Utah Criminal Defense Questions and Answers

"I have fought over 5,000 DUI charges in every city in Utah." - Branson K. West

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Leaving the scene of an accident
Case Dismissed!

Client was accused of leaving the scene of an accident in Riverton, case dismissed.

Client's 2nd offense. Argued suppression motion, case dismissed.
Davis County Assault

Client charged with assault in Davis County. Cased was dismissed.
West Jordan Burglary
Burglary Case Dismissed

Client accused of breaking into vehicle, stealing items, then fleeing the scene.
Draper DUI

Client charged with DUI. Case Dismissed.
Draper DUI

DUI charge dropped to reckless
Provo DUI
DUI Dismissed

Client was stopped at DUI check point, failed FSTs, blew below the legal limit, but had other substances in his system.
Draper DUI
DUI Dismissed

Client found in car, passed out, alleged drugs in system.
Domestic Violence, Midvale
Case Dismissed

Domestic Violence case in Midvale, case DISMISSED.
Domestic Violence and Burglary, Salt Lake 3rd District
Case Dismissed

DV and Burglary case dismissed in Salt Lake 3rd District
DUI - South Jordan

Accused of DUI with prescription drugs with an accident in South Jordan, case dismissed.
Dog Attack, Salt Lake County
Case Dismissed

Dog attack case in Salt Lake County
Domestic Violence, Sandy
Case Dismissed

DV in Sandy, client accused of fighting with girlfriend, case dismissed.
Domestic Violence, Salt Lake County
Case Dismissed

DV in Salt Lake County, client accused of attacking her daughters boyfriend, case dismissed.
DUI, West Jordan
THC DUI Dismissed

Kira Eoff, West Jordan, THC DUI dismissed
DUI - West Jordan

DUI in West Jordan, pulled over for swerving, dismissed.
DUI - Provo

DUI dismissed in Provo, bad driving pattern, thought it was drugs, failed FSTs, and DRE exam.
DUI - Holladay
Jury Verdict of Not Guilty

DUI charge, client had actual physical control with a high BAC, verdict not guilty.
Theft - Layton, UT
Case Dismissed

Target employee charged with theft in Layton, case dismissed.
Murray, UT - DUI.
Case Dismissed!

Stopped for speeding, failed FSTs.
West Jordan, Ignition Interlock Violation
Case Dismissed!

Client accused of driving with an ignition interlock device.
Herriman, DUI
Case Dismissed!

Client accused of DUI, had a blood draw result of .08, got a second opinion that showed .075.
West Valley City, Domestic Violence Assault
Case Dismissed!

Client was accused of assaulting her husband.
Murray, UT - Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Case Dismissed!

Cops found items in the car, claimed there was a drug deal.
Lehi, Child Abuse
Case Dismissed

Client was accused of hitting son.
West Jordan, Seven 2nd Degree Felony Counts of Check Fraud
Case Dismissed!

Client was accused of fraudulently writing checks on accounts that were closed.
Provo, UT - DUI
Case Dismissed!

Client drinks at party, comes back and falls asleep in car, fails FSTs, arrested for DUI.
Murray, UT - Retail Theft
Case Dismissed

Client was in Costco, put item in purse, security claimed she was stealing property.
SLC, UT - Domestic Violence Assualt
Case Dismissed

Client was in a fight with boyfriend, charged with Domestic Violence (DV).
Holladay, UT - DUI
Case Dismissed!

Ran from a DUI checkpoint. Failed FSTs.
Salt Lake City - Felony Child Non-Support
Case Dismissed

Client owed over $55,000 in child support arrears.
Theft - Provo Justice Court
Case Dismissed

Client was buying bikes off KSL and ended up with stolen bikes.
Theft - Taylorsville Justice Court
Case Dismissed

Client was accused of stealing supplies from a salon.
Aggravated Assault Charge - Salt Lake 3rd District Court
Case Dismissed

Client was accused of pulling a gun on his girlfriend and threatening to kill her.
Provo, UT - Theft
Case Dismissed!

