defense strategy against DUI charges.

Challenging Evidence and Test Results

A critical part of your defense strategy can involve challenging the evidence and test results used in your DUI case. Darren Levitt scrutinizes every detail from the legality of the traffic stop to the accuracy of blood alcohol content testing.

Breathalyzer devices that are not correctly calibrated can lead to inconsistent test results, providing a basis to challenge the reliability of BAC evidence. Procedural errors during the DUI investigation can also be contested.

Addressing Procedural Errors

Another critical aspect of your DUI defense can involve addressing any procedural errors during the investigation. For instance, in Utah, refusal to consent to an evaluation by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) carries no criminal or driver’s license penalties.

Understanding these nuances can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

Protecting Your Rights with Fierceness and Integrity

Facing a DUI charge can be an incredibly stressful experience. However, having an experienced attorney like Darren Levitt by your side can provide much-needed reassurance. Darren employs vigorous advocacy and upholds ethical practices while defending your:

  • freedom
  • liberty
  • property
  • constitutional rights

During the DUI arrest process, it is crucial to understand the legal implications and procedures involved in DUI arrests, as well as the potential outcomes in DUI cases.

His commitment to protecting your rights with fierceness and integrity is evident in his approach to DUI defense. His experience and practice encompass cases in the full range of procedural postures, making him a valuable ally in your fight against DUI charges.


The DUI arrest process can be a legal labyrinth, but with the right knowledge and legal support, you can navigate it successfully. From the initial traffic stop to challenging evidence and procedural errors, understanding your rights and obligations is key. Darren Levitt’s expertise in DUI law provides you with a fierce and dedicated advocate, guiding you through the complexities of the Utah criminal court system. Remember, a DUI charge is not a conviction. With the right defense, you can fight for your rights and strive for the best possible outcome. Contact Levitt Legal today and see how we can help you with your DUI arrest in Utah!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of impairment officers look for during a traffic stop?

If you exhibit fumbling with documents, slurred speech, or the odor of alcohol or marijuana during a traffic stop, officers may consider you impaired. Be aware of these signs to prevent any legal consequences.

What are the three phases of a DUI investigation?

The three phases of a DUI investigation are the vehicle in motion phase, the personal contact phase, and the pre-arrest screening phase. These phases help law enforcement officers gather the necessary evidence to determine if an individual is driving under the influence.

What happens if I refuse to perform roadside sobriety tests in Utah?

If you refuse to perform roadside sobriety tests in Utah, it can be noted and potentially used against you at trial, although you are not obligated to perform these tests. It’s important to consider the potential consequences of refusal.

What are the consequences of a DUI arrest in Utah?

If you get a DUI in Utah, you could face a fine, possible jail time, mandatory alcohol or drug screening and education programs, and a period of driver’s license suspension. Be mindful of the potential repercussions.

Can I challenge the evidence and test results in my DUI case?

Yes, you can challenge the legality of the traffic stop and the accuracy of the test results in your DUI case. It is within your rights to do so.