The Cost of a DUI in the Beehive State
When it comes to Driving Under the Influence (DUI), all cities in the state of Utah follow the same laws including Salt Lake City, St. George, Ogden, Provo and Park City. Those who are pulled over and found to have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher are considered to be driving impaired and in violation of the law. The state of Utah uses a number of different penalties to punish DUI offenders, but the monetary fines and other expenses associated with Utah DUI convictions are the ones that really hurt an individual’s future. Believe it or not, the financial repercussions of DUI can be devastating.
What Penalties Will I Face for DUI in Utah?
As mentioned, the state of Utah uses a number of different penalties when it comes to punishing those found guilty of drinking and driving. While all states use jail time, license suspension, and fines to punish DUI offenders, the severity of these punishments are left up to the discretion of each individual state. First time DUI offenders in Utah are faced with the following penalties:
- Minimum Jail Time of 48 Hours
- Minimum Fine of $700
- License Suspension of 120 Days
Utah is like many other states in the fact that it abides by what is known as a “lookback period.” This period is the amount of time into the past that any previous drinking and driving offenses are considered relevant and are counted against offenders in their current case. Repeat offenders of this crime often face harsher penalties than first time offenders – for example, second time DUI offenders in the state of Utah face the following penalties:
- Minimum Jail Time of 240 Hours
- Minimum Fine of $800
- License Suspension of Two Years
What Financial Repercussions Will I Face Before I Am Convicted?
Many individuals dealing with a drinking and driving charge do not realize that they begin paying for their mistake before they even go to court. When offenders are pulled over and arrested for DUI, their car is most often towed to a local impound lot where it will remain until they can retrieve it. When they are ready to get their car back, they are then responsible for paying the towing fee as well as any fees that are assessed by the impound facility. While this amount varies depending on the towing company and the amount of time the car was in the lot, it can be a good amount of money.
Generally, when individuals are arrested for drinking and driving, they are taken to jail, processed, formally charged, and then released. However, should they have extenuating or aggravated circumstances surrounding the incident, such as being in an accident, causing an injury or death, having a minor in the vehicle, or resisting arrest, it is possible for them to be booked into the jail and have a bail amount set for them. This bail amount varies based on the circumstances, but it could range anywhere up to $50,000. This money needs to be paid in order for individuals to be released, which can be done by the individuals themselves, someone they know, or even with the help of a bail bondsman.
Once individuals have received formal charges, they will want to hire an attorney to help represent them during their trial. Lawyers and law firms all have their own fees that vary from one professional to the next–some lawyers require payment up front while others will accept an hourly rate or wait to be paid until after the trial. Good DUI attorneys can be expensive, but should the charges be dismissed, the cost could be well worth it.
What Financial Repercussions Will I Face After I Am Convicted?
Should offenders be found guilty of DUI, despite the best efforts of their attorney, they then have to face the penalties that the state of Utah has designated for their crime. Like many other states, there are a number of different penalties that Utah uses to punish those guilty of drinking and driving, but the financial penalties are often the ones that offenders find most difficult to deal with.
First time offenders in the state of Utah, as mentioned, need to pay a fine of $700 – second time offenders a fine of $800, and third time offenders a fine of $1,500.
How Will My Car Insurance Rates Be Effected by a DUI Conviction?
Another financial repercussion that DUI offenders may not consider is how a conviction negatively affects their car insurance rates. Since insurance policy holders pay a premium to cover their risk of making a claim to the insurance provider, the higher risk they pose, the higher their premiums will be. Since drinking and driving is a very dangerous behavior, it should not be surprising that DUI offenders’ rates are increased – the only question that remains is how much that increase is.
All insurance companies have their own formula for how much to raise offenders’ rates, but providers in Utah are relatively harsh when it comes to punishing those with drinking and driving convictions. On average, insurance providers in Utah will raise offenders’ rate by almost 110 percent, which adds just over $100 to their monthly premium. As mentioned, each insurance company and insurance policy is unique, so it is possible for the increase to be more or less than this figure.
How Can I Avoid the High Financial Price of DUI?
After all of the expenses and fines are added together, it is possible for someone who is convicted of Driving Under the Influence to pay up to $40,000 out of pocket for this crime. It is important to keep in mind, however, that this does not include any lost wages, costs of using public transportation, and other financial repercussions that are not addressed here. Ultimately, the only way to avoid the high cost of DUI is to not drink and drive – not only can it be expensive, it could also take your life and the lives of others.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.