Like in all states, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Idaho. Idaho has definitions and requirements that clarify when a person is considered to be under the influence. Idaho also expanded the definition of driving (for DUI convictions) to include any person in actual physical control of a vehicle.
This article explains what these terms and requirements mean and outlines the possible jail, fines, and license penalties of a DUI violation in Idaho.
To convict a driver of a DUI in court, prosecutors must prove the driver was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle:
In other words, a DUI conviction can be based on BAC or actual impairment.
Obviously, operating a moving vehicle satisfies the driving requirement of a DUI charge. But a DUI can also be based on having actual physical control of a vehicle. Idaho has defined actual physical control as being in the driver's position of the motor vehicle with the motor running or with the motor vehicle moving.
A driver can be convicted of DUI based on an unlawful BAC or actual impairment.
Unlawful BAC. A driver with a BAC of .08% or more can be convicted of a DUI (often called "per se" DUI). The prosecutor need not show proof of actual impairment to get a per se DUI conviction.
Impairment. Alternatively, a driver can be convicted of a DUI if the prosecutor proves that his or her ability to drive was noticeably impaired by drugs or alcohol. Generally, the prosecutor will use officer testimony to show that the driver showed signs of impairment like stumbling, swaying, and the like. Expert witnesses can also testify as to the effects of any drugs the driver may have consumed.
The penalties for a DUI conviction generally vary based on the driver's level of impairment and the number of prior convictions. However, only prior DUI convictions within the last ten years count.
Generally, a first or second DUI conviction will be charged as a misdemeanor, but a third offense in ten years will be charged as a felony.
The chart below outlines the range of jail time and fines for a first, second, and third DUI conviction in Idaho.
Up to 6 months
10 days to 1 year
30 days to 10 years
Up to $1,000
Up to $2,000
Up to $5,000
DUIs involving a BAC of .20% or more carry enhanced penalties.
A first DUI with a BAC of .20% or more will result in ten days to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
A second-offense excessive BAC DUI is a felony and carries 30 days to five years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
All persons convicted of driving under the influence must complete a drug and alcohol evaluation to assess possible substance dependency issues. The evaluator will submit an evaluation to the court along with recommendations for treatment or other rehabilitative programs. The court will generally use these recommendations in sentencing the driver and setting probation requirements.
An Idaho DUI conviction will generally result in the driver having to complete a period of supervised probation. Probation generally requires the offender to maintain employment, attend treatment, and avoid future criminal violations. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in probation revocation and jail time.
As explained above, a third-offense DUI and a second-offense excessive BAC DUI are both felonies. However, a DUI can also be a felony if it resulted in bodily harm.
Aggravated DUI. A DUI that involved great bodily harm or dismemberment (generally a permanent injury) can be charged as a felony. The offender will face one to 15 years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and a license suspension of one to five years.
Fatality DUI. A DUI that results in the death of another is considered vehicular manslaughter. A conviction carries up to $15,000 in fines, a maximum of 15 years in prison, and permanent license revocation.
Any subsequent DUI conviction within 15 years of a felony DUI will also be charged as a felony.
Getting caught driving under the influence will typically lead to license-related penalties. These penalties vary depending on the number of prior DUI-related incidents within the last ten years as well as the driver's cooperation with testing.
License-related penalties can result from a DUI arrest and/or conviction.
Idaho's "implied consent" law generally requires all drivers who are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence to submit to breath, blood, or urine testing when requested to do so by an officer A driver can refuse to submit to testing but doing so may result in other penalties or a warrant for a blood draw.
When a driver refuses to take a chemical test, the officer will seize the driver's license and send a report to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV will suspend the driver's license based on the number of prior offenses and send the driver a notice of suspension and impose a $250 fine. The driver's license will be suspended for:
In a criminal trial, prosecutors can use the fact that a driver refused testing to prove culpability.
A driver who submits to testing can also face license suspension depending on the test results. A test sample that shows a BAC of at least .08% or the presence of intoxicating drugs will be forwarded to the DMV.
The DMV reviews the results and will issue a 90-day suspension if the driver has no prior test failure occurrences in the last five years. If the driver does have a prior test failure within the last five years, the driver's license will be suspended for one year.
A test that shows unlawful alcohol or drug concentration can be used to charge the driver with DUI. Suspensions stemming from the same DUI occurrence will generally run together and not stack.
A driver convicted of a DUI will face license suspension. The suspension duration depends on the driver's BAC and the number of prior convictions.
After completing the suspension period, all drivers must install and maintain an ignition interlock device (IID) on all driven vehicles for one year after reinstatement. This device prevents the operation of the vehicle if the driver has any amount of alcohol on their breath.
Suspended drivers can apply for an IID restricted license after completing a minimum period of suspension (30 or 45 days, depending on the driver's record). A restricted license gives the motorist limited driving privileges.
Repeat offenders may be required to show completion or active participation in a substance abuse program in order to obtain a restricted license.
Drivers who cause serious injury or have repeatedly refused to submit to chemical testing are prohibited from obtaining a restricted license.
Drivers under the age of 21 years old are prohibited from having a BAC of .02% or more. The penalties for an underage DUI are less severe than those for a standard DUI.
First offense. A driver with no prior convictions will face fines of up to $1,000 and be required to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation and any recommended treatment. The driver's license will also be suspended for one year but a restricted license is available after 90 days.
Second offense. A second underage DUI conviction will result in 30 days to five years in jail, $500 to $2,000 in fines, and the requirement to complete a treatment program. The driver's license will also be suspended for one to two years and he or she must install an IID after reinstatement (for up to one year).
Third offense. A third or subsequent underage DUI conviction will result in 10 days to six months in jail, $1,000 to $2,000 in fines, license revocation until the driver reaches 21 years old (minimum one year), an IID restriction, and treatment requirements.
While the penalties for a DUI can be serious, having a qualified DUI attorney at your side can make a big difference. If you've been arrested for driving under the influence, it's a good idea to get in contact with an experienced DUI lawyer in your area.