Client was buying bikes off KSL and ended up with stolen bikes.
American Fork, UT - DUI
Case Dismissed

Client was stopped for a registration issue, failed the field sobriety tests and blew in the intoxilyzer twice.
Alcohol Restricted Driver and Driving on a Suspended License - Sandy Justice Court
Case Dismissed

Client was accused of driving on a restricted and suspended license.
DUI - Salt Lake County
Jury Verdict of NOT GUILTY

Client failed field sobriety tests, had a poor driving pattern, & refused breath test.
DUI - Clearfield, UT

Client was driving a big rig, and we were able to save his job.
Possession of Drugs - Utah County

Client was stopped and improperly searched.
Assaulting an officer, resisting arrest - Salt Lake City, UT
Jury verdict of NOT GUILTY!

Client was investigating friend being restrained by cops and cops attacked him.
DUI, Lehi
DUI dismissed

Client was charged wrongfully. Restored his license, got the charges dismissed!
DUI, Midvale
Jury verdict of NOT GUILTY!

Client blew a .80.
DUI, Midvale
Jury verdict of NOT GUILTY!

Client claimed he was not the driver, even though cops thought he was.
DUI, Draper
Jury verdict of NOT GUILTY!

Client was driving the wrong way on a one-way road, failed FSTs.
DUI, St. George
Jury verdict of NOT GUILTY!

Client was asleep in his car, with stereo on. Cops came and called it
Aggravated assault, Salt Lake 3rd District.
Jury verdict of NOT GUILTY!

Client was accused of pulling a knife on a man in a Wal-mart parking lot.
Retail Theft, Orem
Plea in Abeyance

Client had stolen items from a local retailer, had admitted everything to police and was able to keep her record clean.
Under age consumption, Davis 2nd District
Plea in Abeyance.

Clients were at a party when all were caught drinking. Were able to keep records clean.
DUI, Vernal

Client was stopped for license plate light being out and for having it improperly displayed. Had a BAC of .17.
Possession of Drugs, Salt Lake City

Client was at a pizza place, eating in the parking lot when cops arrived, suspicious of their activity.
Domestic Violence, Taylorsville
Plea in Abeyance

Client called the police when upset, didn't mean to get cops involved, but we were able to save his record.
Domestic Violence, Lehi
Plea in Abeyance to disorderly conduct as an infraction

Client was going through a divorce, his spouse would not allow him to see their child or leave. Cops blamed him.
Stalking, Park City
Plea in Abeyance

Charges reduced, and offered in abeyance, so client's record would stay clean. She was accused of stalking a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, was a teacher, and was able to keep her record clean.
Aggravated Assault, Davis 2nd District
Charges reduced to disorderly conduct as an infraction, no jail time, minimal fine

Client was seen entering Wal-mart with a gun after making apparently threatening phone calls to his former manager.
Retail theft, Salt Lake
Plea in Abeyance.

Client was a college student, accidentally walked out of the store without paying for a cup of soup, but had paid for everything else. Was able to keep her record clean.
DUI, West Valley
Jury Verdict of NOT GUILTY!

Client was a former ski patroller and hopeful to get on with an ambulance crew. He was accused of driving off the road with prescription medication in his system. He suffered from strokes.
Traffic violation, Spanish Fork
Verdict of NOT GUILTY!

Client was a truck driver and had been in an accident. The judge found him not guilty as charged.
Theft of services, Salt Lake 3rd

Client was accused of stealing services from a shop. Were able to prove that her signature had been forged.
DUI, South Salt Lake
Jury verdict of NOT GUILTY!

Client was accused of driving with alcohol in her system on a second offense, then subsequently refusing the breath test.
DUI, Salt Lake Airport

Client was accused of driving through the airport while DUI, was arrested prior to field sobriety tests being administered.

