What is a DUI in Idaho?
A DUI in Idaho refers to the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. All states in the US have a blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for drivers. Driving with a BAC of 0.08% (or a BAC of 0.02% or more for motorists under 21) is illegal in Idaho. According to the provisions of Idaho's DUI laws, Idaho DUI offenders may be sentenced to jail or asked to pay a fine by the courts.
Motorists can be charged with aggravated DUI in Idaho if they cause bodily harm or the death of another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Aggravated DUIs are punishable by a fine, jail term, and license suspension, as stated in Idaho Code 18-8006. Records of DUI offenses are usually included in Idaho criminal records, depending on the nature and severity of the offense.
What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in Idaho?
Although the terms DUI and DWI both refer to drunk driving offenses, DUI stands for "Driving Under the Influence," while DWI means "Driving While Intoxicated". In some states, these terms are often used interchangeably. However, in Idaho, the term DUI is more frequently used than DWI.
The official term used to describe the crime of drinking and driving in Idaho is "DUI or Driving Under the Influence".
Idaho DUI Laws
Every year, over 10,000 motorists are arrested for DUI in Idaho. Idaho Law enforcement agents in the state are trained to detect and apprehend drivers operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Impaired drivers are typically spotted by their wide turns, swerving, abrupt stopping without cause, slow response to traffic lights, crossing lanes, etc. When convinced that a driver is impaired by alcohol, the police will ask the motorist to take a BAC or field sobriety test.
Idaho Code 18-8004 contains Idaho's DUI laws. According to the law:
- Anyone with an alcohol blood concentration of 0.08 or under the influence of alcohol or any other kind of intoxicating substance should not drive or be in actual control of a motor vehicle in Idaho.
- It is unlawful to operate a commercial vehicle in Idaho while under the influence of intoxicating substances or with an alcohol concentration between 0.04 and 0.08.
- Persons under 21 may not drive or operate a motor vehicle if they have an alcohol concentration between 0.02 and 0.08.
The Idaho Transportation Department's (ITD) Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Idaho courts prosecute and penalize DUI offenders. The DMV and the court judges have the authority to suspend, revoke, or disqualify an offender's driving privilege. The courts also impose criminal penalties on those found guilty of drinking and driving.
DUI Penalties in Idaho
DUI penalties in Idaho primarily depend on the nature of the offense, the offender's prior DUI offenses, and the severity of damage or injury caused. The state of Idaho issues severe punishments to repeat offenders and those who cause bodily harm, permanent disability, or the death of another person.
Generally, Idaho DUI penalties include jail time, fines, suspension of driver's license or privileges, and more. However, when the DUI involves death or bodily injury (also known as aggravating factors), the offender will face more severe punishments than other DUI offenders.
According to Idaho Code 18-8006, an aggravated DUI offense may result in:
- A prison term for up to fifteen years
- A maximum fine of $5,000
- Submission of driver's license or permit to the court
- Suspension of driving privileges for a mandatory minimum of a year after the jail term; the court may further suspend a person's driving privileges for up to five years.
- Payment of restitution according to Idaho Code 19-5304.
What Happens When You Get a DWI in Idaho?
Idaho treats a DWI and a DUI in the same manner. The state does not have different laws for DWI. Therefore, anyone found guilty of a DWI in Idaho will be penalized as a DUI offender. They will face the same jail term or fines, similar to a DUI conviction.
What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in Idaho?
Persons who are considered first-time DUI offenders in Idaho are those who have not been charged with a DUI in the ten years prior. Under Idaho law, a first DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor. However, offenders may suffer license suspensions, jail terms, and fines.
Idaho Code 18-8005 highlights the possible penalties for a first DUI offender:
- A jail term not exceeding six months
- A fine not exceeding $1,000
- Mandatory suspension of driving privileges for thirty days; In this time, the offender will not be granted any driving privileges. Once the compulsory suspension period elapses, the court will suspend the person's driving privileges again for at least 60 days but not more than 150 days. During this period, the defendant may request restricted driving privileges. The court may permit the request if the person needs to drive for health, job, or family reasons.
- Except in the circumstances specified by Idaho Code 18-8002 (12), the court shall order a state-approved ignition interlock system to be installed on all motor vehicles the offender operates. The installation must be completed within ten days of the mandatory license suspension period. The ignition interlock device will remain installed on all the vehicles the offender operates for a year, beginning from the end of the license suspension period. If the court is convinced that the offender is not financially capable of funding the interlock device, financial support can be provided from the court's interlock device and electronic monitoring device fund.
