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In Utah, impaired driving is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail[1] and a fine of up to $1000.00.[2] For many reasons that we will discuss below, impaired driving pleas are offered as a lesser, reduced charge (compared to a DUI.)  If you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Utah, you may be allowed to enter a plea to a reduced charge of impaired driving[3], but only under certain circumstances.

There are two ways that you may be allowed to enter a plea to impaired driving.

The first way requires that the prosecutor agree to an impaired driving plea,[4] and that you complete all the requirements of court ordered probation.[5] The second way that you can plead to impaired driving, requires that the prosecutor agree to it,[6] and that the court find that the impaired driving plea is in the interest of justice.[7]

What this means is that there are two types of impaired driving pleas.  The first type of impaired driving plea is conditioned on the successful completion of probation.[8] This means that you can plea to impaired driving, but if you fail to successfully complete the terms and conditions of probation, the court will change the reduced impaired driving plea to a full DUI conviction.[9]

The second type of impaired driving plea is not conditioned on successful completion of probation; it is entered immediately as impaired driving and can never be changed to a DUI.[10]

Situations where a prosecutor may agree to an impaired driving plea

Because an impaired driving plea depends on the prosecutor’s approval, (and each prosecutor is different), it is impossible to say for certain when a person will be offered a plea to impaired driving.  However, in Utah, prosecutors will usually agree to an impaired driving plea on all first offenses with a breath or blood alcohol reading (BAC) below .14.

Advantages of an impaired driving plea

There are several advantages to an impaired driving plea.

If your license has not already been suspended by Utah’s Driver License Division, it will not get suspended.

If your license has been suspended, the Driver License Division will reinstate your driver license before the 120 day suspension[11] is over, but no sooner than 90 days after the date of arrest.[12] And, unlike a DUI, there is no mandatory jail or fine with an impaired driving plea.

If you’re facing DUI charges in Utah, contact us for a Free Case Review to see if one of our attorneys can negotiate an impaired driving plea for you.

[1] Utah Code Ann. §76-3-204(2)
[2] Utah Code Ann. §76-3-301(1)(d)
[3] Utah Code Ann. 41-6a-502.5 and §41-6a-502.5(4)
[4] Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-502.5(1)
[5] Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-502.5(1)(a)
[6] Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-502.5(1)(b)(i)
[7] Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-502.5(1)(b)(ii)
[8] Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-502.5(3)(a)(i)
[9] Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-502.5(3)(a)(ii)
[10] Utah Code Ann. §41-6a-502.5(3)(b)
[11] Utah Code Ann. §53-3-223(7)(c)(i)
[12] Utah Code Ann. §53-3-223(7)(c)(i)(B)