Utah’s DUI Implied Consent Law
The dedicated defense attorneys at Levitt Legal are highly knowledgeable on Utah’s oftentimes complex driving under the influence (DUI) laws. If you were arrested for DUI in Salt Lake City or nearby areas, it’s important to understand your legal options, most importantly what happens if you took or refused to take a chemical test for DUI.
Salt Lake City Defense Lawyer Explains Utah’s DUI Implied Consent Laws
Utah has adopted an implied consent law. Utah’s implied consent law provides, in pertinent part,
(1)(a) A person operating a motor vehicle in [Utah] is considered to have … consent[ed] to a chemical test or tests of the person’s breath, blood, urine, or oral fluids for the purpose of determining whether the person was operating or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while:
(i) having a blood or breath alcohol content statutorily prohibited … [or]
(ii) under the influence of alcohol.
Utah Code Ann. § 41–6a–520(1)(a)(i)–(ii).
Refusing Chemical Testing after a DUI Arrest in Utah
Despite the implied consent law, the Utah legislature recognized that a person can simply refuse chemical testing. That refusal, however, is deemed to be an admission that the refusal could be used at any proceedings arising out of the arrest, see id. § 41–6a–524 (2005), as well as certain other administrative consequences, see id. § 41–6a–520(2).
The consequences of the refusal to take a breath, blood or urine test after a DUI arrest are particularly harsh in the State of Utah. Those consequences can include revocation of the driver license, a five (5) or ten (10) year prohibition on driving with any measurable alcohol in the person’s body, and the imposition of an ignition interlock device for three years. See Utah Code Ann. § 41–6a–520(2).
When the law enforcement officer notifies the person under arrest for DUI of the right to refuse, the officer must also warn the driver of the administrative consequences of refusal. The courts in Utah have held, however, that the Utah police officer is not necessarily required to warn the DUI suspect that the refusal can be used against him in the criminal case. See id. §§ 41–6a–520(2), –524.
Deciding Whether to Take the Chemical Test after a DUI Arrest in Utah
After a DUI arrest, the person is presented with a choice between two unappealing options:
(1) submitting to chemical testing at the risk of registering an alcohol concentration above the legal limit; or
(2) refusing the test and suffering the attendant consequences.
The courts have found that the implied consent laws are intended to compel the person to take the test. Miranda warnings are not typically required because the courts have deemed the “refusal” to be “not testimonial” evidence.
In some cases, the officer can testify about the fact that the person “refused the chemical test” but the officer may not say the words the person used to refuse such as “I will not take the test because….” The words of refusal are particularly at issue if the suspect has first invoked his or her right to remain silent or right to counsel, but was still asked about taking the chemical test.
Finding the Best DUI Attorney for Your Particular Case in Utah
If you were arrested for DUI, contact an experienced DUI attorney. Darren M. Levitt aggressively fights DUI charges that involve both a refusal, or a chemical test of the breath, blood or urine in the Salt Lake City-Ogden metropolitan area, which includes Salt Lake County, Davis County, and Weber County, Utah. Call today to schedule your free, confidential consultation to discuss the DUI charges that are pending against you.