Getting convicted of a DUI can be a life-changing event. Under Idaho DUI laws, anyone convicted of drunk driving can be subjected to huge fines and jail time, have their driver’s license suspended and potentially face other penalties as well. For this reason, it is essential that drivers are fully aware of the Idaho DUI laws and what these laws mean for anyone facing a charge of driving under the influence.
What Is the Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit?
As with many other states, the blood alcohol concentration limit in Idaho is at 0.08 percent. However, this limit only applies to people over the age of 21 who are driving a private vehicle. When driving a commercial vehicle, the BAC limit is only 0.04 percent. The BAC limit for drivers under the age of 21 is only 0.02 percent. In addition, you can also be charged with a DUI even if your BAC is under 0.08 percent and you are under the influence of some other intoxicating substance. Under Idaho DUI laws, people with a BAC at or above 0.20 percent are charged with the more serious offense of aggravated DUI.
What Happens if I get Pulled Over?
If you get pulled over and the officer suspects that you are under the influence, the first thing they will ask you to do is submit to a roadside sobriety test. In most cases, the officer will also ask you to submit to a breathalyzer or other blood alcohol test.
Can I Refuse the BAC Test?
Idaho DUI laws state that drivers have the legal right to refuse to submit to a BAC test. Even if you are visibly impaired, the officer that pulls you over cannot force you to take a breathalyzer or other blood alcohol test. Similarly, you can also refuse to take a BAC test once you’re at the police station.
What Happens if I Refuse It?
Although drivers do have the legal right to refuse a BAC test, taking advantage of this right won’t save you from being charged with a DUI. Although you can refuse to take a blood alcohol test, Idaho law states that you can still be charged with a DUI based on the results of the roadside sobriety test, your driving behavior, speech patterns, physical appearance and the observations of the responding officer.
Generally, when a person refuses to take a BAC test, they are automatically issued with an order of suspension. Once this order is issued, the driver has seven days to request a hearing. If they lose the hearing or fail to request a hearing within seven days, the driver will automatically have their license suspended for one year and be subject to a $250 fine. Refusing to take a second BAC test within five years also carries with it a $250 fine. Furthermore, in this case, your driver’s license will also be suspended for two years.
Can I Plead “Wet Reckless”?
If you’re pulled over and accused of driving under the influence, the good news is that Idaho DUI laws do not restrict plea bargaining for DUI offenses. This means that your lawyer may be able to help you plea bargain for a lesser charge of reckless driving. This is usually referred to as a wet reckless. Although this type of plea bargain is usually only offered to persons with no previous history of DUI, it gives drivers the advantage of being able to plead to a lesser charge. Consequently, they face less harsh penalties than if the driver were charged with drunk driving.
What Are the Penalties I Should Expect?
Idaho DUI laws stipulate that the penalties are based on whether it is your first offense and also based on the circumstances surrounding the arrest. In most cases, drivers should expect to be sentenced to at least a few days in jail and be forced to pay a substantial fine. In addition, you may be required to undergo alcohol treatment. Under Idaho law, a DUI offense only stays on a person’s driving record for five years. This means that a person will still be considered a first-time offender as long as it has been at least five years since their last DUI offense.
First Offense DUI
Idaho DUI laws generally have quite harsh penalties. People convicted of their first DUI offense will typically face a $1,000 fine and be sentenced to anywhere between two days and six months of jail time. However, the circumstances surrounding the arrest will also be taken into account; people who had a much higher BAC at the time of their arrest are usually subject to much harsher penalties. This is especially true for anyone convicted of aggravated DUI.
In addition to the fine and jail time, anyone convicted of their first DUI offense will have their driver’s license suspended for a minimum of 90 days. They will also need to pay a fee between $25 and $285 in order to have their license reinstated.
Second offense DUI
The penalties for DUI become more severe for a second offense within five years. In this case, drivers could be facing a mandatory jail sentence of anywhere between 10 days and one year as well as a $2,000 fine. Anyone convicted of a second DUI offense will also have their license automatically suspended for one year. You may also face restrictions on your license once it is reinstated. The state can require you to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle to ensure you can’t drive under the influence.
Third Offense DUI
The penalties become even harsher for those convicted of a third DUI offense within five years. Whereas the first and second offense are considered misdemeanors, a third DUI comes with a felony conviction and a mandatory jail sentence of anywhere between 30 days and 10 years. Drivers can also face a fine of up to $5,000. Anyone convicted of a third DUI conviction will also have their driver’s license suspended for a minimum of one year; this can be extended to up to five years depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
Fourth Offense DUI
A fourth DUI conviction within five years carries with it an automatic felony conviction. The penalties for a fourth DUI conviction are basically the same as for the third conviction. However, the court is likely to apply the harshest possible penalties following a fourth conviction. This means you could potentially be facing up to 10 years in jail.
Driving under the influence is a serious offense. Drivers who get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are putting their own life and the lives of others at serious risk. This is precisely why Idaho has such strict penalties for DUI offenses.
Although you can always try to fight against the DUI charge or attempt to plea bargain to a lower charge, you can still expect to face quite severe penalties due to your offense. For this reason, it is imperative that everyone thinks twice before getting behind the wheel drunk.