The following questions and answers are designed to address your basic concerns about charges that may be pending, the general criminal process in Utah, and the legal options available to defend against criminal charges in Utah and South Jordan.

DUI Attorney Utah

Unless you are legally required to inform your employer upon any infraction of the law, you are not required to report it. Remember, a DUI charge is not a conviction. With the help of an aggressive and experienced Utah DUI attorney, you may avoid conviction or better yet, beat the DUI charge completely. Ultimately, it may be better to wait for the outcome of your DUI case to avoid putting strain on your employee/employer relationship. Contact Branson K. West, Utah's top DUI attorney, to schedule your first hearing for free and to discuss your case with no obligation.

When people get pulled over for a DUI in Utah, one of their main concerns is whether they will have to serve additional jail time beyond the time served after a DUI arrest in Utah. The answer depends on the circumstances, prior offenses, plus more. The most important thing to remember is DO NOT PLEAD GUILTY TO YOUR UTAH DUI CHARGE! It is crucial that you fight your Utah DUI aggressively with a DUI attorney in Utah who has the knowledge, experience, and compassion for your Utah DUI charge and situation. Call 801-285-5550 immediately for a free Utah DUI case review and protect your rights and freedom.

Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and number of offenses, you may be ordered to attend a driver's educational series program and/or undergo alcohol treatment which can run anywhere from 4 to 50 hours. An experienced DUI attorney can help you negotiate the best possible outcome for your DUI case in Utah. Contact Branson West Law Firm to learn more about Utah DUI penalties or to schedule a free DUI case review.

If you are convicted of a Utah DUI, you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. The amount of time you are required to keep the ignition interlock device varies depending on your age, number of DUI offense and any violations related to the device.

The Miranda rights for each citizen and non citizen are guaranteed by the United States Constitution. They are not required to be issued by police at the time of arrest. If this happens, your attorney may ask that any statements made to the police not be used against you in a Utah Court.

These rights include:

  1. the right to remain silent
  2. the right to a lawyer present while you are questioned
  3. the right to an appointed lawyer if you cannot afford one.

An arrest can be frightening and stressful. Don't hesitate to call 801-285-5550 for a free and confidential consultation or to get all your questions about your rights answered.

Typically, your license is confiscated when there is a DUI arrest. A temporary license is provided that will expire within 30 days. Your license will automatically be suspended if you do not request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your charge. Utah does not offer restricted licenses that allows you to drive between home and work. The best way to protect your license is to hire an experienced defense lawyer who specializes in Utah DUI defense. Contact my DUI defense firm for a free case evaluation and to get your DMV hearing scheduled for free, with no obligations.

Just because they said you did something, doesn't make it true! In some cases, cops make honest mistakes and in other cases, they let their emotions get the best of them. Either way, this is a great reason for a DUI defense trial in Utah. Contrary to popular belief, the jury often disagrees with police officers. In addition, DUI cases do not rest on hard science. If you are arrested for a DUI, do not plead guilty. Assert your rights and fight for the truth at your trial. Call 801-285-5550 for a free case evaluation. I will also schedule your DMV administrative hearing for free, with no obligation.

If you are facing a Utah DUI charge, it is understandable you are wondering what to do next. Hiring a good DUI lawyer IMMEDIATELY is the key to winning a DUI, reducing your charges, and keeping your license. The best way to understand your rights, and to protect them, is to consult with an experienced lawyer that specializes in drunk driving defense law. As an experienced Utah DUI Lawyer, I understand that a DUI conviction can have life-altering consequences. I have tried thousands of cases all over SLC, the Wasatch Front and Southern Utah. I know Utah's judges and prosecutors, and as a result, there is no better ally for you when you are facing DUI charges. Call 801-285-5550 now for a free DUI defense consultation and to learn more about what to do when you are facing Utah DUI charges.

Even if your significant other does not testify, there can still be a case against you. If they refuse to testify, they become unavailable witnesses, but their previous statements can still be used against you. If they filled out a report on the date of your arrest, that report can be entered against you, and may be worse than if they testified at your criminal trial.

