Schatz Anderson & Associates fight to keep clients out of jail, restore driving privileges after a DUI

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CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Serving clients across Utah since 2003, the criminal defense attorneys at Schatz Anderson & Associates are committed to helping clients retain their driver’s licenses, stay out of jail and keep criminal convictions off their records.

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Schatz Anderson & Associates is the premier DUI defense firm in the state. Attorney Jason Schatz and his colleagues promise to work tirelessly to preserve their clients’ driving privileges and freedom.

“If you’ve been arrested for a DUI or cited for any driving offense, you need to reach out to an attorney quickly,” he said. 

As an expert in DUI defense, Schatz is frequently asked by clients what they should do if they’re pulled over by the police and have been drinking. Although there’s no perfect answer for every scenario, he said there are some general do’s and don’ts when it comes to a traffic stop. 

First, provide the officer with any requested documents, including your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. If the officer asks you to exit your vehicle, cooperate. This is often done for safety reasons. 

In the state of Utah, it’s against the law to drive with a blood alcohol level of .05 or higher or while impaired by another substance. However, it’s not illegal to simply drive a car after consuming alcohol. 

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“It’s OK to acknowledge to the officer that you have consumed alcohol,” Schatz said. “However, don’t answer specific questions as to what you’ve had to drink, where you were drinking or how much you had to drink. Politely tell the officer you’re not comfortable answering those questions without first speaking to an attorney.”

The Fifth Amendment protects citizens from answering questions that may lead to self-incrimination. Furthermore, there is no law in Utah that requires drivers to perform either a field sobriety test or a portable/preliminary breath test. Some drivers may decline to undergo a field sobriety test due to a physical injury or illness, which Schatz recommends disclosing to the officer. 

If an officer tells you that you’re under arrest, don’t resist. If you’re asked to consent to a search of your vehicle, always say “no.” The police may conduct a search anyway if they believe they have probable cause to do so, Schatz said; however, by not giving consent, the driver preserves their right to challenge the search later in court. 

Criminal proceedings move quickly after a DUI arrest. Generally, the arrested person must contact the court within 14 calendar days to schedule their first appearance. After being bailed out of jail, Schatz recommends drivers immediately get their car out of impound and contact an attorney so they don’t miss any important deadlines. 

Schatz said many people don’t realize that a DUI arrest involves two cases: a criminal matter and an administrative matter. The driver’s license division can impose restrictions on someone’s license completely separate from the criminal case.

Drivers must send a written request for a hearing to the driver’s license division within 10 calendar days of their arrest. Their license will automatically be suspended if they fail to make the request in a timely manner. At that point, Schatz said there’s often nothing that can be done to restore driving privileges. 

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Sometimes, the most damaging consequence of a DUI is the loss of driving privileges. Clients may lose a professional license or a job as a result of having their license suspended. In addition to providing criminal defense, Schatz Anderson & Associates also helps clients fight to retain their driver’s licenses. 

“I’d like to think we probably do that better than any other firm out there,” Schatz said. “I’ve done literally thousands of driver’s license cases in the last 18 years.” 

The hearing with the driver’s license division will be held within 30 calendar days of the arrest, so time is of the essence. When the attorneys at Schatz Anderson & Associates take a DUI case, they immediately start investigating and gathering all the evidence necessary to prepare a thorough defense. Evidence may include videos, police reports, breath testing machine maintenance records and officer training records.  

“Not all the attorneys out there are willing to take that much time and effort,” Schatz said. “You’ll find that our attorneys are some of the most well-trained and qualified when it comes specifically to DUI procedures.”

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The attorneys at Schatz Anderson & Associates have all completed the same field sobriety test training as Utah law enforcement officers. Schatz has undergone training in law enforcement procedure and chemical testing and is one of approximately 100 elite attorneys nationwide to obtain board certification in DUI defense as a specialty practice.

Choosing an attorney to defend you when you’ve been charged with a crime is one of the most important decisions you can make. You’ll get no better defense for an alcohol- or drug-related driving offense than from the experts at Schatz Anderson & Associates.

“An arrest is not a conviction,” Schatz said. “Don’t let it become one.” 

The attorneys at Schatz Anderson & Associates have more than 50 years of combined experience in Utah DUI and criminal defense. To schedule a free consultation, call 435-251-9647 or visit their website.

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.

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