Driving Crimes

Driving Offenses in Utah

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The attorneys at Stevens & Gailey, PC are extremely knowledgeable in Utah traffic laws will assist and protect their clients that are charged with traffic crimes throughout Salt Lake City, Utah area. If you’ve been charged with a driving crime or have been involved in an accident DO NOT HESITATE to call us at 801-436-5757. With our initial consultation we can help you know the right path to take.

Most traffic crimes are classified as minor infractions (no imprisonment and fines up to $750) or class C misdemeanors (maximum imprisonment of 90 days and fines up to $750). Some traffic crimes, such as driving drunk, are classified as more serious wrongdoings which have penalties such as longer terms of imprisonment and hefty fines.

Utah law provides for a wide diversity of felony and misdemeanor traffic offenses including:

Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License

Reckless Driving & Endangerment;

DUI;

Hit and Run;

Driving Without Insurance

At Stevens & Gailey we will work above and beyond on your case to make sure your rights are protected. With offices in Ogden and American Fork we can help you no matter where you live! Don’t hesitate to call us NOW and set up your initial consultation.

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Stevens & Gailey Divorce and Criminal Defense Law Firm in Utah
Stevens & Gailey Divorce and Criminal Defense Law Firm in Utah

 

DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED OR REVOKED LICENSE

In Utah driving with a suspended or revoked license can happen due to a few different circumstances. For example: You’re pulled over for a routine traffic stop and:

    • You have a current valid license but you don’t have it with you. You have a current and valid driver licensed but are unable to show proof. This has the possibility to be dismissed by going to court and proving you had a valid license at the time of the incident. Although you may still have to pay a fine.
    • You never acquired a license or your license has expired. This is usually an infraction and can have fines of up to $750.
    • Your license was cancelled, revoked or suspended by the authorities. For first time offenders, this can be considered a smaller violation, like a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $750 and up to 90 days in jail. If your license was suspended or revoked for a worse crime such as a DUI it is a worse infraction and such as a class B misdemeanor. Also, accruing 200 or more points within a three-year time frame can lead to license suspension.

Fighting a charge for driving on a suspended or revoked license can be problematic. Conditional to your situations, you may need the advantage and guidance of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney. Don’t put yourself in jeopardy of possibly going to jail merely because you were driving on suspended or revoked driver’s license.

RECKLESS DRIVING

Index Utah Code
Title 41 Motor Vehicles
Chapter 6a Traffic Code
Part 5 Driving Under the Influence and Reckless Driving
Section 528 Reckless driving — Penalty.

 

41-6a-528.  Reckless driving — Penalty.

(1) A person is guilty of reckless driving who operates a vehicle:

(a) in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; or
(b) while committing three or more moving traffic violations under Title 41, Chapter 6a, Traffic Code, in a series of acts occurring within a single continuous period of driving covering three miles or less in total distance.
(2) A person who violates Subsection (1) is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

Amended by Chapter 292, 2009 General Session

 

Reckless driving is a lawbreaking offense in Utah. The term “willful” refers to behavior that is deliberate and/or resolute. “Wanton” commonly means the individual knew but ignored the significances of the conduct. And “moving violations” consist of traffic offenses like speeding, driving under the influence (DUI), or running a red light.

What Happens if You Are Charged?


Reckless driving is a class B misdemeanor in Utah. Sentenced drivers may face up to six months in jail and a maximum of up to $1,000 in fines. If it’s your first time receiving a reckless driving conviction, the Driver License Division (DLD) can suspend your driver’s license for up to three months with the approval of the judge. License suspension is required for a second reckless driving violation within a 12-month time frame. Also, a reckless driving conviction will add an extra 80 demerit points to the driver’s record.

You Need an Attorney!

The truths of every case are diverse. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with reckless driving, get in touch with a qualified defense attorney. A capable attorney can clarify how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you choose on how best to handle your circumstances.

HIT AND RUN

Utah Hit and Run Accidents

If you are any part of a vehicle accident, whether it is the cause or the victim, you are required by law to stay at the scene, wait for the police, and exchange information with all parties involved in the incident. Leaving the scene of the accident will immediately start the process of a criminal investigation. However, if you are just a passenger in a vehicle it is not a crime for you to leave, but you should remain to give a witness statement.

Leaving the accident before the police arrive can cause you to receive more serious charges than just a traffic citation. Hit and run cases in which someone suffers serious bodily injury or death face the most serious felony penalties.

