Utah Criminal Defense

DUI Glossary

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Actual Physical Control.   Is determined by a consideration of the totality of the circumstances, but does not include a circumstance in which:  (i). the person is asleep inside the vehicle; (ii). the person is not in the driver’s seat of the vehicle; (iii). the engine of the vehicle is not running;  (iv). the vehicle is lawfully parked; and (v). under the facts presented, it is evident that the person did not drive the vehicle to the location while under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug.  APC is defined by statute at 41-6a-501(1)(a).

Addiction. A real problem. See the DSM V for alcohol use disorder definitions.


Alcohol Restricted Driver. Called a “Not a Drop Driver” in Utah. It means that you can’t drive with any alcohol in your system. The normal .05BAC per se limit doesn’t apply to you and even .001BAC will get you charged.

Assessment.  Means an in-depth clinical interview with a licensed mental health therapist: (i).  used to determine if a person is in need of substance abuse treatment.  Assessments are often called susbstance abuse evaluations.  It is defined at Utah Code 41-6a-501(1)(b).

Blood Alcohol Level “BAC.” The percentage of alcohol in one’s blood. .05 BAC is the Utah lowest Per Se limit. Per Se means that the law presumes that you are legally intoxicated and can’t drive safely. .08 was Utah’s old DUI law. .16 is where supervised probation is required in DUI type convictions. .16 BAC is also where “Extreme DUIs” start with pure alcohol only charges.

Blood Draw. You can consent to a blood draw, or the judge can order a blood draw. If the judge orders a blood draw based on probable cause, this means your likely refused the breathalyzer.

Breathalyzer Machine. This is the official machine back at the station where your BAC is measured.

Chemical Test. A chemical test is either a blood draw or breath test.

Clue. Each field sobriety test has assigned clues. When the officer is administering the FSTs they score your mistakes as clues which forms the basis for a probable cause arrest.

Commercial Driver’s License. “CDL.” Many special rules apply to people who hold commercial driver’s licenses that are more strict than regular drivers license holders. Driving commercial vehicles also have special rules for DUIs in Utah.

Driver’s License Division. The Utah Driver License Division is a subpart of the Department of Public Safety and administers driving privileges in Utah.

DRE. Drug Recognition Expert. A specially trained police officer in recognizing drug impairment as compared to alcohol impairment. Not every police office is a DRE. The testing for DRE on subjects is much more intensive than FSTs.

DUI. 41-6a-502 DUI. Section 502 of the DUI code in Utah is where the basic DUI provision is located. 502 DUIs can be where you are impaired on alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof. Further there is a Per Se .05 BAC, but you can also be convicted of a DUI under a .05BAC or on legal prescribed drugs if you are deemed impaired.

Early DUI License Reinstatement Get your license back early sometimes on DUI breath refusals.  See this article.

Extreme DUI. A DUI where your alcohol content is .16 or above, or you have two different illegal or legal drugs in your system, or you have drugs and alcohol in your system. Simple marijuana without any other substance is excluded.

Regular DUI. Either Per Se .05BAC or drug and alcohol in your system DUIs. Regular DUIs can be legal or illegal drugs impairing your ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Per Se DUI. Per Se means you are presumed to be drunk driving if you have a .05 BAC or above.

1st DUI. First DUI within 10 years. There is a 10 year look back window. You can have 11 DUIs prior convictions, but they just can’t be in the 10-year look back window.

2nd DUI. A second DUI charge within the 10-year lookback window of your first DUI.

Felony DUI. Felony DUIs are three DUIs within a 10 year look back window.

DUI Causing Injury. Any DUI where you hurt someone.

DUI with Minor Passengers. Any DUI where you have minor passengers under 16 years old. Each passenger under 16 can be a separate DUI charge.

Under 21 DUI. A DUI where the driver was under 21 years old. Under 21 DUIs always have more severe driving license sanctions compared to adults.

Refusing a Chemical Test. Relatively new law that makes it a crime to refuse a chemical test, either a blood draw of breathalyzer machine.

Drunk Driving Detection Process. The entire process of a police officer attempting to detect people driving drunk or impaired on alcohol or drugs. It is the process where a police officer form probable cause to arrest or not arrest for drunk driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration training manual separates the DUI detection process into three phases:

Phase One – Vehicle in Motion.
Phase Two – Personal Contact.
Phase Three – Pre-Arrest Screening and FSTs.

Interlock Restricted Driver. “IRD” You can’t drive a motor vehicle without an interlock device installed. There are some exceptions for work vehicles, but those must be pre-approved. Most DUIs require 18 months of interlock restrictions. Metabolite convictions and DUIs not involving alcohol do not require an interlock. Second offense DUIs require 36 months interlock restrictions.

Implied Consent. Implied consent laws in Utah are where you agree to submit to a chemical test upon request of a law enforcement officer when that officer has probable cause to believe you are drinking and driving. When you sign up for a driver’s license you implied agreed to chemical testing.

