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Should You Plead Guilty to DUI Charges?

 Posted on January 11, 2024 in DUI

UT defense lawyerMost people who are convicted of a DUI regret their lack of judgment. A DUI conviction carries severe penalties that will be a permanent part of your criminal record. With Utah implementing a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit than most states (0.05%), it is easier to be arrested for DUI than in other states.

It is crucial not to rush into a guilty plea following DUI charges. Rather, the decision to plead guilty should not be made without the advice of a Salt Lake City DUI defense attorney

What to Know Before Pleading Guilty to DUI Charges

The State Must Prove Their Case Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

While the burden of proof in civil cases is by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is “more likely than not” that something is true, the burden is higher in criminal cases. 

In criminal cases, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that based on the facts presented, any rational person would come to the conclusion that the defendant is guilty. 

Beyond a reasonable doubt is a high benchmark, and a DUI defense attorney is often able to find evidence to inhibit the prosecution from meeting this burden.

A DUI Conviction Carries Severe Penalties

In Utah, most first-time DUI convictions are Class B misdemeanors, requiring a minimum of two days in jail, with the possibility of six months in jail and steep fines.

However, there are situations in which you may be charged with a felony DUI. You will be charged with a third-degree felony DUI if you are convicted of a third DUI or subsequent offense in the past ten years. In this case, you could potentially be incarcerated for five years and have to pay a mandatory fine of $1,500. 

Even if it is your first DUI, you can expect your license to be suspended. You will likely be required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) on your vehicle. A BAIID checks your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). You will need to breathe into the device to start your vehicle.

A Diversion Program May Be Available

Before a defendant is convicted, under the Utah Code of Criminal Procedure §77-2-5, you may be eligible to partake in a non-criminal diversion program. This will be a written agreement made between your attorney and the prosecutor. This may be a good option for first-time offenders, allowing them to avoid jail time. 

Even if your best option is pleading guilty, having a Davis County DUI defense attorney on your side is a necessity. Our DUI defense attorneys can help negotiate the terms of a plea bargain, allowing you to avoid the anxiety and uncertainty of trial.

Charged with a DUI? You Need a Salt Lake City, UT, DUI Defense Attorney

A DUI conviction can affect your entire future, inhibiting you from finding employment, preventing you from securing housing, and even restricting child custody rights. Before you enter a plea, you need to consult with a Davis County, UT, DUI defense attorney. Contact Collins Rupp, P.C. today online or by calling 385-777-2753 to schedule your free consultation. 

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