Utah DUI Driver License Suspensions and Ignition Interlock


A lawyer called me the other day about an ignition interlock law that came into effect July 2012. The essential facts concerning the case is that the citizen was arrested for DUI and plead to a reduced charge of Impaired.  He refused a breath test.  The refusal triggered an 18 month suspension/revocation of his license.

 60 DAY LICENSE REDUCTION:  Essentially, the lawyer was surprised that when the citizen pled to an impaired driving, it did not reduce his license suspension to 60 days.  Here is the problem.  A driver is only eligible for a suspension reduction under certain specified circumstances.  First, it must be a first time offense.  (Which it was in this case).  Second, the case cannot involve a refusal administrative suspension; the reduction to 60 days is only allowed for a 120 day suspension.

SUSPENSION FOR NO IGNITION INTERLOCK:  The lawyer was then surprised that there was a letter of suspension concerning the new law that came in effect July 2012.  The law is Utah Code 53-3-1007 which essentially gives the power to the Driver License Division to suspend a driver’s license when the driver becomes eligible to drive if the driver does not have an ignition interlock device (alcohol breath tester) in the car when required.  The ignition interlock device is required for any conviction of DUI and is required for two convictions of any alcohol enhanceable offense; i.e. DUI/Impaired Driving.  It is also required if the person refused to take a breath test and is revoked for that refusal.

Understanding these laws is so important before considering a plea.  In this instance, pleading guilty to a reduced charge of Impaired Driving essentially did nothing for the citizen’s driver license.  There may have been other good reasons to taking the plea deal, but a citizen concerned with the driver license most would not benefit from this circumstance.  That is why it is important to talk with a lawyer who specializes in this complex area of the law.  A DUI is not just a DUI anymore.  The stakes are high and the consequences are severe.  Hiring the family friend lawyer who does not specialize is more times than not regrettable. 

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