Additionally, the court will issue written advice on the possible penalties for subsequent violations. The offender will receive and sign the advice at the time of the sentencing. The court, along with the prosecuting attorney, will retain a copy.
What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in Idaho?
A second DUI offender in Idaho is a motorist who has been previously convicted of a DUI within the last ten years. After being convicted of a second DUI in Idaho, a person will face more severe punishments under the Idaho Code:
- A minimum mandatory jail term of ten days, where the first two days must be consecutive and five days must be served in jail as a prerequisite under 23 USC 164. In addition, the DUI offender may be sentenced to prison for not more than one year. Meanwhile, the sentencing judge may assign the offender to a work detail program overseen by the county sheriff while the offender serves the jail term.
- A fine of $2,000 or less
- Submission of driver's license or permit to the court
- After serving the jail term, the court will suspend the offender's driving privileges for a year, during which the person will have no other driving privileges.
- When the one-year mandatory license suspension expires, the offender can only operate a motor vehicle installed with an ignition interlock system.
Furthermore, the court will advise the offender of the penalties for subsequent violations during sentencing. The defendant will sign the written advice while the court and the prosecuting attorney will retain a copy each.
What Happens After a Third DUI in Idaho?
A third DUI in Idaho occurs if a person has been previously found guilty of a DUI two or more times within the last ten years. Idaho has harsher penalties for third DUI offenders, as a third offense is a felony that attracts:
- A prison term of thirty days to ten years
- A fine of not more than $5,000
- Submission of driver's license or permit to the court
- After one year of serving the jail term, the court will suspend the offender's driving privileges. The court may also suspend the driving privilege for not more than four years. During the extended suspension period, the offender may request restricted driving privileges, which may be permitted only if the court is convinced that it is necessary for the defendant's employment or family health needs.
- Installation of an ignition interlock system after the compulsory one-year license suspension
Idaho also imposes stiffer penalties for DUIs involving BACs of .20 or more. In this case, a first offense is a misdemeanor violation and attracts a mandatory jail period of ten days to a year. Also, the offender will be asked to pay a fine of not more than $2,000. Additionally, a DUI offense with .20 or more BAC will result in a driver's license suspension for a year after serving the jail sentence, and no driving privileges will be given to the offender during the suspension period.
For a second DUI offense with a BAC level of .20% or greater, a person commits a felony. As such, the offender will be jailed for a mandatory minimum of 30 days but not more than five years in state prison. Also, such offenders are required to pay a fine of $5,000 or less. In addition, the court will order that an ignition interlock be installed on any vehicle that the offender operates.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Idaho?
In Idaho, a DUI offense remains on an offender's record for ten years without any provision for removal or expungement. Employers, insurers, and other interested parties may look up the record during these ten years. If the offender does not commit another DUI offense in those ten years, there are provisions to get the DUI expunged or sealed.
DUI Expungement in Idaho
DUI expungement in Idaho is the restriction or removal of an individual's DUI records. However, one must meet the criteria to expunge a DUI record in Idaho. Per Idaho Code 67-3004 (10), the eligibility requirements for DUI expungement in Idaho include:
- The offender was not charged by indictment or information within one year of a previous arrest or summons.
- The offender was acquitted of all criminal charges, or the case was dismissed.
In addition to having the DUI expunged, the court will also seal all official files.
A motorist who meets the criteria for expungement may complete an Expungement Application. The applicant is required to attach copies of certain documents, such as:
- Criminal citation, criminal complaint, summons, and indictment.
- A certified copy of the offender's acquittal or case dismissal court order.
Applicants who fail to complete the application form or attach the required documents will have their application returned or not processed.
All applications must be mailed to:
Idaho State Police
700 South Stratford Drive
Meridian, ID 83642
Fax: (208) 884-7193
An expunged DUI conviction eliminates the challenges of getting employment or insurance due to previous drunk driving offenses. Another way to avoid DUI records in Idaho is to request a "withheld judgment". Upon pleading guilty for driving under the influence of alcohol, the offender may ask the court for a withheld judgment, which means that the court will not enter a judgment of conviction against the person. Although such offenders will still be liable to the penalties, the person may ask to have the case dismissed after completing the court-ordered penalties.
Even if Idaho courts do not grant the offender a withheld judgment, a DUI offender may have the case dismissed under Idaho Code 19-2604.
How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Idaho?
