DUI in Utah: Is it a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
States have different ways to punish an individual involved in DUI (driving under the influence or drunk driving). For example, in Utah, it can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on many factors.
Before you know about the actual punishments and other information, many criminal defense attorneys in Utah County says that it’s best to be aware of the differences between these two:
Misdemeanor vs. Felony
Many Americans still get confused between misdemeanor and felony. There are actually three general classifications of crimes, including petty. The first two, however, are some of the most popular.
The main difference between them is the length of the maximum punishment. A misdemeanor carries only up to a year of jail time, while felonies — being the classification assigned to more serious crimes — can be about five years or more. Take note that the actual duration of the punishment varies according to the crime and the state laws. The premise is that felony penalties are the harshest.
Classification of a DUI
In Utah, you can be charged with a DUI if your alcohol is over the legal limit or you are physically and mentally impaired to even be behind the wheel. In 2017, Utah further lowered the allowable alcohol limit from 0.08% to 0.05%. It’s the lowest so far in the country.
Whether it’s going to be a misdemeanor or a felony, it depends on the severity of your offense.
Normally, the DUI is a misdemeanor if you’re a first-time offender. You may spend between one and two days in jail, in addition to two days of community service. If you’re a repeat offender within the last 10 years or have caused bodily injury or death while under the influence, you are more likely going to be charged with a felony. You may spend five years in prison.
These prison sentences are on top of the penalties and administrative fines. Your license may be suspended or revoked.
If you think you are unfairly charged or you want to increase your chances of getting a more favorable sentence, make sure you go through the process with a criminal defense attorney.