Underage DVI

Utah has a “Not a Drop” state law that is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to consumption of alcohol by minors. A minor commits a criminal offense in Utah when he or she operates a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her body (commonly abbreviated as “DVI”).

While violations of the Not a Drop law are not usually punishable by incarceration, convictions can result in lengthy suspensions of driver’s licenses. When a minor has a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or greater, he or she can be subject to the same criminal penalties as adult offenders.

Attorney for Underage DVI Defense in Salt Lake City

If you or your child was recently arrested for a Not a Drop law violation in Utah, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law defends juveniles in communities all over Salt Lake County and Weber County.

Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Susanne Gustin can fight to possibly get your criminal charges completely dismissed. You can have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (801) 243-2814 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Utah Underage DVI Information Center

Underage DVI Charges in Salt Lake County

Utah Code § 53-3-231(2)(a) simply states that a person younger than 30 years of age cannot operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle or motorboat with any measurable blood, breath, or urine alcohol concentration in his or her body as shown by a chemical test. While operation of a motor vehicle is fairly straight forward and does not necessitate definition, the phrase “actual physical control” has been subject to a little more interpretation.

The “Richfield factors” as they relate to actual physical control factors refers to the case of Richfield City v. Walker, 790 P.2d 87 (Utah Ct. App. 1990), in which the Court of Appeals of Utah concluded that it “must look to the totality of the circumstances to determine whether defendant was in actual physical control of his vehicle.” Relevant factors listed by the Court of Appeals in determining whether a defendant was in actual physical control of his or her vehicle include, but are not limited to the following:

  • whether defendant was asleep or awake when discovered;
  • the position of the automobile;
  • whether the automobile’s motor was running;
  • whether defendant was positioned in the driver’s seat of the vehicle;
  • whether defendant was the vehicle’s sole occupant;
  • whether defendant had possession of the ignition key;
  • defendant’s apparent ability to start and move the vehicle;
  • how the car got to where it was found; and
  • whether defendant drove it there.

Any minor who has a BAC of anything other than 0.00 can be charged with this crime.

Underage DVI Penalties in Utah

A person has 29 days to request a hearing to be held by the Driver License Division in the county in which the arrest occurred or the county adjacent to the arrest location. A hearing will cover whether a peace officer had reasonable grounds to believe the alleged offender was operating a motor vehicle or motorboat in violation of Utah Code, whether the alleged offender refused to submit to the test, and the test results, if any.

If the alleged offender does not request a hearing, fails to appear before the division, or the division determines that the peace officer had reasonable grounds to believe the alleged offender was operating a motor vehicle or motorboat in violation of Utah Code § 53-3-231(2)(a), driver’s licenses may be restricted as follows:

  • First Offense — Denial of license for minimum of six months;
  • Second or Subsequent Offense — Suspension of license until person turns 30 years of age or two years, whichever is longer;
  • First Offense by Person Not Issued License — Denial of license or learner’s permit for minimum of six months;
  • Second or Subsequent Offense by Person Not Issued License — Denial of license until person turns 30 years of age or two years, whichever is longer;

All suspensions also require people to comply with the terms of Utah Code § 53-3-231(12)(b)(i), which establishes that reinstatement of a person’s operator license or the right to obtain an operator license within five years of the effective date of the license sanction is contingent upon successful completion of the action recommended by the local substance abuse authority or the substance abuse program. Under The local substance abuse authority’s or the substance abuse program’s recommended action is determined by an assessment of the person’s alcohol abuse and can include:

  • a targeted education and prevention program;
  • an early intervention program; or
  • a substance abuse treatment program.

Salt Lake County Underage DVI Resources

Utah Code § 53-3-231 — View the full text of Utah’s Not a Drop law. Learn more about peace officer requirements relating to these matters. You can also read provisions relating to the denial, suspension, and reinstatement of driver’s licenses.

An Impact Evaluation of Underage Drinking Prevention Projects | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — View the full text of a NHTSA report summarizing the results of a highway safety impact evaluation of four underage drinking prevention programs in the United States. One of the programs evaluated is the Salt Lake City Underage Drinking Prevention Project (SLCUDPP) in Salt Lake County, Utah. The report found that step function intervention in SLCUDPP produced no effect at any time near to January 1996, but the ramp function indicated a gradually increasing reduction of roughly 0.6 percent per month starting at January 1997 and reaching a maximum reduction of 14 percent (or about 20 crashes per month) at December 1998.

Find an Underage DVI Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT

Were you or your child arrested for a violation of the Not a Drop law in Utah? You should avoid speaking to authorities until you are first able to contact Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law.

Susanne Gustin is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Salt Lake City who represents individuals in communities throughout Weber County and Salt Lake County. Call (801) 243-2814 or fill out an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.

This article was last updated by Jordan Anderson, on July 30th, 2018.