Reasons to Hire an Attorney – Alcohol Restricted Driver Violation

Hiring an attorney experienced with defending alcohol restricted driver violations may be the only truly effective way to avoid the mandatory one year suspension of your driver license.  Here at Saunders Law, we routinely defend against Alcohol Restricted Driver charges that the State of Utah has brought against our clients.  Most of the time, when a person is being charged with an Alcohol Restricted Driver offense, that person did not even know that he or she was an Alcohol Restricted Driver.

While it is rare, occasionally the Driver License Division (DLD) mistakenly places an alcohol restriction on a person’s driver license even though that person is not alcohol restricted.  Also, occasionally the DLD forgets to lift an alcohol restriction on a person’s driver license even though that person’s period of restriction has already lapsed.  In these situations, an experienced attorney will be able to obtain the DLD’s records and successfully challenge the charges brought by the State of Utah early on in the criminal proceedings, resulting in the charges being dismissed.

Assuming that the person charged with the Alcohol Restricted Driver violation was in fact alcohol restricted, an attorney at Saunders Law can challenge the initial traffic stop through filing a motion to suppress the State’s evidence.  In that motion, and subsequent evidentiary hearing, the attorney will argue that the police officer lacked “reasonable, articulable suspicion” that the driver committed the underlining traffic offense.  If the attorney successfully is able to argue that the initial traffic stop was unlawful, all of the State’s evidence against the driver will be suppressed and the charges will be dismissed, including the Alcohol Restricted Driver offense.

Lastly, depending on the facts of your case, an attorney at Saunders Law may be able to successfully negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor, typically a plea in abeyance agreement.  By entering into a plea in abeyance agreement, the client would initially plead guilty or no contest to the charge of driving with a measurable amount of alcohol in his or her system while being an Alcohol Restricted Driver.  Then, if the driver successfully completes probation, the guilty charge will be stricken by the court and the charge will be dismissed.  Since the Alcohol Restricted Driver violation is dismissed, the DLD will not suspend the person’s driver license.

Driver License Penalties – Alcohol Restricted Driver Violation

In Utah, if you are convicted of driving with any alcohol in your system while you are alcohol restricted, your license will automatically be suspended for a period of one year. Considering that a conviction for a first offense DUI only carries a 120 day suspension, a one year driver license suspension for an alcohol restricted driver violation is especially severe.

In addition to the one year suspension, a conviction for an Alcohol Restricted Driver violation will result in an additional three years being added to the current period that you are alcohol restricted.

Criminal Charges – Alcohol Restricted Driver Violation

If you have an alcohol restriction on your driver license, you may not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle with any measurable or detectable amount of alcohol in your body (UCA § 41-6a-529). If you are charged with an Alcohol Restricted Driver violation and subsequently convicted, the penalties can be equal to, or greater than, a DUI conviction.

In Utah, similar to a first offense DUI, an Alcohol Restricted Driver violation is a class B Misdemeanor.  A class B Misdemeanor is punishable with a fine up to $1940 and a jail term of up to 180 days. Additionally, if you are convicted of an Alcohol Restricted Driver offense, you will face additional driver license penalties.

Duration – Alcohol Restricted Driver

The period that a driver is alcohol restricted varies dramatically depending on the underlying conviction that triggered the alcohol restriction. Pursuant to Utah law, a driver will be alcohol restricted for the following periods of time, based on the following offenses:

Alcohol Restricted Driver for a Two Year Period:

Alcohol Restricted Driver for a Three Year Period:

  • Driving without an Ignition Interlock Device if Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver (UCA § 41-6a-518.2);
  • Driving with Alcohol in the Body if Alcohol Restricted Driver (UCA § 41-6a-530).

Alcohol Restricted Driver for a Five Year Period:

Alcohol Restricted Driver for a Ten Year Period:

Alcohol Restricted Driver for Lifetime:

Alcohol Restricted Driver

In Utah, if you are an Alcohol Restricted Driver, you may not legally operate a motor vehicle with any measurable or detectable amount of alcohol in your body (UCA 41-6a-530).

There are three main ways one becomes an alcohol restricted driver: first, you are under the age of twenty-one; second, you have been charged with, and convicted of, driving under the influence (DUI) or impaired driving; or third, you were charged with, and convicted of, driving without an Ignition Interlock Device as an Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver.

Obviously, if you are an alcohol restricted driver due to your age, you cannot drive with any alcohol in your system until you are twenty-on years old. However, if you are an alcohol restricted driver due to a DUI conviction or an Impaired Driving conviction, you cannot drive with any alcohol in your system for a two year period (or more) following your conviction. Similarly, if you are an alcohol restricted driver due to an Ignition Interlock Violation, you cannot drive with any alcohol in your system for a three year period following your conviction.

As an Alcohol Restricted Driver, you obviously cannot operate a car with any measurable or detectable amount of alcohol in your body.  However, what many people do not know is that you also cannot operate a boat, snowmobile, motorcycle, airplane, or any other motorized vehicle with any alcohol in your body as an Alcohol Restricted Driver.

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