Idaho DUI Laws & Penalties

It is best not to drive if you’ve had some drinks, consumed drugs or some other substances that impair driving abilities. The alcohol in your blood affects your vision, your judgment abilities, mood, balance, the ability to react quickly, and other abilities. In the same time, it makes you a danger for other people on the road.

The Idaho laws aim to protect all the people on the roads, therefore they don’t want you there drunk. Vehicle accidents are regular around the state, so the authorities are rigorous in the fight against it. One of the tools to prevent it from happening in the first place is the DUI law. It defines what is considered a driving under influence and prescribes penalties for each offense.

Every year more than 10000 drivers are getting caught while driving under influence on Idaho roads. The law enforcement officers are trained to determine if any driver has been drinking before taking control over the wheel. Some of the signs showing that the car should be pulled over for a testing the driver include reckless speeding, abrupt movements, erratic driving, and others.

 

What is an Idaho DUI Offense?

The State of Idaho considers that you drive under influence if your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is as follows:

  • 0.02% for drivers under 21 of age.
  • 0.04% for commercial drivers.
  • 0.08% for all other drivers.
  • 0.20% is an excessive BAC and leads to harsher penalties.

You can be charged with DUI in Idaho even if you are not under influence of alcohol as long as you are in one of the following situations:

  • If you are under influence of any substance other than alcohol, you will be charged with DUI even if your BAC is under 0.08%.
  • If any person in the vehicle has an open container filled with alcohol. It doesn’t matter whether the driver or someone else drinks from it. As long as it sits open in the car, it is a DUI offense. The only exception from this rule are limousines and RV vehicles’ areas for living.

Also, do not assume that if you do not test for BAC you won’t be punished. The Idaho DUI laws have implemented the implied consent doctrine, which means that by engaging in driving you have expressed your consent to be tested upon request of a police officer. If you refuse to do it, you’ll also get punished. Moreover, the punishments will be heavier than if you submitted to testing.

What are the Penalties for an Idaho DUI offense?

The DUI laws of the State of Idaho, as the laws of any other US state, provide different penalties depending on the previous driving behavior of the offender. It doesn’t penalize the same drivers who do a mistake for the first time in their lives and those who drive under influence regularly.

The laws punish harder the drivers who haven’t learnt the lesson the previous time. The more times they get caught driving with a high BAC, the harder the consequences.

The laws provide a “washout” period of 10 years. It means that only the DUI offenses done in a ten-year period are considered to be subsequent. If your second DUI comes in six years after your first one, then it is a second DUI offense. But, if your second DUI has occurred in 12 years after your first one, it will be considered to be your first DUI again because the first one has been “washed out” after the expiry of the 10-year wash-out period.

If you have been charged with DUI in Idaho, depending on what subsequent offenses you have committed, you can expect penalties as follows.

First DUI Offense in Idaho

Your first Idaho DUI offense is a misdemeanor. It is punishable with the following punishments:

  • Jail of up to 6 months.
  • Fines of up to $1000.
  • Driving license suspension of 90 to 180 days.
  • A possible ignition interlock device installing for up to one year.
  • A SR-22 insurance for at least 3 years.
  • Alcohol and drugs evaluation and rehabilitation.
  • DUI classes.

First-time offenders may get a restricted driving license after 30 days of suspension. They can use it only to drive to work to the hospital, to school, and similar places.


dui laws and penalties in idaho

Second DUI Offense in Idaho

The second DUI offense within 10 years in Idaho is a misdemeanor. Second-time offenders will be punished as follows:

  • Jail of up to one year with mandatory serving 10 days in jail.
  • Fines of up to $2000.
  • A mandatory driving license suspension of one year after confinement with no driving privileges of any kind.
  • A mandatory installing of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least one year.
  • A SR-22 insurance for at least 3 years.
  • Alcohol and drugs evaluation and rehabilitation.
  • DUI classes.

Second-time offenders can get a restricted driving license after 45 day of suspension if they prove improvement with a state substance abuse program.

