Have you been Arrested for a DUI During COVID?

We wondered what would happen if someone got arrested for a DUI in Utah during the COVID-19 emergency. With courts shutting down, it may be scary to be arrested and find yourself in jail indefinitely. It may be scary to think if you may be exposed to coronavirus while residing in your cell for so long. There is not much information out there, and the courts are nearly impossible to reach at this time.
The situation was clarified somewhat by the Utah Supreme Court when it issued an emergency order, ordering all state courts to cease most court hearings and instead to do necessary hearings remotely by telephone and video unless impossible.
Happily, there is some relief for those arrested for DUI in this crisis. The Utah Supreme Court took into account the uncomfortable reality that is people still being detained during this time and created a new process to keep as many people out of jail as possible. Here is how it works:
When you or someone you know is cited with a DUI, the arresting officer may either put the DUI driver in jail pending a hearing or let them go home, pending a hearing. What happens next in your Utah DUI case depends on what the officer did as far as this decision.
If the officer lets the DUI driver go home after his or her arrest for driving under the influence, the driver’s arraignment or first appearance may be deferred until a date 45 days after the filing of charges. The court may still do the hearing before that by phone or video, but the driver should not physically walk into a courthouse before then. Each court is different, so an attorney should be contacted right away to determine what to do.
Suppose the officer takes the driver into custody after the arrest for driving under the influence. In that case, the court will hold the driver’s arraignment or first appearance the next normal court day after the arrest, usually a weekday, except in Salt Lake City, where there is often Saturday court. At attorney should still be contacted immediately to argue to get the driver out of jail. A skilled Salt Lake City DUI attorney can argue that the courts have been ordered to consider the current Covid-19 emergency to be a factor that favors the release of the driver from jail. This is especially so if the driver is part of a vulnerable or high-risk group, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control.
Please also remember, and this is important, that the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) only gives a driver seven days to request a hearing regarding the suspension of their driver’s license after a DUI arrest. For this reason, it is imperative to contact a Salt Lake City DUI attorney immediately upon arrest or release from jail.
If you are unsure of your Utah DUI arrest status, call our experienced legal team today, and we will help guide you through the process during these confusing times. Call us, and we will be there for you.

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