The Idaho DUI Guide

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ALS Hearings




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I just got arrested for a State of Idaho DUI offense.  What happens now?


ISSUE ONE:  The Idaho Implied Consent Proceeding:  The most pressing matter may be requesting an appeal / hearing of your implied consent suspension.  Your Idaho license (or your right to drive in Idaho if you're not a Idaho license driver) was most likely suspended for anywhere from one to two years for refusing a breath test.  See Idaho Code 18-8002.  Read your implied consent paperwork carefully.  You have only a short time (generally seven days) to request a hearing to request an administrative hearing to challenge the implied consent suspension.  This hearing is sometimes referred to as an ALS Hearing.



ISSUE TWO:  The Idaho Criminal Case:  Separate from the implied consent suspension is the criminal charge for DUI.  Idaho Code 18-8004.  Under Idaho law, it is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicating substances, or any combination of alcohol, drugs and/or any other intoxicating substances, or who has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more, as shown by analysis of his blood, urine, or breath, to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within this state, whether upon a highway, street or bridge, or upon public or private property open to the public.  "Actual physical control" means being in the driver's position of the motor vehicle with the motor running or with the motor vehicle moving.


Important:  The implied consent proceeding and the criminal case (DUI charge) are completely separate from one another. 


Will my Idaho driver license be revoked / suspended?


RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE:  Your Idaho driver license (or your right to drive in Idaho if you do not have a valid Idaho license) may be suspended for failing a breath or blood test or for refusing a breath, or blood test.  If you act within seven days of your arrest you can request an appeal of the proposed suspension by the DMV for failing or refusing the test.  An administrative hearing will then be scheduled on your appeal request.  The implied consent suspension generally starts 30 days after your arrest.



RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE:  If you are convicted of the DUI charge, you will also lose your license for a time (or your right to drive in Idaho if you don't have a valid Idaho license).  This suspension is separate and distinct from the suspension for failing / refusing a breath test.  However, to the extent these suspensions overlap, they generally run concurrently.  Talk to your Idaho DUI lawyer for possible suspension lengths for your situation.



Also keep in mind that your license can be suspended for a variety of other reasons.


I have an Idaho commercial driver license (CDL).  What happens to my CDL?


An Idaho DUI conviction results in a one year suspension of your commercial driver license regardless of whether you were driving commercially at the time of the offense.  [If you were driving hazardous materials at the time of your DUI arrest a conviction will result in a three year CDL suspension.]  A second DUI conviction will result in a permanent revocation of your Idaho CDL.


Similarly, a breath test refusal will result in a one year CDL suspension.  A second refusal can result in a lifetime revocation of your CDL.


What happens if I get caught driving while my license is suspended / revoked?


Driving without privileges (suspended / revoked) should be avoided as it is a new misdemeanor crime.  Penalties include jail time, a fine, and an additional license suspension. These penalties increase if you have prior convictions for driving without privileges.  See Idaho Code 18-8001.


I really need to drive.  Will I be able to get a restricted / occupational / conditional / probationary permit?


A temporary restricted license may be available to you if your license is suspended and you had a valid Idaho Driver License at the time of your suspension.  The temporary restricted license typically allows you to drive to and from work and on the job and to medical appointments. 


Generally, no restricted license is available to you if your license was suspended for refusing a breath test or if you failed a breath test and have a prior implied consent suspension within the past five years.  Also, restricted licenses are generally unavailable to persons with a prior DUI conviction within the past 10 years.  Speak to your Idaho DUI lawyer about whether you qualify and how to apply for this restricted license.


The State of Idaho does not issue restricted CDL permits. 


There is usually at least a 30 day waiting period required before you can become eligible for a temporary restricted license.


What is the difference between a DUI, DWI, OWI, DWAI, OUI, OUIL, DWUI etc.?


These terms are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly known as "drunk driving."  Different states have different names for the crime.  For example, in Texas the charge is known as DWI (driving while intoxicated).  Oregon uses the term DUII (driving under the influence of an intoxicant).


