Idaho prohibits the possession, consumption, or operation of a vehicle while under the influence of illicit and recreational drugs. But even prescribed medication can lead to a DUI (driving under the influence) charge if it causes impairment. This article explains how certain intoxicating substances can lead to a DUI conviction as well as the associated penalties.
Idaho's DUI laws prohibit driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. A driver is considered under the influence if he or she is incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.
Impairment. Idaho prohibits impaired driving but does not have a per se limit for drug metabolites (similar to the .08% blood alcohol concentration limit). To get a drug DUI conviction, the state will generally need to prove the driver consumed some substance that impaired his or her ability to drive safely. Proof of impairment might include blood test results, expert testimony, and the observations of the arresting officers.
Intoxicating substances. While most street drugs are capable of causing impairment, an Idaho DUI is not limited to certain types of drugs. Instead, any intoxicating substance—including recreational drugs or prescription medications—can lead to a DUI conviction. The fact that a driver has a valid prescription for the consumed medication is not a legal defense to an impaired driving charge.
A drugged driving conviction will generally be a misdemeanor and the penalties are nearly identical as those for drunk driving.
First offense. A first drugged driving conviction will result in ten days to six months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and 90 to 210 days of license suspension. Following license reinstatement, the driver must have an ignition interlock device (IID) for one year.
Second offense. A second drugged driving conviction will result in ten days to one year in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, and a license suspension of at least one year (followed by one year with an IID).
Drug court. A driver may be eligible for reduced penalties by participating in a diversion or the state's drug court program. This program involves increased supervision and sobriety checks but fewer penalties. Program participants can also obtain a restricted license for driving during the suspension period.
At the time of arrest, the officer will likely request the driver submit to a chemical test to determine the concentration of drugs in the driver's system. Under Idaho's implied consent laws, a test result that shows the presence of drugs will result in a one-year administrative driver's license suspension. Refusal to submit to the test is generally a violation of the state's implied consent law and will also result in administrative suspension.