Utah DUI Laws (All You Should Know)

Utah DUI Laws (All You Should Know)

“I’ve only had two drinks. I’m fine!”

Sadly, these are common last words.

Remember, even the slightest alcohol in your system can affect your driving abilities. 

So NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE — no matter how little you took. 

Even if it doesn’t lead to injuries or death, driving under the influence can land you in hot water in Utah. 

This is because there are strict DUI laws here. 

And even harsher penalties that follow. 

But what are the Utah DUI laws?

What about the penalties?

We’re going to look at everything you need to know about the Utah DUI laws here. 

So buckle up and let’s get to it!

DUI Laws in Utah

There are 3 specific DUI laws in Utah. These are:

  • Illegal BAC levels
  • ‘NOT A DROP’ Act
  • Implied Consent Law

Let’s look at them one by one. 

Illegal BAC Levels

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures how much alcohol you have in your system. 

Now, in most states, the legal BAC limit is 0.08% — anything beyond that is a definite DUI charge. 

But in Utah, the legal BAC limit is much lower. 

Since December 2018, a BAC level of at least 0.05% is already illegal, and will receive a DUI charge. 

The illegal BAC level is even lower if you’re caught operating a commercial vehicle. In this case, you’ll receive a DUI if your BAC level is 0.04%. 


Utah’s ‘Not A Drop’ Act is its answer to the Zero-Tolerance laws of other states.

Both laws aim to prevent underage DUIs. 

Now, under the ‘Not A Drop’ Act, a driver under 21 years old cannot have ANY amount of alcohol in their system.

And there are 2 reasons for this. 

One, you are not even allowed to drink yet if you’re under 21 years old. 

Secondly, drivers under 21 years old are inexperienced drivers. Since they just started driving recently, they are more likely to get into accidents when impaired. 

Implied Consent Law 

But wait…

How do law officers know your BAC level?

Well, they will ask you to undergo a chemical test if they suspect you of DUI. 

The chemical test uses your breath, blood, or urine as a sample. From there, the test will determine how much alcohol is in your system. 

NOTE: Chemical tests also determine drugs in your system. And any amount of drug will lead to a DUI charge, no matter if it is illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter drugs. 

And — get this — under the Implied Consent Law, you MUST take the chemical test. 

You agreed to this consent the moment you got your Utah-issued driver’s license — this is why it’s called “implied” consent. 

What happens if you refuse a chemical test?

Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for 18 months (that’s one year and a half!).

DUI Penalties in Utah

Since DUI is very dangerous — expect a lot of HARSH penalties if you’re caught. 

The DUI penalties in Utah vary between minors and adults.

Let’s look at these. 

DUI Penalties for Minors 

Any driver between 16-20 years old will face these penalties if convicted of DUI:

  • First Offense: 6-month license suspension and 3-year Ignition Interlock Device.
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses: 2-year license suspension or until their 21st birthday (whichever is longer). Plus, a 3-year Ignition Interlock Device. 

Also, under the ‘Not A Drop’ Act, you can only have your driving privileges reinstated if:

  • You fulfill the suspension
  • You complete an alcohol assessment program
  • You complied with any recommendations from a DHS or DOH-licensed substance abuse provider

If you’re underage and refuse to undergo a chemical test, you face license revocation:

  • First Offense: 2 years or until you turn 21 (whichever is longer)
  • Second Offense: 3 years (or until you turn 21 (whichever is longer)

DUI Penalties for Adults

Let’s move on to the DUI penalties for adults. 

Bear in mind, these penalties are a lot harsher.  

OffenseJail TimePrison TermFineDriving PrivilegesIgnition Interlock Device
First2 days mandatory or 48 hours of community serviceUp to 180 daysAt least $1,310120-day suspension18 months (1 year if your BAC is 0.16% or higher)
Second10 days mandatory or 5 days in jail plus 30 days of electric monitoringUp to 180 daysAt least $1,5602-year suspension3 years
Third62 days mandatoryUp to 5 yearsAt least $2,8502-year revocation3 years

Now, these are just the basic penalties for a DUI charge. 