Unfortunately, the victim does not represent the government or Utah Courts. Although they are required to consider the victim's circumstances and wishes, the prosecutors ultimately represent the people of Utah and the respective cities--not the victim. They are not paid by, nor do they represent the victim, or the police, for that matter. Even if the victim, or any other involved individual wanted the prosecutor to drop a case, the decision to do so still belongs to the prosecutors.

Unfortunately, providing character witnesses won't convince a prosecutor to drop your criminal or DUI charges. Most people can find someone to vouch for them if it comes down to it. Whether or not you are a good person is not the question. You may be a valuable contributor to society, but that ultimately will not matter to the prosecutor. Their job is to evaluate the evidence and get a conviction where possible. Save your breath and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney!

This is something I hear all too often. Sometimes well-meaning cops make mistakes and sometimes they let their emotions get the best of them. Either way, this is a great reason for a criminal defense trial in Utah. Just because they said you did something, doesn't make it true! Assert your rights and fight for the truth at your trial! You would be surprised how often a jury won't believe a policeman. Do they face consequences for lying? Not unless you fight them. Make them come to court and defend their lies. You have a right to testify, if you choose, and your word is just as valuable as theirs!

Unfortunately, many people arrested feel they have been arrested unjustly. That's the reason a trial in Court is required. Under the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution, that right is guaranteed to you. However, under the 8th Amendment, the government can hold you pending the outcome of a trial unless you post a "reasonable bail". Once bail is set, and you are able to post bail, you can be released.

Under Utah law a person can be held 72 hours without charges being filed. However, when the 72 hours begin and end is dependent on the booking time, when they were actually entered into the system, etc. Your 72 hours could be a bit more than 72 hours, or, if you're lucky, they could be less.

I would ALWAYS recommend a jury trial for your criminal defense in Utah. Our legal system revolves around the genius of the jury system. These are your peers. People from every walk of life, who are asked to come in and make the best evaluation possible. Often their fresh perspectives will give you your best chance to win. Additionally, I always trust the collective mind of many over the subjective mind of a single individual, no matter how smart or well-trained. Lastly, a prosecutor argues to the same judge day-in and day-out and will know what a judge needs to hear to convict you. If the prosecutor has to argue to a jury, their job will be significantly more difficult and fair, since they won't already know the people on the jury.

A jury trial is only guaranteed when jail is an option. Under Utah State law, this would only be the case if you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime. If you were charged with an infraction, that is not an offense that is punishable with jail time. As long as you are charged with a qualifying offense, the only other requirement is that you request a jury trial in writing from the court.

A preliminary hearing is right for people who have been charged with class A misdemeanors, or any degree of felony in Utah. A preliminary hearing is like a mini trial. Witnesses are called and asked to testify and evidence is presented. At the end of the hearing, a judge is asked to determine if there is "probable cause" that a crime was committed and if it was probably committed by the individual accused.

Going to AA (alcoholics anonymous) will not usually help your criminal DUI defense. Most courts do not view AA meetings as medical treatment. Although you may feel they benefit you, the court will not look at it as altering your position in any way. A better way to improve your situation is to seek a state-licensed substance abuse evaluator and get an evaluation. If they suggest treatment or classes, do those as well whether or not you go to AA. Both a judge and a prosecutor will be more impressed by completion of counseling than attendance at AA meetings.

Not usually on your first DUI offense. Typically, your first DUI offense calls for 48 hours of community service in lieu of jail. A good DUI defense attorney can usually arrange this for you. On a second DUI offense, the law requires 10 days in jail. The Utah courts are split about which DUI offense requires jail time served and which will allow you to serve the 10 days by way of community service or ankle monitor. Contact our Utah DUI Defense office to find out specific court requirements. If it is a third DUI offense, the law requires a minimum of 62.5 days in jail, and they VERY seldom offer ankle monitors in place of jail.

Under Utah law, when you receive a driver's license you "impliedly" give your consent to give a breath, blood, or urine sample if an officer has reasonable grounds to suspect you of violating Utah DUI laws. You can choose not to give a sample, but the consequence is harsh. On a first offense DUI, if you blow into the machine and your license is suspended, it will be taken for 120 days. If you refuse a breath test, however, your license will be revoked for 18 months!

In Utah, under the implied consent law, it is true. The law considers the alcohol breath test administrative in nature and therefore has determined that you do not have a right to have/consult an attorney prior to blowing into a breath test machine.

A clean and well dressed appearance is typically better. However, dressing in a full suit is not necessary, even for your criminal or DUI trial.

Yes. You can typically drive for the first 30 days after you are arrested for DUI or other offenses in Utah. Look at the citation. Near the bottom there will be a box saying "This is VALID as a temporary license or temporary driving privilege card for up to thirty (30) days from the date of this notice." As long as that box is checked, you can still drive if you have the citation with you.

First, you MUST request a driver's license hearing within 10 calendar days or you will lose your license. I provide that service for free. Just call my office at 801-285-5550. If you get that hearing requested on time, you will have a driver's license hearing within the next 30 days. You will receive a letter in the mail, notifying you of your hearing date. Second, you must contact the court regarding your Utah DUI case within 5-14 days. If you fail to do so, a warrant for your arrest will be issued.

Next, you'll have an arraignment in court where you will enter your plea. You should always say "not guilty". After arraignment, you will have a pre-trial conference. This is a hearing where the attorneys get together and discuss the case. Offers are made and the attorneys will try to resolve your case. Then, you may have an evidentiary or motion hearing. This is a hearing where evidence or arguments are presented to a judge to determine what is admissible in your case. Finally, a trial will be scheduled where you present your case to a jury for a guilty or non-guilty verdict. In most cases, DUI cases can take 6-12 months to go to trail. Although a DUI case process can be lengthy and frustrating, being patient usually produces better case results.

Pleading "not guilty' at arraignment does not mean you didn't do it. It does not make you dishonest. It does not mean you are not accepting responsibility. It simply means that at this point in time you are still considering your options. The legal process continues until you say guilty or are found guilty or not guilty by a jury. Don't throw away your rights by pleading guilty at your arraignment! There may be defenses available. Also, you may be entitled to lesser punishment. But, you'll never know if you just plead guilty.

Yes! I have seen many instances where similarly situated individuals got very different offers or very different sentences from judges. What makes the difference? Having a good Utah criminal defense attorney.

Not necessarily. The Intoxilyzer 8000 is only tested to within +/- .005 g/210L of air. This means that it would be within its acceptable margin of error for you to be at a .077 and still register a .082. That's the difference between innocence and guilt, and juries understand it! This is a DUI case that you should fight!

Yes! A cop is required to follow what is known as the Baker rule in Utah. This means that for at least 15 minutes before you blow into the alcohol breath test machine, the cop must ensure that your mouth is free and clear, that nothing goes in or out of it, and that you remain in their presence the entire time. If those rules are not followed, your test might not be valid and it could be excluded in your Utah DUI case.

Take your case to trial! Many of Utah's officers now have dash cameras in their cars. If we act quickly, we can often use this footage to prove that your version of the facts is true. This may result in an outright dismissal of your Utah criminal case or extremely reduced charges!

Maybe. It depends on what other evidence the cop may have. When a cop pulls you over, they have to have "reasonable suspicion" that a crime has been committed. When a cop arrests you, the level of evidence must be higher. The standard is called "probable cause." If you passed the field sobriety tests, a cop would be required to look at the totality of the evidence and determine whether or not there was probable cause that you committed a DUI. For example, if you were in an accident, smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot, glassy eyes, slurred speech, but somehow passed the field sobriety tests, you may still have been legally arrested. However, if you were pulled over for speeding (not necessarily indicative of DUI), your speech was fine, you had no balance issues, and then passed the field sobriety tests, your rights were likely violated. Your case should be dismissed!

