Sometimes, just saying “no” can hurt you.
When a police officer pulls a driver over under suspicion of driving under the influence, the officer will check the person for signs of impairment. Afterward, they might ask the driver to submit to a test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC).
And while an officer cannot force someone to take a sobriety test, refusing a request to do so could result in hefty penalties under Utah’s implied consent laws.
What is Implied Consent
Implied consent laws state that by driving a motor vehicle, you have automatically consented to take a chemical test to determine your BAC when asked by a police officer.
This law allows law enforcement to test a driver’s breath, blood draw, urine, or oral fluids (saliva) to find evidence of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Under Utah’s implied consent law, law enforcement can conduct a breath test at the time of arrest, whereas a blood test requires a search warrant. The type and the total number of chemical tests you take will be determined by the police. And a refusal to take any of the tests will result in penalties.
You are entitled to know the results of the tests after they have been administered. If you so choose, you can have an additional test done by a physician of your choice.
Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test
You may elect to refuse to submit to chemical testing—but doing so will result in various penalties under Utah’s implied consent laws.
At the time of the arrest, the officer will give you a warning about the penalties of refusal, and then ask if you are willing to submit to a test. As soon as you refuse a chemical test, your license will be revoked, and you will be granted a temporary permit.
While you have this permit, you can request a hearing to challenge your suspension. This should only be an option if you feel confident that you are able to prove that the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence.
A first offense for refusal will result in an 18-month suspension of your driver’s license. Any additional refusals within a 10-year period will each result in a three-year suspension of your license.
If you have a poor driving history, refusing a chemical test could result in a five- or ten-year suspension of your license. It is also possible that you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle after a second offense.
Finding a Utah DUI Attorney
Utah has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. The DUI limit in the state is only 0.05% BAC, compared to other areas of the U.S. where the legal limit is 0.08%.
On average, a man weighing 150 pounds will have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05% after consuming two standard drinks.
And while it may seem like refusing to submit to a chemical test would result in a less severe punishment than a DUI conviction, you can still be found guilty of a DUI.
Don’t let a DUI conviction or chemical test refusal have a long-term negative effect on your life. Seek out legal advice from an experienced Utah DUI attorney to help you fight your DUI case.