But if you cause injury or death, or have a minor in the vehicle with you, expect the penalties to get even more severe. 

For the chemical test penalties, prepare to have your license suspended for:

  • First Offense: 18 months
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses: 3 years

What’s more, the DMV may impound your vehicle after a DUI conviction. However, they will let you know where it is and what you must do to retrieve it.

Generally, it involves the following:

  • Meeting all requirements
  • Paying all fees (towing, storage, and administrative costs)

Remember, the DMV only holds impounded vehicles for a specific period. They’ll put it up for sale if you don’t claim it within that time frame.

Drunk or Drugged Driving Facts

Do you ever wonder why there’s such a fuss about impaired driving? 

You’ll understand why when you see the drunk or drugged driving facts:

  • You’re 6 times more likely to crash with a 0.05% BAC or higher.
  • Almost 50% of crashes across all states involve alcohol. That equates to over 16,000 incidents annually.
  • An average person tends to be illegally intoxicated after consuming three drinks (whether mixed, wine, or beer) in an hour. One additional drink per hour keeps you in this state.
  • Combining drugs and alcohol will leave you even more impaired than just taking one or the other. 
  • Marijuana causes you to commit more errors when driving. It also gets drivers more bothered by bright lights (headlight glare) and thus they violate more traffic laws.

Alcohol-Restricted Driver

Your status will become an Alcohol-Restricted driver in any of these scenarios: 

  • Driving under the influence
  • Alcohol-related reckless driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Automobile homicide
  • Refusal of a chemical test
  • Driving with alcohol in the body while on an alcohol-restricted status
  • Operating a vehicle without an Ignition Interlock Device installed while on an ignition interlock-restricted status

This status can last anywhere between 2 to 10 years, depending on your offense and how many you’ve had in the past. 

However, if your DUI resulted in a death, you may be alcohol-restricted for your lifetime.

Another thing. 

Your alcohol-restricted status may remain in effect even after you’ve reinstated your driving privileges. So, if a law enforcement officer catches you with any alcohol in your system, you may lose your license for another year.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

This is a tiny device installed in your vehicle’s ignition. 

To turn on your car, you have to breathe into the device. If it doesn’t detect any alcohol, your car’s ignition will turn on. 

Now Ignition Interlock Devices are usually installed after you fulfill your license suspension. 

After paying the reinstatement fee, you’ll need to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on your vehicle. 

How long do you have to keep the device?

  • First offense: 18 months
  • Second and subsequent offenses: 3 years
  • Felony DUI: 6 years
  • Automobile homicide: 10 years

If you uninstall the IDD before you fulfill the timetable, you’ll lose your driving privileges again. 

Driving a vehicle without an IID while you’re IID-restricted may lead to vehicle impounding.  

Frequently Asked Questions About Utah DUI Laws

Is a DUI in Utah a Felony?

You only get a felony DUI if you’ve had two previous DUI convictions or if you’ve already had a felony DUI in the past.

If not, then the DUI conviction is a misdemeanor. 

Will I Go to Jail for a DUI in Utah?

Jail time is always possible in Utah, even if it’s your first offense. For that, you may spend two days behind bars or serve 48 hours of community service.

Can You Beat a DUI in Utah?

You can still avoid a DUI conviction even if your BAC is 0.05% or higher. 

To do that, answer the following questions:

  • Did the police officer have probable cause to administer the test?
  • Did you take the test after your arrest?
  • Was the chemical test properly calibrated?

If you answered no to any of these, this may mean you have rounds to dismiss a DUI charge.

How Long Will a DUI Stay on Your Record in Utah?

The consequences of a DUI aren’t only expensive — they’re also extensive.

A DUI conviction in Utah stays on your driving record for up to 10 years. So anyone (a prospective employer, an insurance agency, etc.) requesting a copy will see it.

The Wrap Up

And there you have it — all you need to know about the Utah DUI laws. 

Yes, there are a lot of penalties. 

But beyond that, remember that driving under the influence puts you, your passengers, and everyone around in danger.

Safety is a driver’s primary responsibility. 

So if you’ve had drinks, play it safe and find another way to get around. 

Don’t tempt fate — DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!


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