Some 30 people in the U.S. and die every single day as a result of drunk driving accidents. More than 10,000 people die every year and millions more are injured. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is no joke. And it is not cool, either. It is dangerous, irresponsible, and selfish.
A person who doesn’t care enough about others to avoid drunk driving should at least think of him/herself. Utah DUI attorney Anita Dickinson could easily explain why. She has represented countless clients whose lives were ruined by a single DUI conviction.
Do you know what could happen to you if you were ever caught and convicted of DUI? State laws vary, but there isn’t a single state that takes too kindly to drivers who get behind the wheel under the influence. Let us take a look at the laws in Utah for illustrative purposes.
How Utah Defines DUI
DUI used to be known as DWI (driving while intoxicated) back in the days before recreational drugs were a huge problem. In Utah, DUI is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of at least .05% OR while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A police officer in Utah only has to believe that a driver is impaired enough to be unable to drive safely to charge that person with DUI. If a breathalyzer or blood test confirms a high blood alcohol content, the case is pretty much open and shut.
Utah goes one step further by making it illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their systems. They do not even get the benefit of the doubt up to .05% like those over the age of 21.
Utah DUI Penalties
So, how can one DUI ruin your life forever? Let us start with the penalties. In Utah, a first offense can result in up to 180 days in jail. The minimum is two days in jail or 48 hours of community service. A first offense also carries a fine of at least $1,310, results in license suspension for 120 days, and requires a mandatory ignition lock device for defendants whose blood alcohol content was .16% or more.
Penalties for a first offense are pretty harsh. They only get worse from there. A second offense lands more jail time, a higher fine, and a two-year license revocation. A third offense can land you in prison for five years and garner a fine of at least $2,850.
It All Adds up
The legal penalties for DUI are just the start. As Dickinson and any other DUI attorney can tell you, the many consequences of driving under the influence add up to create a nightmare scenario. For example, if you are not allowed to drive, how are you going to get to and from work? Living far enough away from your job could mean you spend a fortune on public transportation.
A DUI conviction will almost certainly result in hefty legal bills that can put you deep in debt. Combined with other financial problems, you could be on track to lose everything you have ever worked for. And because financial difficulties are a leading cause of marital problems, you can wind up in divorce court too.
The worst part is that you will have a criminal record for the rest of your life. All this, and more, simply because you chose to drive while under the influence. What is the lesson? Don’t do it. A single DUI can ruin your life forever.