Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Idaho. Per Idaho Statutes § 18-8004, it is unlawful to be under the influence of any “intoxicating substances” or have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more while operating a motor vehicle. For drivers under 21, the legal limit is an alcohol concentration of 0.02, and for those with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), the limit is 0.04.
If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, you will be asked to take a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) test. If your BAC is 0.08 or more, 0.02 or more if you’re under 21, or 0.04 if you are driving for work, you will be subject to criminal penalties. Officers may also request additional tests or arrest you for other forms of obvious impairment.
Penalties for Refusing Field Sobriety Tests
Now that you know the legal alcohol limit in Idaho it is important to know other Idaho alcohol laws that could affect you if pulled over under suspicion of a DUI. For example, Idaho’s implied consent laws require all drivers in the state to cooperate with BAC testing.
If you refuse, your driver’s license will be taken away, along with your driving privileges, for 1 year. You will also be subject to a $250 civil penalty. After completing 45 days of suspension, you may request a restricted license.
Your first DUI offense in Idaho is considered a misdemeanor violation. A first offense DUI can land you up to 6 months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and a license suspension of 90 to 180 days. Generally, your license will be suspended for 30 days to start, and a court will review your case before adding 60 or more days to your suspension.
In some cases, the court will grant you a restricted license to travel to and from work and healthcare appointments. In many cases, drivers licenses are suspended for 90 days with additional days of suspension added.
If you drive under the influence twice within a 10-year period, you will be charged with another misdemeanor. A second DUI will require you to spend at least 10 days and up to 1 year in jail, pay up to $2,000 in fines, and face a mandatory 1-year license suspension without driving privileges of any kind. When your suspension ends, you will also have to outfit your vehicle with an ignition interlock device.
Driving under the influence 3 times within 10 years is a felony. You will have to spend 30 days in jail and could face a sentence of up to 5 years. Fines for a felony DUI can go up to $5,000 and your license could be suspended for up to 5 years. After 1 year, you may be able to request a restricted license to drive to and from work or for health reasons. Your third DUI offense will also require you to install an ignition interlock device when you regain your driving privileges.
BACs of .20 or more are considered excessive DUIs and come with enhanced penalties. If your breath exam reveals a BAC of .20 or higher, you will be charged with a misdemeanor, thrown in jail for at least 10 days and up to 1 year, and fined up to $2,000. You will also have your license and driving privileges suspended for 1 year. This is only for a first offense.
For a second offense within 5 years, you will be charged with a felony, jailed for 30 days, fined up to $5,000, and have your license and driving privileges suspended for at least 1 and up to 5 years. You can also face up to 5 years in the state penitentiary and will be required to install an ignition interlock device.
If you seriously injure or kill another person while driving under the influence, your jail time, fines, and driving suspension will be enhanced. For aggravated DUIs, you will serve a minimum of 30 days in jail and could face up to 15 years in prison.
Ignition Interlock Devices
In 2019, Idaho passed legislation to require ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenders in the state. A Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Interlock Device (BAAID) will prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has alcohol on their breath. Those convicted of DUIs will be responsible for installing and maintaining their own devices and covering all related costs.
Other consequences of a DUI may include:
- A permanent mark on your criminal record
- Potential for your DUI to be used as a prior conviction if you are tried for an offense in the future
- Required alcohol evaluation and recommendations
- Civil license suspensions (in addition to criminal penalties)
- Towing and impounding fees (your car will likely be towed at the time of arrest)
- High-risk insurance for at least 3 years
- Legal representation and court costs
- Civil lawsuit(s) against you.
The consequences of a DUI in Idaho are serious. If you are facing a DUI, you need serious legal representation. Fortunately, our attorneys at May, Rammell & Wells are experienced in this field of law and can help you pursue the best possible outcome in your case.