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Can I Get Charged for a DUI Offense in Idaho if My Car Is Immobile?


Driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance is one of the most common offenses on the roadways in Idaho and the United States. It’s pretty common for a DUI offense to happen to a driver at some point in their life. It results in the arrest of those found to have exceeded the legal blood alcohol content (BAC). When arrested for DUI, it is vital to contact a Boise DUI attorney for legal advice.

Under Idaho law, a driver faces the risk of getting arrested and charged for a DUI offense if they operate a motor vehicle while impaired. But what happens if the person is intoxicated, sitting behind the wheel, but is immobile? Read on to find out the legal position.

What Amounts to DUI in Idaho? 

The Idaho Code Section 18-8004 provides what amounts to a DUI offense in the state. The law makes it illegal for anyone who is 18-year-old and above to drive a car while having a BAC level of .08% and above or under the influence of drugs or other intoxicating substances.

It specifies that such a person should not be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on any of Idaho’s roadways or public or private property open to the public. There are two things to note here:

  1. An intoxicated person must not have physical control of a car, and legal scholars have interpreted this to mean being in control of the steering wheel or sitting in the driver’s seat.
  2. An intoxicated person should not physically control a car on a highway, public, or private property. The preceding means any part of a roadway, whether paved or unpaved, or in the slow lane, while a public place refers to the parking lot of malls, retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, and other commercial areas, or a park.

Being in control of a car in any of these places while inebriated automatically qualifies you to get arrested for a DUI, and if charged and convicted, you’ll face severe consequences. If you find yourself in this situation, contact a Boise DUI lawyer for representation.

Will You Get Arrested If You’re Sitting in an Immobile Car Intoxicated? 

The Idaho Code does not “Literally” state what will happen to an intoxicated person in an immobile vehicle. However, sub-section 5 of Section 18-8004 defines actual physical control as being in the driver’s position of a motor vehicle with the motor running or with the vehicle moving.

A clear understanding of the first part of that subsection means that if you are sitting in a vehicle with the key in the ignition, and the engine running, you will get arrested for a DUI offense. Note that this differs from other jurisdictions where the only factor the police will consider is that you are in the driver’s seat intoxicated even if the car is not running.

For a person arrested for sitting in an immobile car while intoxicated to get convicted of a DUI offense, the prosecution must convince the court of the following:

  1. The driver was inside the car while intoxicated. It’s all about location; if the driver were outside the vehicle, it would be hard to convince the court of their likelihood of starting the car. But if the person is in the driver’s seat, it increases the chance they will drive in that state.
  2. The driver parked the car on a highway, public space, or private property. If the police find you in any of the preceding, it brings up the presumption that you were driving before they arrived or about to put the car in motion.
  3. The key was in the ignition. Once there is proof of this, the chances of the court convicting you is high, but if the key is not in the ignition, you stand the likelihood of an acquittal even if the first two factors are present.
  4. The car engine was running. This is one of the most crucial factors in getting convicted for a DUI offense. If the prosecutor combines this factor with the first three, your chances of convincing the court that you would not have put the vehicle in motion drastically reduces.

Were You Arrested for a DUI Offense? Contact a DUI Attorney in Boise!

Sitting in your car while intoxicated with the engine running will get you in trouble with the law, and you will need the assistance of a DUI lawyer in Boise. The consequences of a DUI conviction are severe and far-reaching, with the potential to affect not only your personal life but your career opportunities. Our lawyers will ensure the preceding doesn’t happen to you; schedule a free consultation with us today.