Is DUI a Misdemeanor or Felony In Salt Lake City, Utah?

What are the penalties for drunk driving?

Utah imposes stiff penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) convictions, and both state and county courts can boast about a high conviction rate. However, getting charged with a DUI is not the same as being convicted. Furthermore, you will notice a large difference between the minimum and maximum penalties for both misdemeanor and felony drunk driving charges in Utah.

At Larsen, Larsen, Nash & Larsen, our DUI  attorneys work hard to represent your interests, prove your innocence, and minimize the consequences if you do face a conviction. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the right law firm can mount a strong defense to protect you.

Felony DUI charges in Utah

Utah criminal law statutes divide crimes into felonies and misdemeanors. Felony convictions carry heavier sentences and more long-term consequences than misdemeanors. In general, prior convictions and the severity of injuries determine the difference between a felony and misdemeanor DUI charge in this state.

The following circumstances could upgrade charges to a felony:

  • A third offense within 10 years
  • DUI resulted in a serious injury or death
  • Any prior vehicular homicide conviction

Felony conviction penalties include:

  • Jail ― From 62.5 days in jail to five years in prison
  • Fines ― From $2,775 to an additional $9,250 in fines
  • Substance abuse treatment ― From up to 240 days of substance abuse treatment to up to five years of treatment
  • Supervised probation
  • License suspension

What is a misdemeanor DUI charge in Utah?

Misdemeanor charges carry less severe drunken driving penalties than felonies, but can still have serious consequences. Also, remember that a third conviction is upgraded to a felony, so it is important to avoid any convictions if possible.

Sentences for these lesser criminal offenses also vary if the conviction is for a first or second offense. Sentences always contain some confinement. For the minimum sentence, this could be as little as 48 hours in jail for a first offense or 10 days in jail for a second offense. These minimum penalties could be replaced by equivalent home confinement or community service. Maximum jail sentences for a first or second offense could be up to six months in jail.

All sentences also include fines and license suspensions.  

  • First offense license suspension ― License suspension from 120 days to two years
  • Second offense license suspension ― License suspension up to two years
  • First offense fine ― $1,395 to $1,940 in fines with additional fees
  • Second offense fine ― Fines up to $1,940 
  • Probation ― First-time offenders may receive good behavior probation after completing their confinement. Serious and repeat offenders may be sentenced to supervised probation.

How do Utah DUI penalties reduce recidivism?

In an effort to reduce recidivism, Utah also imposes alcohol and drug screening and alcohol and drug abuse education. For example, the state requires convicted offenders to attend a Prime for Life class. These classes have been tested and proven to reduce the rate of repeat offenders.

Let the Salt Lake City DUI attorneys help you put your DUI charge behind you

The Salt Lake City, Utah attorneys at Larsen, Larsen, Nash, & Larsen can help you improve your situation if you have been charged with DUI. Pick up the phone to call the West Valley City office at 801-758-8728. You can also choose to use our handy online contact form. Our office serves people in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas.