Driving under the influence can result in serious penalties in Utah such as jail time and high fines. Prosecutors use the results of breath and/or blood tests as the main piece of evidence in DUI cases, so it’s important to understand what these tests do.
If you have questions about the legalities of DUI blood tests in Utah or need a skilled defense attorney in your case, contact Branson West Law.
There are two different types of breath tests police officers use in Utah: portable breath tests, or PBTs, and Breathalyzer® or Intoxilyzer machines. PBTs are not 100% accurate and the results are not admissible in court. Breathalyzer® or Intoxilyzer aren’t 100% accurate either, but the results can be used in court.
The Intoxilyzer machines used by Utah police utilize light-based instruments to measure the amount of alcohol vapor in your lungs. Once the measurement for alcohol vapor is taken, the machine produces an estimate for how much alcohol must be in your blood to create the amount of alcohol vapor in your lungs.
Even without these factors in play, Intoxilyzer machines have a +/-.005 margin of error. That margin of error is wide enough to result in a false positive. In addition to the many things that could affect test results, there are certain procedures that must be followed. Before administering an Intoxilyzer test, Utah police officers must check your mouth to make sure it’s free from alcohol and other debris, and then actively watch you for 15 minutes.
If police officers fail to check your mouth, leave your presence, or fail to take into consideration any other factors mentioned above, you may have an issue to help your case.
Blood tests are considered more accurate and reliable by a court. However, blood tests are only administered if someone is unable or unwilling to take a breath test, and there are even more stringent procedures to be followed.
After blood is drawn, it must be sealed into a vial, labeled, and sent to a lab to be tested. Blood tests can take several weeks or even months to be processed.
If police do not follow the correct procedures for drawing blood, marking the blood, transporting and storing the blood, or testing the blood, the results of the test may be inadmissible in court.
Many individuals wonder if they are able to refuse a breath or blood test. According to the Utah code, your license can be immediately suspended upon refusal to take the test. If you refuse a second time, that suspension can increase to three years.
Utah has an “implied consent” law, which essentially states that by choosing to drive a vehicle in Utah, you consent to being tested for alcohol or drugs when asked by a police officer. It is important to note that for your case, police officers must have had cause to pull you over, and they have to inform you of your rights — including the penalty for refusing to submit to a test, should you choose to refuse a chemical test.
Refusing to take a breath or blood test will result in automatic license suspension up to 18 months. If you submit to an Intoxilyzer test and fail, your license would only be suspended for a maximum of four months.
These consequences only pertain to the first offense. Subsequent offenses for DUI would have significantly higher consequences.
In Utah, license suspension is an extra severe consequence. Drivers in many other states who have had their license suspended for drunk driving can obtain a limited or work permit that allows them to drive in certain circumstances. Utah does not allow such permits. If your license is suspended you cannot drive for any reason or you risk facing additional penalties, other than if you elect to an ignition interlock device, as previously stated.
There are many laws related to driving under the influence, and a wide variety of penalties you could potentially face. With over 16 years of experience, Branson West Law has helped people all over Utah have DUI charges reduced, dropped or cleared. If you’re looking for a lawyer to help you understand DUI blood test Utah, and what it means for your case, look no further.
The Utah breath and blood testing process has many pitfalls. Branson West Law is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Utah who can point out how those problems may have lead to an inaccurate or unreliable breath test reading in your case.
Branson West Law knows Utah's judges and the prosecutors who handle DUI cases. Most importantly, he knows how to defend you against DUI charges successfully.
Contact Branson West Law today for a free consultation on your case with Utah’s most experience DUI lawyer.