Idaho law generally uses the term "driving under the influence" or DUI. 


Is a DUI in Idaho a misdemeanor or felony charge?


In Idaho, a DUI charge is a usually a misdemeanor crime.  However, if you have a prior offense within the past 10 years the charge may be classified as a felony.  Refer to the table below.  Aggravated DUI (causing significant injury to another) is also a felony offense regardless of prior history.


What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of an Idaho DUI charge?


Upon conviction of an Idaho DUI charge, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including alcohol screening / treatment / education.  A range of penalties is set forth below: 


First Idaho DUI - BAC < .20%
Idaho Code 18-8005

  • up to six months jail;
  • up to $1000 in fines;
  • 90 - 180 days Idaho license suspension.

First Idaho DUI - BAC .20% or greater
excessive alcohol concentration
Idaho Code 18-8004C

  • 10 - 365 days jail;
  • up to $2000 in fines;
  • one year Idaho license suspension after release from confinement.
Second Idaho DUI - BAC < .20 %
second offense within past 10 years
  • 10 - 365 days jail;
  • up to $2000 in fines;
  • one year Idaho license suspension after release from confinement.

Second Idaho DUI - BAC .20% or greater
excessive alcohol concentration
Idaho Code 18-8004C

  • 30 days jail to five years prison;
  • up to $5000 in fines;
  • one to five year Idaho license suspension starting after release.
Third or greater Idaho DUI
third offense within past 10 years
  • 30 days to ten years jail / prison;
  • up to $5000 in fines;
  • one to five year Idaho license suspension starting after release.
Aggravated Idaho DUI
DUI while causing great bodily
harm, permanent disability / disfigurement to another person
Idaho Code 18-8006
  • 30 days jail to 15 years prison;
  • up to a $5000 fine;
  • one to five year Idaho license suspension starting after release.

Will my lawyer be able to plea bargain / negotiate my Idaho DUI charge down to a lesser offense?

Possibly.  Plea bargaining and charge reduction are two areas that any experienced Idaho DUI lawyer would discuss with the prosecutor on the client's behalf.  Often times your only option is to plead guilty to the charge or take your case to trial.

Will an Idaho DUI conviction go on "my driving record?"

Yes.  A DUI conviction will go on your Idaho driving record and will stay on your record forever.  The Idaho DMV will report a DUI conviction to your insurance company for three years.

Just how much jail / prison time will I have to do if I am convicted of a DUI in Idaho?

The amount of incarceration (jail or prison) received will depend on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the following:

•  your prior driving record especially your DUI history (including any DWI's / DUI's outside of Idaho);

•  your level of intoxication / BAC (a BAC of .20% or greater results in greater penalties by statute);

•  whether there was an collision involved;

•  whether there was an injury to another person in the collision;

•  which Idaho county or court your case is in;

•  what judge you are sentenced by;

•  whether there were passenger(s) / child(ren) in your car;

•  whether the sentencing judge feels you have accepted responsibility for your actions.


I am licensed to drive in a state other than Idaho and I was cited for a DUI in Idaho.  Will my driver license be suspended?

Idaho only has the authority to suspend your right to drive in the State of Idaho.  However, Idaho and 44 other states and Washington D.C. have adopted an agreement known as the "Driver License Compact."  Idaho will report an Idaho DUI conviction to the home state of the driver (assuming the home state has also adopted the Compact).  Your home state will then generally take action to suspend your license.

This also works in reverse.  If you are a Idaho licensed driver and you are convicted of a DUI / DWI / OUI charge in another state, Idaho will likely suspend your license if it learns of the conviction. 

Will I have to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device on my car?


A breath alcohol ignition interlock device is a breath alcohol measurement device that is connected to a motor vehicle ignition.  In order to start the motor vehicle, a driver must blow a breath sample into the device which then measures alcohol concentration.  If the alcohol concentration exceeds the startup set point on the interlock device, the motor vehicle will not start.


You will likely have to install an ignition interlock device in your car if you are convicted of a second or greater Idaho DUI offense. Talk to your lawyer about whether this requirement applies to your situation.

