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The Utah Judges Guide to DUI Sentencing



If you ever wanted to know what Utah judges are thinking about when they sentence a DUI offender, the answer can be found in the DUI Best Sentencing Practices Guidebook, prepared by the Utah Sentencing Commission. The guidebook provides explicit instructions on what judges should consider when pronouncing sentences.

Purpose of DUI Sentences

The guidebook states that the purposes of a DUI sentence are threefold:

  • To punish the offender
  • To protect and compensate the victim and society
  • To reduce the likelihood of future crimes by the offender through rehabilitation and incapacitation

DUI First Offense

The sanctions provided by the guidebook are incarceration (or jail time), probation, electronic monitoring, ignition interlock, fines, compensatory work service, education, treatment, and driver's license actions. For a first offense, the guidebook provides that a judge shall do the following:

  • Impose a jail sentence of not less than 48 hours
  • Require work in a compensatory work service program for not less than 48 hours
  • Require home confinement through the use of electronic monitoring

For a first offense, a judge may order supervised probation, the cost of which is paid by the offender. Supervised probation is mandatory for all subsequent offenses. Ignition interlocks may also be ordered for a first offense. Interlocks are mandatory if the offender is younger than age 21 or the offender is convicted of a second DUI within 10 years of the first DUI conviction.

DUI Convictions

Judges are required to impose a fine of not less than $700 for a first conviction. Second misdemeanor convictions require an $800 fine. Felony convictions require a $1,500 fine. Judges are also required to have first-time offenders undergo alcohol screening and assessment. If the court does not order substance abuse treatment, it must order the offender to undergo an educational program on alcoholism. A judge has discretion as to whether to order substance abuse treatment for a first-time offender. Substance abuse treatment is mandatory for all subsequent DUI offenses. Finally a judge must suspend an offender's driver's license for 90 days upon a first DUI conviction. Licenses are revoked for one year for a second conviction or any subsequent DUI conviction. Judges have further discretion to order additional license suspensions or revocations for 90 days, 180 days, one year, or two years.