Driving is an important responsibility. Many of us don't realize that we risk our own lives, as well as those of others, every time we drive. Sure, most of the time things turn out to be fine. However, people increase the chances of danger when they drink and drive. To prevent DUI-related driving, the government created a policy known as implied consent. Learn what implied consent means in the context of drunk driving, and how it affects you.
What the Law Says
Most states have their own version of what implied consent means. In Utah, the applicable section of the law is section 41-6a-520 of the Utah Code. The statute assumes that a driver gives consent to chemical testing for drugs or alcohol. Yet, this law only comes into play when a driver is lawfully arrested for a DUI offense. In order to perform an arrest, an officer needs to have probable cause. This means that there must be a reasonable suspicion that a crime is occurring. If the facts support the officer's arrest, he or she have the authority to demand that you undergo a test.
There isn't one particular type of test. Instead, the law gives a few options for chemical testing. A driver may submit to: a breath test, saliva test, urine test or blood sample. What these tests try to determine is whether the level of blood alcohol exceeds the legal limit. As chance has it, Utah has one of the most strict DUI laws. A driver may be guilty of the offense if his or her blood alcohol exceeds 0.05 percent.
When You Refuse
At this point, you may wonder what happens when you refuse testing. Doing so has very serious consequences on your privilege to drive. The first time that you refuse to take a chemical test, you will be subject to an 18 month license suspension. In fact, it's likely that the officer will confiscate your license on site.
The consequences get worse when you refuse during subsequent arrests. In this case, you could lose your license for three years. This is also the penalty for those who have a DUI conviction in their past. These drivers could have their license suspended for three years on their first refusal.
What Should You Do?
There is some general advice you can follow when arrested on a DUI charge. Generally, refusing to submit to testing does not help your case. Being difficult with police officers can also cause more problems than it's worth. Your best bet is to speak to an experienced lawyer who practices criminal law as soon as possible. An attorney can review the circumstances to advise you on your best course of action.
If you need assistance with a criminal law case in Utah, contact Spencer & Jensen PLLC. Remember, it is important to contact the attorney right after your arrest for a felony or misdemeanor charge.