Utah DUI violations, even for a first offense, can include hefty penalties; jail time, license suspension, monetary fines or the implementation of an Interlock Ignition Device (IID). If you blow over a .16, all of these penalties are on the table depending on the circumstances of the first-time DUI charge. IIDs in particular are a rather invasive intervention that might in many cases be unnecessary for a first-time DUI offender.

If you’re facing a DUI charge in Utah, you don’t have to fight it alone. Kelly Cardon & Associates has been working in DUI defense for more than 25 years. Our knowledgeable team and our expertise in handling DUI charges can help to turn your DUI case in your favor. Before calling our office in Ogden, UT, learn more about whether first-time DUI offenders should have to install IIDs.

What is An IID?

An IID is a periodic monitoring device installed onto motor vehicles that can prevent the vehicle from starting when it detects a high enough blood alcohol content (BAC). The device measures breath alcohol concentration with a built-in breathalyzer unit. Drivers with IIDs are required to blow into the unit before starting their car, and then to do occasional tests while driving. If for some reason a driver fails the test while driving, the device allows enough time to safely pull off the road before shutting down the engine.

For first-time DUI offenders who receive an IID sanction, the system is installed for 18 months. The offender is responsible for paying for the installation and the monthly upkeep of the device. Any attempt at manipulating an IID will lead to severe legal repercussions, so even if the system invites certain trickery or loopholes, it’s very dangerous for drivers to try and get around the system. When someone in Utah violates the IID system, they are subject to an installation of the device for three more years.

The Implications of a High BAC for First Time Offenders

Depending on the circumstances of the case, there are different types of DUI charges in Utah. After a first-offense DUI, each subsequent DUI offense within a 10-year period scales up in terms of severity. The third DUI offense within a 10-year period is considered a felony DUI charge. Typically, a first-time DUI offense would result in the following sanctions:
48 hours of jail time
A minimum fine of $1,420
120 day suspension of driver’s license

For one-time offenses, these charges are fairly reasonable and would not gravely affect an offender’s quality of life. But there is one hiccup that first-time offenders often end up facing: High BAC.

The threshold for a high BAC DUI in Utah is a blood alcohol concentration of .16 percent, twice the legal limit of .08 percent. The high BAC threshold is important because drivers who test over that threshold are necessarily subject to increased sanctions. When a driver tests above the high BAC threshold their sentence must include the ignition interlock device for 18 months.

Should First-Time Offenders Get IIDs?

Believe it or not, the law can be quite imperfect. The Legislature often means well but can heed misguided results. Lines drawn like that of high BAC DUIs can unnecessarily punish the wrong people. In the case of IIDs, such an extreme form of intervention is often unnecessary for first-time DUI offenders.

The high BAC threshold doesn’t correlate to an increased risk for repeat offenses. So because an IID is one of three mandatory sanctions when someone’s BAC is high enough, they are therefore saddled with an intervention that might not be necessary. Remember that the offender is the one who has to pay for the installation of an IID along with the monthly cost of upkeep. And that’s in addition to the minimum $1,420 fine that already comes with a first offense. Then offenders spend 18 months dealing with the inconvenience of the Interlock Ignition Device, and the damaging stigma that would come along with having one installed in their car.

That being said, IIDs seem much more fitting for repeat DUI offenders, as they have shown that the initial monetary fine and license suspension was not enough to prevent them from drinking and driving.

If you’re facing DUI charges in Utah, we’re here to help. We can help you minimize your exposure to life altering consequences. We offer free case analyses for our prospective clients. For residents of Salt Lake City, you can call us at 801-328-1110. Residents of Northern Utah can reach us at 801-627-1110. You can also contact us here.