Third DUI Offense in Idaho

The third DUI offense with the 10-year washout period is a felony. That means harsher penalties as follows:

  • Jail of up to 5 years with 30 days of mandatory serving in jail.
  • Fines of up to $5000.
  • Driving license suspension of up to 5 years with one year mandatory suspension after confinement with no driving privileges of any kind.
  • A mandatory installing of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least one year.
  •  A SR-22 insurance for at least 3 years.
  •  Alcohol and drugs evaluation and rehabilitation.
  •  DUI classes.

Third-time offenders may get a restricted driving license for work-related and health-related travel after 45 days of suspension if they demonstrate good standing with a an alcohol and drugs abuse program.

Enhanced Penalties for an Excessive DUI in Idaho

If your BAC level was 0.20% or higher, then you have committed an excessive DUI. Such a BAC level is too high, therefore the state provides harsher penalties.

The First DUI offense with BAC 0.20% is a misdemeanor violation punishable with:

  • Mandatory jail time of 10 days to up to one year.
  •  Fines of up to $2000.
  •  One-year mandatory driving license suspension after confinement with no driving privileges whatsoever.

The second DUI excessive offense with BAC of 0.20% or higher is a felony violation and brings the following penalties:

  • At least 30 days in county jail or up to 5 years in a state prison.
  • Up to $5000 in fines.
  • Up to 5 years of driving license suspension with one year of mandatory suspension after confinement with no driving privileges of any kind.
  • Mandatory installing of an ignition interlock device.

The penalties that are not enhanced by the higher BAC remain the same.

DUI Penalties for Drivers Under 21 Years Old in Idaho

Inexperienced drivers are treated differently than others by the Idaho DUI laws. The state wants to prevent such a behavior.

The first DUI offense of a driver under 21 years of age is punishable by:

  • A fine of up to $1000.
  •  A driving license suspension of up to one year with 90 days of mandatory suspension.
  •  An alcohol evaluation.

The second one is punishable by:

  • A fine of $500 to $2000.
  • A driving license suspension of up to two years with one year of mandatory suspension.
  • An alcohol evaluation.
  • Mandatory installing of an ignition interlock device.

The third DUI offense of a driver under 21 years of age is punishable by:

  • Jail time of 10 days to 6 months.
  • A fine of up to $1000 to $2000.
  • A driving license suspension greater than one year until reaching the age of 21.
  • An alcohol evaluation.
  • Mandatory installing of an ignition interlock device.

DUI Penalties for Commercial Drivers in Idaho

Commercial drivers shall behave more responsibly than other drivers on the road. Some of them are driving other people in their vehicles and should take a good care of their safety. The Idaho DUI laws try to prevent commercial drivers’ recklessness by lowering the BAC threshold at 0.04% and enacting more severe penalties for them.

In addition to the other penalties, they will be prohibited from driving any commercial vehicle for at least one year. If they were driving hazardous materials while committing the DUI, the ban will last for at least three years. If they commit a second DUI while driving any vehicle, they will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life without a possibility for reducing in the first 10 years.

Penalties for an Aggravated DUI Offense in Idaho

An aggravated DUI is an offense when a driver causes bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or a permanent disability to someone else due to DUI. In that case, the offender faces up:

  • A prison time of up to 15 years.
  • A fine of up to $5000.
  • A driving license suspension of one to five years upon confinement.

DUI Penalties for Refusing to Submit to Chemical Test

Some drivers assume that avoiding all these penalties is possible by simply not submitting to a chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, blood test, or a urine test. However, that is not true. Refusing a test won’t save you from penalties, but will cause harsher ones.

The first DUI offense due to test refusal means a fine of $250 and a license suspension of at least one year. The second and third refusal will cause a suspension of your license for two years and a fine of $250.

How to Reinstate Your Driving License in Idaho?

Reinstating your driving license depends on whether you have met all the requirements set by the court in your specific case. If you have met them already, reach out to the DMV and:

  • Fill out the Reinstatement application.
  •  Pay the reinstatement fee, which could be anything between $25 and $285.
  •  Present a proof of financial responsibility, such as SR22 insurance for at least three years.