A first DUI in Idaho is not likely to result in a jail term. Idaho views a first DUI as a misdemeanor, and judges tend to handle this case type with leniency. However, if jail becomes a possibility, a first DUI offender in Idaho may face up to six months imprisonment.
Furthermore, if the motorist had a BAC level of .20% or more, such a person may face ten days to one year in jail.
What is the Average Cost of DUI in Idaho?
Being charged with a DUI in Idaho is costly, and an accused may spend up to $15,000 or more during the process.
The major expense, in this case, is the attorney's fees, which vary by attorney and the severity of the offense. For instance, a private DUI attorney in Idaho may charge between $2,000 and $10,000, another may charge a retainer fee, and others may charge a flat fee.
All DUI offenders are required to pay fines. The amount depends on the severity of the offense. Depending on the judge, a first-time offender may be asked to pay a fine of up to $1,000. On the other hand, a second DUI offender in Idaho may pay up to $2,000 in fines, and a third-time offender may be liable to a fine of up to $5,000.
Furthermore, the Idaho Transportation Department will demand that a DUI offender provides SR22 insurance, which the offender must maintain for a minimum of three years after the arrest. Depending on the city of residence, SR22 costs between $10 and $25 monthly.
Additionally, the offender will need to pay a reinstatement fee to get one's driver's license back, which costs about $285. The offender will also have to bear the cost of installing an ignition interlock device for second and subsequent offenses. Generally, installing the device through an approved provider costs about $50 to $150. Apart from the installation cost, the usage costs are about $90 monthly.
The court will also order an offender to partake in alcohol-drug evaluation offered by a DUI evaluation provider. Finally, there will be medical expenses to bear if a person is injured due to the DUI offense.
How Much is Bail for a DUI in Idaho?
Mostly, the bail for DUI cases in Idaho is set at $500. Should the accused be unable to afford the bail, the person can borrow from a bail bondsman. A typical bondsman charges 10% of the bail amount plus posting fees.
Furthermore, Idaho has scheduled bail bonds for DUI arrests. The bail bonds are assessed by severity of the offense and if the offender is a resident or non-resident of the state. The bail bond for a first DUI for an Idaho resident is $500, while a non-resident pays $2,000. In contrast, a second or aggravated DUI offender who resides in Idaho pays $1,000, while a non-resident pays $3,000.
How to Get My License Back After a DUI in Idaho?
In Idaho, law enforcement officers have the right to seize the driver's license of a motorist who refuses to take a BAC test or is arrested for a DUI. A person who refuses a BAC test will have their license suspended for a year, while a DUI offender's license can be suspended for up to 4 years. When the suspension period is over, the offender will receive a Notice of Restoration from the Idaho Transportation Department. The notice will provide details on how to get the license back.
Idaho Code 49-328 explains the process of getting one's license back after a DUI. The person will fill out a Reinstatement Application and pay the reinstatement fee. The application should be mailed to:
P.O. Box 34
Boise ID 83707
Additionally, DUI offenders must present proof of financial responsibility for three years, beginning from the day of license suspension.
How Does a DUI Affect Your Life in Idaho?
Insurance companies label customers with DUIs as "high-risk". As a result, a company may raise a person's insurance premium upon a DUI conviction. At worst, the insurance company will terminate the customer's policy.
Another way a DUI can affect one's life in Idaho is employment. Since background checks display DUI convictions, an employer may be discouraged from hiring DUI offenders.
Furthermore, a convicted motorist may be denied professional licenses after being found guilty of a DUI in Idaho.
Can You Get Fired for a DUI in Idaho?
Yes, a person can get fired after being charged with a DUI in Idaho. Several companies have policies that demand the termination of any employee who gets convicted.
Apart from the policies, a DUI is the end of the road for someone whose job is driving-related, such as a school bus driver. Since Idaho is a "work at-will state," either the employers or the employees may decide to end the employment relationship at any time without prior notice. As such, an offender with a driving job will most likely get fired since the person's license will be suspended.
How Do I Find DUI Checkpoints in Idaho?
Sobriety or DUI checkpoints are locations where law enforcement agents place roadblocks to check motorists driving under the influence of alcohol. However, DUI checkpoints are not legal in Idaho. According to state law, these checkpoints constitute unlawful searches and seizures, thereby violating the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.
Which is Worse, DUI vs. DWI?
The terms DUI and DWI are both drunk driving offenses. Some states adopt the term DUI, while others use the DWI term. In states where both terms are used, DWIs usually attract more severe penalties compared to DUI. However, Idaho does differentiate between the two, and DUI is the only legal term recognized in the state.