No. Under Utah law, a prosecutor can prove DUI in one of three ways: (1) by showing a breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 grams/100 mL at the time of operation of the vehicle, OR (2) by showing a BAC of .08 grams/100 mL at a subsequent test, OR (3) by showing that you were under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or some combination of the two, to a degree that rendered you incapable of safely operating the vehicle. If the prosecutor doesn't have a BAC, they will likely try to prove that you were incapable of safely operating the vehicle by showing that you had a poor driving pattern, bad field sobriety tests, or other physical characteristics indicative of alcohol impairment. However, this, to me, is still a GREAT case! Anytime there is no breath or blood test, a jury will have a hard time finding you guilty.

No. Miranda rights are typically read on TV. Not always in real life though. Miranda rights are important if, when you are arrested, a cop intends to interrogate you. In most DUI cases, no such interrogation happens. Even if one did, and no Miranda rights were read to you, the remedy for such an error would be throwing out any statements you may have made to the cop. This does not mean your entire case would be thrown out.

No. If the cop does not have a valid reason for pulling you over, your case should be dismissed! This is what the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution is all about. It guarantees you the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that if a cop does not have "reasonable suspicion" that you have committed a crime, you CANNOT be pulled over!

There are various penalties associated with a domestic violence charge. The worst consequences of a criminal charge like domestic violence, unfortunately, are long-lasting and personal. A domestic violence charge on your criminal record can make it nearly impossible to find a well-paying job. Many countries consider domestic violence a felony, so international travel will be difficult if not impossible. Additionally, a domestic violence charge can change the way your family and friends view you and may lead to isolation or other social problems.
A protective order may be issued in cases of domestic violence and keeps the two parties separated to prevent any possibility of violence. Protective orders can affect custody and carry serious consequences if violated.
If a protective order has been issued in response to the domestic violence charge, you will not be able to return to the home where the incidence took place as you are prohibited from being near the victim. There are a variety of ways you can retrieve personal belongings, such as with a police escort or retrieval by a third party. A domestic violence lawyer can talk you through the options and help you decide which is the best course of action for your particular case.
Once a case is made, it is not possible to withdraw it. A victim's request to drop charges can improve the outcome of your case, however. It takes a talented domestic violence lawyer to be able to turn a case like this in favor of the accused as judges may be skeptical of a victim's change of heart. Branson West has handled many cases where the victim no longer wishes to pursue criminal charges and has turned the case around favorably for his client.
Spousal privilege protects married couples in court proceedings as it states that spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other in a criminal trial. An additional marital privilege defined in Utah law states that all private spousal communications are confidential. These privileges can give leverage to a couple that is fighting unwanted domestic violence charges.
Probation is an alternative to serving jail or prison time, given to individuals convicted of less serious offenses or first-time offenders. Parole, on the other hand, is conditional release from prison before completing the full sentence and is granted based on good behavior during incarceration.

The Cost of DUI in Utah
with Branson K. West

KUTV 2 News Interview with top Utah DUI and Criminal Defense attorney Branson K. West.

"I learned a lot by talking to this attorney."

Brian Mullahy of KUTV

We've helped people all over Utah reduce, drop and clear charges. Look what our customers have to say about us.

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Branson is very good at what he does. He is extremely professional and has a well-received presence in the courtroom. His communication with me was always immediate and efficient. One of the things I was most impressed with was his ability to separate facts from opinion. Branson played out the possible scenarios of what I was to expect He asked me what MY goals were and what MY best case scenario was. I felt like I was a part of my own case and defense. He got the state to waive jail time. I am happy with the result Branson achieved for me and thankful I chose him as my lawyer.
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Articulate, friendly and well versed in criminal law. I’m a very anxious person which makes my speech terribly convoluted and even then he understood me perfectly. I’m very thankful for his patience and expertise, and I’m also very satisfied with the outcome.
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