Idaho DUI: Refusal to Take a Blood, Breath or Urine Test

In Idaho, if you get pulled over for a DUI and the officer asks you to take a blood, breath, or urine test, do you have to take one? What happens if you refuse?

Implied Consent

Idaho law requires you to take a breath, blood, or urine test if you are arrested for a DUI. Idaho’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC).  You don’t have the right to speak to an attorney before deciding to be tested, and the test must be taken as soon as possible from the time when you were last driving.

You could be arrested for a DUI even if you were not driving. If you have actual, physical control of the vehicle while under the influence, then that can be enough for an officer to arrest you. To be in actual, physical control of a vehicle means that you are in the driver's seat with the motor running or while the car is moving.

Once you are arrested, the officer should tell you that you will be fined $250 and your license will be suspended for at least a year if you refuse to take a test. If you enroll in a drug-court program, however, then you could get a restricted license to drive to work, school, or an alcohol treatment program once you have completed 45 days of your suspension and have installed an ignition interlock device on your car.  The officer must also explain that you could ask for a hearing within seven days to explain why you refused, and that you can have additional tests taken at your expense.

You can read Idaho’s implied consent law in Idaho Code Section 18-8002.

Refusing to Take the Test

 

1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

1 year license suspension; $250 fine (however, defendants who install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle may be eligible for a restricted license that allows for driving to/from work/school)

2 years license suspension; $250 fine (however, defendants who install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle may be eligible for a restricted license that allows for driving to/from work/school)

2 years license suspension; $250 fine (however, defendants who install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle may be eligible for a restricted license that allows for driving to/from work/school)

Once you refuse to take a test, you face the penalties explained in the paragraph above. If it is your first refusal, your license will be suspended for one year. If it is your second refusal within ten years, then your license will be suspended for two years.  

If you decide to request a hearing then it is up to you – or your lawyer if you have a lawyer represent you – to explain to the court why you refused the test. Unless you can prove either that the officer did not have probable cause to stop you and ask you to take a chemical test in the first place or that the officer violated your civil rights, the court will suspend your license right then and fine you.    

The penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test are found in Idaho Code 18-8002.

Should You Refuse to Take a Mandatory DUI Test in Idaho?

It usually does not help you to refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test when you are arrested for a DUI. In Idaho, the consequences for refusal are milder than those for a DUI, which include jail time and fines up to $1,000. Refusing the test does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted – you can still be found guilty of a DUI even if your refusal means that the state does not have proof that your BAC was over.08%, the legal limit for those over 21. In fact, the prosecution can use your refusal against you by arguing that you refused the test because you knew that you were intoxicated and guilty of DUI.

(Check out our blood alcohol content chart for an estimate of how many drinks it takes to get to the legal limit.)

Get Help With Your DUI

If you have been arrested on a DUI charge in Idaho or any other state, get help from an experienced DUI attorney. Unlike other traffic related charges, which might be worth fighting without a lawyer, conviction for a DUI has serious consequences – especially if the incident involved injury to people or property, or if it’s your second or subsequent DUI. To avoid or reduce the consequences, your best bet is to find an attorney who is knowledgeable about your state’s laws and about how the system works in your county’s court.

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