Impaired Driving. The little sister of a Section 502 DUI. Impaired Driving doesn’t suspend your license unless you are a commercial driver. Impaired Driving cannot be offered if you have a prior DUI like conviction, the BAC was over .16, you are a CLD driver, where driving a commercial vehicle, or you had alcohol and a controlled substances in your system, excluding legally prescribed marijuana.

Field Sobriety Testing. FSTs are one tool law enforcement use to determine if you are under the influence. FSTs are not mandatory and you can refuse to take them. FSTs form one basis for a probable cause arrest for DUI.

One Leg Stand. A standard FST in Utah where you stand on one leg for 30 or so seconds. The OLS has 4 clues. 1. Sways while balancing 2. Uses arm(s) to balance 3. Hopping 4. Puts foot down

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. Has a max of 6 clues for impairment. The HGN measures involuntary jerking of the eye from alcohol impairment. It is one of the more reliable FSTs in determining alcohol impairment. The maximum number of clues that may appear in one eye is three.

Walk and Turn. The WAT has 8 clues. 1. Cannot keep balance while listening to the instructions 2. Starts too soon 3. Stops while walking 4. Does not touch heel-to-toe 5. Steps off the line 6. Uses arm(s) to balance 7. Improper turn 8. Incorrect number of steps

Prior Conviction.  A prior conviction for DUI enhancement purposes is defined at Utah Code 41-6a-501(2).   Prior conviction encompass DUIs, Section 502, Impaired Driving, Metabolite drugged driving, out-of-state substantially similar DUI prior convictions, juvenile DUIs, expunged or reduced DUIs and refusal to take a chemical test.

PBT. Portable/Preliminary Breath Test. PBTs are those little whistle looking things that you blow into. PBTs are the breathalyzer machine back at the station. PBTs can be refused, whereas if you refuse a breathalyzer, it is a separate crime.

Phlebotomist. Generally, a licensed phlebotomist is required to draw blood during a DUI blood draw.

Probable Cause. Probable cause is a cluster of objective and subjective factors that form the basis for a DUI arrest. The only lower standard of proof is

Reasonable Suspicion. The most common standards of proof in criminal cases from highest to lowest are: Beyond a Reasonable Suspicion, Clear and Convincing Evidence, Preponderance of the Evidence, Substantial Evidence, Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion.

Refusal to Take a Chemical Test.   If you refuse the breathylzer it is a separate crime from the DUI charge and carries similiar penalties as DUIs do.  See Utah Code 41-6a-520.1

Serious bodily injury.   Means bodily injury that creates or causes: (i).  serious permanent disfigurement; (ii).  protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ; or (iii).      a substantial risk of death.  Defined at Utah Code 41-6a-501(1)(i).

Substance abuse treatment.   Treatment obtained at a substance abuse program that is approved by the sentencing court.

Supervised DUI Probation.   Whenever you are convicted of an extreme DUI, or a DUI with a .16 BAC or above you are ordered to be on supervised probation.  The court can order you to be on supervised probation at any time.  The three levels and types of probation are seen HERE.   See Utah Code 41-6a-507.

License Suspension. There are many different suspension periods for DUI and it depends on the charge and your age.

First Offense. Driver 21 or older.
Per-Se Arrest – 120 days
Refuse to submit to a chemical test resulting in an administrative revocation – 18 months
A conviction for a refusal to submit to a chemical test – 18 months
Impaired Driving convictions do not suspend the license, unless you are a CDL driver. Commercial Driver’s License.

Second Offense. Driver 21 or older.
Per-Se Arrest – 2 years
Refuse to submit to a chemical test resulting in an administrative revocation – 36 months
A conviction for a refusal to submit to a chemical test – 36 months

First Offense. Driver under the age of 21.
Not-a-Drop arrest – six (6) month suspension effective 45 days from the arrest date
Per-Se arrest – six (6) month suspension effective 45 days from the arrest date
Driver under the age of 21, the suspension periods are based on actions for a Per-Se arrest under UCA 53-3-223 or a Not-a-Drop arrest under UCA 53-3-231.

Metabolite DUI. Commonly called Metabolite DUI, but it is really drugged driving. You can be on legally prescribed drugs, illegal drugs or a combination thereof and still get a Metabolite DUI.  See 41-6a-517.

Motor Vehicle.   “Vehicle” or “motor vehicle” means a vehicle or motor vehicle as defined in Section 41-6a-102; and (ii).  “Vehicle” or “motor vehicle” includes:  ATVs, and off-highway vehicle as defined under Section 41-22-2; and (B).  boats or motorboat as defined in Section 73-18-2.


License Suspension. 120 days for first offense, 2 years for second offense.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “NHTSA.” This federally created organization develops and trains the field sobriety testing administered by police nationwide.

They produce the SFST DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing PARTICIPANT MANUAL which outlines Utah’s standardized field sobriety testing. The One Legged Stand, HGN and Walk and Turn.

Wet Reckless Driving. Not often, but sometimes your DUI can be pled down to a wet reckless. The word “wet reckless driving” is no-where found in the Utah Code. It just implies a DUI case originally charged as a DUI, but pled down to a reckless driving due to evidence issues.


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