What to Expect If Charged with DUI in Idaho

Most are first DUI. Misdemeanor:

Blood alcohol level (BAC) over 0.08 and under 0.20 ng/l.

Traffic stop based upon a reasonable suspicion of a driving violation (probable cause stop). Weaving, failure to signal lane changes or turns, speeding, taillight out, excessive acceleration, etc.

Officer smells alcohol on breath, sees reddened eyes, slurred speech, odd behavior (reasonable suspicion to ask driver to get out of car for field sobriety testing (walk the line, gaze nystagmus, balancing, counting backwards).

Arrest for suspicion of DUI, placed in police car, given notification of consequences of not taking breath test (one year license suspension, $250 fine, refusal can be used against driver as evidence). Audio played or read aloud. Or this may occur at the police station.

If the breath test shows over 0.08, that is the crime, driving and testing over the limit, whether one is actually impaired.

Marijuana or other drugs may not record a BAC result. But officers use their “expertise and experience” to assess impairment and have available a so-called “drug recognition expert” officer to come to the scene to analyze the behavior and physical condition of the driver. It is DUI to drive under the influence of any drug, which requires a showing of impairment. There is no statutory limit for level of intoxicants in the blood other than alcohol. Impairment is determined by those other factors and by BAC tests of the blood, which can be required by a warrant if refused.

If driver refuses the breath test or the blood draw, the police can get a search warrant. There is a judge standing by 24/7.  A refusal subjects driver to the civil penalties for refusal described above in addition to criminal penalties for DUI.

The right to additional test is only after complying with BAC test requirement. Then only at driver’s own arrangement and expense.  If refusal, no right to independent test.

The breath test may be required at the scene as part of an investigation for DUI.

Once arrested and booked the defendant may bond out with cash or by arrangement with bonding company. If no bond can be met, the defendant remains in jail until seeing a judge on the first weekday, if not a holiday, when a release may be arranged by own recognizance, though that is not favored. If the BAC is over 0.20 (excessive DUI) the defendant will spend time overnight to see the judge in the morning, then possibly bonded out or released with conditions, i.e., daily urinalysis testing, no driving, no possession, or frequenting places, as a condition of release.

I shall review the details of all reports obtained from the police and the prosecutor as to cause for stop, instructions and advisories given before and after arrest, procedures followed for BAC testing. I will advise if a defense is reasonable and the likelihood of success, for example unlawful search, no cause for the stop, improper procedures.

I shall request a hearing on the administrative license suspension case before the Idaho transportation department.  This must be requested within 7 days of release from jail. If there is a defense to the criminal case (separate from the ALS administrative case), it may apply to the automatic 90 days license suspension with absolutely no privileges for 90 days, which usually can be arranged to run concurrently with any court ordered license suspension.

I shall contact and negotiate with prosecuting attorney (city or county, depends on what jurisdiction).

First DUI, BAC over 0.08 and under 0.20 misdemeanor:

If there is no serious defense, a typical first DUI involves a fine, suspended jail time, community service to satisfy the court ordered jail time, court costs, having an alcohol/drug evaluation done and complying with recommendations for treatment as a condition of probation for at least one year. Usually, unsupervised. 180-day license suspension, first 30 absolutely no privileges, interlock on any car you drive for one year after license is reinstated by the Idaho transportation department. Probation may be supervised or unsupervised.

I shall request withheld judgment, so no conviction entered, if qualified, and, once probation terms have been satisfied, it is possible that the charge can be dismissed. It will remain on the criminal history record as arrest, guilty plea, satisfied probation, charge dismissed. It is treated as a conviction for all subsequent DUI cases. One can only have one withheld judgment in a lifetime. I shall request backdating of any court ordered license suspension to first day of the ALS suspension, so not two separate 30 days absolute suspension are imposed, or lengthened period of suspensions run.

A plea of guilty may be entered at pretrial conference and sentencing may be done at that first pretrial conference. This is typical in Ada County. In canyon county, the plea is typically taken one day, and sentencing done at a later date. Sentencing is done only after the alcohol/drug evaluation is completed. It is best to have begun treatment before sentencing. At sentencing, you do little talking, though the judge will ask you to explain. I shall argue for you for less fine, jail, probation, possibly a waiver of your interlock requirement (not commonly granted.)

Excessive DUI. Misdemeanor:

BAC over 0.20.

Mandatory minimum 10 days jail with 2 days consecutive, though one can often serve alternative service for jail time at 8 hours per day, (pick up trash on highway as sheriff inmate labor detail assignment, community service with nonprofit).  Mandatory one year license suspension, alcohol evaluation and comply, supervised probation for at least one year. A second excessive is a felony with loss of license for up to 5 years, fine of up to $5000. Interlock.

Second DUI. Misdemeanor:

No matter where the first DUI happened. Minimum 5 days jail, up to 30 days, fine of up to $2000, driver’s license suspended for 1 year absolutely no privileges up to 2 years, interlock upon reinstatement of license. Alcohol evaluation and comply.

Third DUI in 10 years. Felony:

Possible prison not to exceed 10 years. Fine not to exceed $500, license suspension of not less than 5 years after release from jail and up to 5 years with absolutely no driving privileges, interlock for remainder of term of sentence, supervised probation, or parole from prison for remainder of 10 years or term of sentence, alcohol evaluation and comply.

Second excessive DUI within 5 years. Felony:

Jail or prison not to exceed 5 years. Fine not to exceed $5000. Absolute driver’s license suspension for 1 to 5 years. Interlock. Evaluation and comply.

Second felony DUI in 15 years:

Substantially the same as third DUI in 10 years.

Aggravated DUI. Felony:

Injury to person or property. Incarceration up to 15 years. Mandatory minimum 30 days in jail. Fine not to exceed $5000. Loss of driving privileges for mandatory 1 year after release and up to 5 years with absolutely no privileges. Must pay restitution for injury to person or property.

Persons under 21:

Persons Under 21 DUI with BAC in Excess Of 0.08. Misdemeanor

Same disposition as adult. No juvenile court. 

Persons Under 21 With Over 0.02 But Less Than 0.08 BAC

Same as adult for first DUI, except 1-year driver’s license suspension with first 90 days absolute, evaluation and comply. May request restricted driver’s license after period of absolute suspension. No interlock requirement. May be transferred to juvenile court.

Persons Under 21 Second DUI

Mandatory 5 to 30 days jail, fine of $500 to $2000, license suspension for up to 2 years with first 1-year absolute, interlock for one year after license reinstated, alcohol evaluation and comply.

Commercial Driver’s License

Same penalties as above. Further, loss of CDL for one year upon first DUI conviction. BAC limit is 0.04. Refusal of BAC will cause loss of CDL. Loss of CDL for life upon second DUI conviction.