In Idaho, the penalties you'll face for a DUI depend on a number of factors, including how many prior convictions you have. This article explains Idaho's DUI laws and the consequences of a first, second, and felony DUI conviction.
Idaho prohibits anyone from driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while:
The BAC threshold is reduced to .04% if the licensee is driving a commercial vehicle and .02% for drivers who are under 21 years old.
Commercial drivers may face more severe penalties than those listed below, while the penalties for an underage DUI (with a BAC of at least .02% but less than .08%) are generally less serious than those for a regular DUI.
A first DUI within 10 years is a misdemeanor and generally carries:
Although an excessive BAC (.20% or more) DUI carries enhanced penalties, for a first offense, it's still a misdemeanor.
A second DUI within 10 years is a misdemeanor and generally carries:
However, if the driver had a BAC of at least .20% and had a prior within the past five years, which also involved a BAC of .20% or more, a second offense is a felony. (The penalties for felony DUI convictions are discussed below.)
A number of different circumstances can elevate a DUI to a felony in Idaho. These circumstances include:
Causing the death of another person while driving under the influence can also lead to felony vehicular manslaughter charges.
Once an offender is convicted of a felony DUI, all future DUI convictions within 15 years will be considered felonies.
A felony DUI will generally carry a maximum of five to fifteen years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. For a felony DUI, the driver's license will be suspended for one to five years after release from jail.
An impaired driver can be charged with a felony DUI if he or she has two prior DUI convictions within the last ten years. Prior DUIs include diversions and out-of-state convictions. The maximum sentence for this type of felony DUI is ten years in prison and a maximum of $5,000 in fines.
And a second .20% BAC DUI within five years will be a felony. The offender will face up to five years in prison along with the standard fine of up to $5,000 and a one-to-five-year license suspension.
Finally, a DUI can be charged as a felony if someone suffered great bodily harm or disfigurement. Termed an "aggravated DUI," the offense carries the same penalties as a standard felony DUI, except the maximum prison time is 15 years.
A DUI violation that contributes to the death of another can be charged as vehicular manslaughter. Vehicular manslaughter is a felony and can be charged alongside a DUI with separate penalties. The penalties include up to $15,000 in fines (and up to $5,000 in civil fines) and a maximum of 15 years in prison. The court may also restrict, suspend, or revoke the driver's license for as long as it deems appropriate.
First-time offenders may be eligible for a restricted license after 30 days of suspension. This license requires an IID and is generally limited to health and work-related travel. Subsequent offenders may also petition the court for a restricted license after 45 days, but must also show active good standing with a state substance abuse program.
Anyone convicted of a DUI in Idaho must undergo an evaluation to determine what type of treatment, educational classes, or other programs might be necessary to address the driver's possible substance abuse issues. The evaluation will be considered by the court and the convicted driver must complete all court-ordered treatments.
Idaho's "implied consent" laws require all drivers lawfully arrested for a DUI to submit to a blood, urine, or breath test. Drivers who unlawfully refuse testing face a $250 fine, license suspension of one or two years, and an IID requirement of one year. Additionally, refusal of a requested chemical test may be used against the accused at trial as evidence of culpability.
Licensees suspended due to refusal may be eligible for a restricted license after 45 days of suspension.
A DUI conviction can lead to serious consequences. However, depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to avoid jail, reduce suspension periods, or plead to a lesser "wet reckless" charge. If you are charged with a DUI, it is best to consult with an expert DUI to understand your options.