In Utah, if you've been charged with a DUI, you may seek to have the offense reduced to impaired driving. Technically, impaired driving isn't a crime you can be arrested for. Rather, it's a plea you enter in your case. Thus, looking up Utah Code Ann. 41-6a-502.5, you'll not see any provisions that detail the conduct constitutes impaired driving. However, you will see what is required for your DUI to be reduced.
It's important to note that having your plea accepted does not mean you won't be convicted of a crime. You'll still have a conviction on your record; it just won't be for driving under the influence.
When Might a DUI Be Reduced
Under the impaired driving statute, there are two circumstances in which your DUI may be reduced:
- You complete the terms of court-ordered probation; or
- The prosecutor agrees to the plea of impaired driving, and the court determines such a plea is in the interest of justice
If your DUI is reduced under the first subsection, you must ensure that you successfully complete probation. Failure to do so will result in the court entering a conviction for driving under the influence, instead of the lesser charge of impaired driving, on your record.
However, if your impaired driving plea is accepted under the second subsection, your conviction will be immediate, meaning you won't have to meet any probationary requirements.
With an impaired driving conviction under either subsection, you will still be required to complete a screening, course, or treatment for substance abuse.
Whether or not you will be offered a plea or it will be accepted depends on your circumstances. A prosecutor may agree to such a plea if it's a first offense, and the BAC was low.
If you are a commercial driver's license holder, you would not be able to seek an impaired driving conviction even if you are a first-time offender.
The Benefits of an Impaired Driving Conviction
One of the benefits of having your DUI reduced to impaired driving is that the conviction won't show up as driving under the influence on your record. However, it will still appear as impaired driving.
Another advantage of an impaired driving conviction is that your driver's license may not be as adversely affected as it would have had you been convicted of a DUI. If your driver's license was not initially suspended, it won't be upon an impaired driving conviction.
Get Help Seeking an Impaired Driving Plea
If you're facing a DUI charge and want to know more about the impaired driving law and your legal options, discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer. They can evaluate your circumstances and help determine the most effective course of action.
Remember: the prosecutor must agree to the plea. Therefore, it's beneficial to have an attorney on your side who can present a compelling case on your behalf.
For the legal guidance you need in Salt Lake City, call Lokken & Putnam, P.C. at (801) 829-9783 or submit an online contact form today.