Idaho Drunk Driving Laws
Drunk driving includes driving under the influence (DUI) of any intoxicating substance which can be alcohol or various types of drugs. In Idaho, the punishment for drunk driving may vary depending on the number of offenses, as stated in section § 18-8004 of the Idaho Code. Let us see the provisions of the Idaho drunk driving laws in detail.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits
BAC is the main determining factor for conviction in DUI laws. In general, a BAC above 0.08 qualifies as drunk driving. For drivers of commercial vehicles, the BAC limit is set at 0.04 and for drivers below the age of 21 years, the BAC limit is 0.02. The BAC level can be found by testing the driver’s breath, blood or urine.
Implied Consent for Test
The Idaho Drunk Driving Law includes ‘implied consent’ which means that, if pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the driver has to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test to check for drugs and alcohol level when asked to do so by the arresting officer. If you refuse to take the test, you will attract a $250 fine and have your license suspended. The license suspension lasts for 1 year for the first offense while for the second and subsequent offenses, your license will be suspended for 2 years.
Punishment for Drunk Driving in Idaho
The Drunk Driving Laws in Idaho provide for different punishments depending on the number of convictions, the age of the driver, as well as the BAC level. In addition to fines, license suspension and possible jail time, the DUI laws in Idaho have recently been amended and now require that even first-time offenders install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle at their own expense.
First DUI Offense
- Above 21 years: If convicted for drunk driving for the first time, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and your license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days up to 180 days. A first time offender may also be fined up to $1000 and maybe imprisoned for up to 6 months.
- Below 21 years: First time DUI offenders under 21 will have their license suspended for 1 year and may be fined up to $1000.
Second DUI Offense
- Above 21 years: The second drunk driving conviction is also a misdemeanor charge but with greater penalties. This time, you will be imprisoned for a minimum of 10 days, with jail time not exceeding 1 year. Your license will be suspended for a year after you’ve been released from prison. The court may also impose a fine of up to $2000.
- Below 21 years: Drivers under 21 will have their license suspended for 1 year up to 2 years and will have to pay a $500 to $2000 fine. The minimum jail time for second-time offenders is 5 days which can extend to 30 days.
Third DUI Offense
- Above 21 years: The third time you are convicted for drunk driving in Idaho, you will be facing a felony charge. This means a minimum jail sentence of 30 days up to a maximum of 5 years. Third-time offenders will also have their license suspended for 1 year up to 5 years and may face a fine up to $5000.
- Below 21 years: Third time DUI offenders under 21 will have their license suspended for 1 year or until they turn 21, whichever is earlier. They will also need to pay a fine of $1000, with the maximum fine being $2000. For a third offense, the minimum jail time to be served is 10 days up to a maximum of 6 months.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence and you’ve caused an accident that harmed another person, this is a more serious charge known as aggravated DUI. In Idaho, this is a Felony offense under the drunk driving law which can result in a prison sentence up to 15 years. The court may also impose a fine of up to $5000 along with compensation for the victims. After being released from prison, your license is suspended for a minimum of 1 year up to 5 years.
Penalties for Excessive Alcohol Concentration
If your BAC is found to be over 0.20, you will face increased penalties.
- First Offense: First-time offenders get a Misdemeanor charge with minimum jail time of 10 days up to 1 year. You may also be fined up to $2000 and have your license suspended for a year.
- Second Offense: The second such offense is a Felony with imprisonment up to 5 years and license suspension for 1 to 5 years. You may also be fined up to $5000.
A drunk driving conviction can result in a permanent criminal record. While it is best not to drink and drive, if faced with a DUI charge, you should consult with a qualified defense attorney to weigh your options.
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