Are Minors Prone to Be Repeat Offenders?
Interviewer: What’s the chance that a minor would end up receiving another DUI in the future or do you think that, for the most part, they learned their lesson?
Matthew Nebeker: I would like to think that most of them won’t have more issues with drugs and alcohol. But I would say about 20% of them, I’ll see a second time.
Utah No Longer Allows for a Deferred Adjudication
Interviewer: How does deferred adjudication work?
Matthew Nebeker: We don’t have that in Utah. They took that away from us back in 2008 or 2009.
Interviewer: That’s not an option for even minors anymore?
Matthew Nebeker: No. Not on a DUI.
In Utah, Court Adjudication Entails a Sentence of Probation and Will Not Be Dismissed at a Later Date
Interviewer: We did touch on probation, so now the court adjudication has just become probation?
Matthew Nebeker: Yeah, that’s straight up. You admit it, with an adjudication of the charge or a guilty plea of the charge, and receive probation. It’s not a charge that you can have dismissed a year, a year and a half later based on good behavior.
Currently, in Utah a Drug-Related Conviction Entails a 6 Month License Suspension
Here in Utah, if anyone, whether it’s a minor or an adult, is charged and convicted with a drug charge there is statute I need to mention. If you are convicted of any kind of drug charge or paraphernalia charge, the statute says that driver’s license division, if that conviction is reported to the driver’s license division, can suspend your license for 6 months.
That applies whether you’re actually inside or near a vehicle or not.
A Recent Change in the Law Allows for Counseling to Be Imposed Instead of the License Suspension
However, they recently, there’s been a change in the law that says, if it wasn’t involving an automobile, you can ask the court for an order with some other special conditions such as counseling, instead of the suspension. If you can prove that to the judge and the judge will sign that order, then driver’s license division won’t suspend the license for 6 months. That’s something that’s kind of new and a lot of attorneys don’t know about that.
Interviewer: Is there a particular name for that law?
Matthew Nebeker: It’s just the one with drug or paraphernalia charges.
Matthew Nebeker: That’s what triggers the suspension. There’s a provision in their buried way down in the statute that says if it didn’t involve an automobile and the individual’s in some counseling or other treatment, then you can ask the court for an order not to suspend the license. I’ve done that for a few people.
What Do Minors Need to Relay to Their Attorneys When Facing an Alcohol- or Drug-Related Charge?
Interviewer: Are there any factors that a minor should tell you or that would help their case?
It Is Advisable to Inform the Attorney about Any Medical Conditions and If the Minor Driver Has Been Charged Previously
Matthew Nebeker: I always ask, is there any physical conditions with feet, ankles, legs, knees, back, things like that, any problems with their eyes. I would like to know if they have any diabetes, any dental conditions, implants, or braces. That’s important information to have.
Then, did it involve a car or not, with these charges. My generally policy is the more information they can bring me in the beginning, the better off we will be. If they can bring in the citation or proof of any special programs that they’re already involved in. Some minors are involved in actions from other courts or have other medical conditions. Generally, as much as they can tell me is what I prefer.
There Are an Equal Amount of Alcohol-Related and Drug-Related Charges Issued for Minor Drivers
Interviewer: Are you seeing more of alcohol-related or more drug-related DUIs with minor drivers?
Matthew Nebeker: In my experience, it’s been about 50/50. If I am to see two clients the same age in a day, it is likely one has an alcohol-related charge and the other a drug-related charge.