Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I am charged with a DUI. A Pre-trial Conference is scheduled for when I work. Do I need to show up for the Pre-trial Conference or can my attorney just represent me?

A. Under most circumstances a Defendant must appear in court for a Pre-trial Conference. If the Defendant has hired an attorney for the case, and the Defendant has a good reason for not being at the pre-trial conference, then the attorney can appear on behalf of the client. Rule 13 of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure does state that the accused shall be present unless he waives his right to appear. This situation happens quite frequently, and what I do for my clients is file a motion in advance of the Pre-trial Conference, under Rule 13, and ask the Court to excuse them. I explain the reason for my client’s absence, and have not had any problems in doing this with most of the courts in Utah.

Q. I was in a car accident about a month ago. I had to be taken to the hospital. When I woke up I was told I was above the legal limit. No one else was hurt but me. I got a letter in the mail stating they were charging me with a DUI and reckless driving. How will I know if my driver’s license is still good? It was never taken away from me and the cops never came to visit me in the hospital.

A. If you received a DUI a month after you were involved in an accident, it is likely that the prosecutor received the results of a chemical test, most likely a blood test, and the results were above the statutory limit of .08. Your license cannot be suspended until after the issuance of the DUI citation, and the proper procedures have been followed by the State. After the issuance of the DUI Citation you have ten calendar days to request a hearing with the Driver’s License Division to see if the license will be suspended for the DUI. One of the issues in your DUI defense will be if you knowingly consented to a blood draw at the hospital. It is imperative that you immediately contact a DUI Attorney upon receiving a DUI Citation, or a Summons to appear in court.

Q. After shopping at a Smith’s in October of 2012 the woman who was parked next to me accused me of hitting her car when I parked. After telling her it wasn’t me and arguing with her for a few minutes I told her it wasn’t me and I had to go get my kids from school, she informed me that she had already call the police, I left my name and number. An hour later an officer came to my house and gave me the ticket, he didn’t really seem interested in listening to what I had to say. I left, I must have done it. I have a court day set for 9/2/2014.

A. I highly recommend getting an attorney for your hit and run case. You should never plead guilty for something that you did not do, and going to trial without an attorney will most likely result in a conviction. An attorney will be able to quickly assess the strength of the prosecution’s case by reviewing the police report, investigating the complaining witnesses, and conducting his own investigation. If a plea deal ends of being your best option an attorney can sometimes help craft a deal that will keep the charge from being reported to the Driver’s License Division, and becoming a permanent part of your record. The savings in court fines and increased insurance costs can will be well worth the price of an attorney.

Q. Daughter was encouraged and drank alcohol at a concert and was observed by an undercover officer and given a Breathalyzer test. Do we plead guilty at arraignment? It is a first offence and would like a little leniency for her.

A. Do not have your daughter plead guilty at her arraignment. There is more at stake for your daughter than just a fine. Even though she was drinking at a concert, a conviction for unlawful consumption or possession of alcohol will result in a one year suspension of her driver’s license. Depending on the case, this suspension time can be avoided or reduced through the use of an attorney. At arraignment most judges expect the defendant to enter a plea of not guilty and seek the advice of an attorney. The Court is glad to give you time ensure your daughter’s rights are protected. Your daughter might have to take a underage drinking class and pay a fine, but year suspension of her license is harsh.


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