I'm not a United States citizen.  Will an Idaho DUI conviction result in my removal from this country?

Probably not.  Typical, first time Idaho DUI convictions are not considered crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies resulting in removal.  It is important to consult an experienced immigration lawyer about your situation just as you should consult with an experienced Idaho criminal defense lawyer about your pending DUI charge. 

Keep two points in mind.  First, it is very important to answer honestly all questions about prior arrests / convictions on immigration and Visa applications and forms.  Lying on these forms is often considered more serious than any Idaho DUI conviction.  Second, non-citizens must take extra care not to drive on a suspended or revoked license.

What happens if I was on probation when I got arrested for an Idaho DUI?

Committing a new offense while you're on probation for a previous crime creates two problems.  First, you face the new Idaho DUI charge.  Second, you face a probation violation hearing for failing to obey all laws (a standard condition of probation).  The most serious scenario is when you receive a new Idaho DUI offense when you're already on probation for a previous DUI offense.  When this happens, its in your best interest to speak to a Idaho DUI lawyer as soon as you can.

What will an Idaho DUI charge do to my insurability?

If your insurance company finds out about a Idaho DUI one of two things are likely to happen.  Either your Idaho insurer will raise your rates or you may be cancelled or non-renewed.  Your insurance company will absolutely learn of your DUI if you have to file an SR-22.

What is an SR-22 / Proof of Financial Responsibility?

An SR-22 is a form from an Idaho licensed insurance company certifying that you have purchased liability insurance that meets the minimum required coverage limits.  The SR-22 provides proof to the Idaho DMV that you are insured.  If you cancel your insurance or the insurance company cancels your policy before your suspension period is over, the company must notify DMV that the certificate is canceled. 

An SR-22 must be maintained for three years from the date you're eligible for reinstatement following an Idaho DUI conviction.

Are there special concerns for licensed pilots who get an Idaho DUI?


Yes.  The FAA has special reporting requirements for aviators facing certain Motor Vehicle Actions including Idaho DUI convictions and certain implied consent driver license suspensions.  Learn more here.

I missed my Idaho court appearance.  What do I do now?

Failing to appear (FTA) for court is to be avoided.  When you miss a court appearance, bad things follow.  At a minimum, the Idaho court typically issues a warrant for your arrest (known as a bench warrant).  Talk to an attorney as soon as possible.  Often, your only option is to turn yourself in on the outstanding warrant.  A new court date will then be scheduled.

If you live outside of Idaho and you're facing a misdemeanor DUI charge, you may be able to have a lawyer appear in your place for most court appearances assuming that you hire an attorney ahead of time.  This can be especially helpful if you're an out of state resident that received a DUI in Idaho.

Can I represent myself in court on my Idaho DUI and / or other criminal charge(s)?

Yes.  You have a constitutional right to represent yourself on any Idaho criminal charge no matter how serious including an Idaho DUI charge.  Keep in mind that Idaho DUI defense is a complex area of the law as shown by the information in this website.  If you cannot afford to hire your own lawyer, you absolutely should apply for court appointed counsel to represent you.  You have no right to court appointed counsel at the administrative appeal of the Idaho implied consent license proceeding.

Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013


Websites, including this one, provide general Idaho DUI information but do not provide legal advice or create a lawyer / client relationship.  General information cannot replace legal advice specific to your case, problem, or situation.  Consult qualified Idaho Drunk Driving attorneys for advice about any specific problem or Idaho DUI charge that you have.  Idaho attorneys are governed by the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct.  This website may be considered an advertisement for services under these Rules.  Information contained in this website is believed to be accurate but is not warranted or guaranteed in any way.  No lawyer associated with this website is specialized or certified in any way.


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Idaho DUI lawyers provide drunk driving and criminal defense assistance to the communities of:  Boise, Nampa, Meridian, Pocatello, Moscow, Rexberg, Twin Falls, Caldwell, Ada County, and Canyon County.  Idaho DUI attorneys may accept Visa, American Express, and MasterCard credit cards. 


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