 

Utah Qualifications for a Hit and Run Accident

In Utah an accident is considered a hit and run when a person involved in the accident leaves the scene. You have a legal obligation to stay at the scene of any type of vehicle accident.

In Utah there are two different types of situations that are considered “hit and run” accidents:

-A driver causes an accident, leaves the scene, and is later identified.

– A vehicle causes an accident, leaves the scene, and is never found or identified. These are called phantom vehicles.

 

Types of Hit-and-Run Crimes in Utah

Police officers in Utah have estimated that hit and run accidents have risen above 20% in the last ten years.

Crimes for hit and run accidents can be charged in any of the following ways:

41-6a-401(1)(b) – Fail to remain at the scene of the accident with property damage only

41-6a-401(2)(a) – Fail to give name and assistance, damage only.

41-6a-401(3) – Failure to report a reportable accident < $1,000

41-6a-401(4) – Failure to report an accident with an unattended vehicle, damage only.

41-6a-401.7(1) – Failure to give name assistance.

41-6a-401.7(2) – Failure to report accident.

41-6a-401.7(3) – Failure to give name assistance, operator incapacitated.

41-6a-401.7(4) – Failure to report an accident with an unattended vehicle.

41-6a-402 – Failure to make a written report of all accidents with more than $1,000 damage or personal                         injury accident.

 

Leaving the Scene

Being involved in a traffic accident is a very scary situation.  You may panic and be tempted to leave the scene. But, you will receive far less serious consequences if you wait for law enforcement and cooperate. Leaving the scene is a serious problem and will only add more problems to the situation.

Utah law states that if you are involved in an accident you have a legal duty to stop and wait for law enforcement. Depending on how serious the accident is you may have additional actions to follow up with. The seriousness of the charges directly depends on the seriousness involved in the accident.

If you leave the scene of an accident where there is nothing more than property damage you can be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor, up to 6 months in jail, and up to $1,000 in fines. Even if it was an unattended vehicle you have to make an effort to contact the owner or at least leave your information so that they can contact you. Failure to do so may result in additional charges. (UCC 41-6a-401)

If the accident involves an injury you are legally required to stop and help until medical persons arrive. Failure to can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, up to a year in jail, and up to $2,500, but no less than $750, in fines. Although is the accident results in serious injury you could be charged with a 3rd degree felony, and this could be up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. (UCC 41-6a-401.3)

The most serious accidents are the ones involving death. If you leave the scene of an accident with a death you will be charged with a 3rd degree felony with up to 5 years prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Although it is more likely you will receive far worse charges is you leave the scene of this type of accident involving a death. (UCC 41-6a-401.5)

 

What to Do After

Aside from contacting your insurance company, first thing you’ll want to do is get the police involved and gather as much evidence as possible. If someone is fleeing the scene take out your phone or camera and take as many pictures and videos as you can. Type of car, color, look of the driver, and license plate is extremely helpful.

Sometimes, the police are unable to track down the perpetrator of the accident. This means you won’t have their insurance information to get the matter resolved. This is also why having as much evidence as possible will greatly help the police with your case.

 

 Driving Without Insurance

Utah has a unique and modified no-fault insurance law where all drivers are required to have liability and no-fault coverage. The injured parties can only file a claim after the it reaches at least $3,000. Insurance is an absolute must if you live in Utah or drive within the state for 90 days or more of the year. In order to proof that you have the valid and current insurance you have to carry a copy of your insurance card with you at all times you are operating a vehicle. Driving without insurance is a Class B misdemeanor with a fine of at least $400. Just one lapse in coverage can mark you as an uninsured driver.

Getting caught without insurance is mostly a financial burden but, can result in jail time. The Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by 0-180 days in jail with up to $1,000 plus a 90% surcharge. On a first offense the court is required to impose a fine of at least $400. On a second offense the judge must set a fine of at least $1,000. These are the statutory minimums, but the judge can impose additional fines as they see fit.

An additional consequence to driving without insurance is being required to carry SR-22 insurance for at least three years. This type of insurance can be extremely expensive.

Utah State Penalties—

  • Driver’s License Suspension: $30 Reinstatement Fee
  • Vehicle Registration Suspension: $100 Reinstatement Fee
  • Vehicle Impounded: Tow and Impound Fees
  • Ticket on Your First Offense: $400 Minimum Fee
  • Ticket on Further Offenses: $1,000 Minimum Fee
  • At Fault Accident: $30 Minimum Fee