Driving under the influence (DUI) is considered to be a serious offense in most states in the U.S. DUI poses risks not only for the driver in question, but also for other drivers on the road, passengers, and pedestrians. If you are charged with DUI in Boise, ID, you need to know that it is a serious charge and it can have long-term consequences for you, especially if you do not retain the services of an experienced Boise DUI lawyer. Having a DUI charge on your record can change everything and can negatively affect all aspects of your life, including your personal life, career, and driving record.
Since DUI is harshly treated in the legal system of Boise, Idaho, the entire process is serious and life-changing. If you have received a DUI charge, you should consult a DUI defense lawyer immediately to find out what your legal options are.
DUI Penalties in Boise, Idaho
In Boise, Idaho, you can be on the receiving end of a DUI arrest if any of the following conditions apply:
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.02% or more if you are under 21 years old.
- Your BAC is 0.04% or more if you are operating a commercial vehicle.
- Your BAC is 0.08% or more if you are over 21.
You should know that even if your BAC is less than 0.08%, should the police determine that you are under the influence of some drug or intoxicating substance, you can still be charged with DUI.
First DUI Offense
If this is your first DUI offense, you can face six months in jail, a fine of $1000 or both. You may also be required to get an alcohol evaluation. In addition, your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of 180 days. You will have zero driving rights for 30 days. You may be ordered to complete a probation for a year or more. The primary goal of this probation period is to ensure that you behave and stay out of trouble. You will also have to pay a driver’s license reinstatement fee.
Second DUI Offense
If you have a second DUI offense, your license will be suspended for a year. There is a mandatory jail sentence of 10 days to a year and fines up to $2000. You will also have to use a mandatory ignition interlock device.
Third DUI Offense
A third DUI offense will result in a mandatory license suspension of one year and mandatory jail time from 30 days to 10 years. Fines can go up to $5,000, and your license can be suspended for one to five years. You will be required to use a mandatory ignition interlock device, and you could have a felony conviction.
The penalties outlined above are imposed on drivers over the age of 21. For drivers under 21, a first DUI offense will result in a license suspension for a year and fines of $1000. Minors will lose their license until they turn 21.
How Do Breathalyzer Tests Work for Idaho DUI Defense Cases?
If a police officer stops you and if they suspect that you might be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can ask you to blow into a breathalyzer. Refusal to do so in Boise, Idaho, will result in a 365-day license suspension. That means your license will be suspended for a year simply because you refused to blow. It is thus generally recommended that you avoid this type of behavior because even if you do refuse, these officials can still prove a DUI case if other evidence of intoxication is present. This could include bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, impaired memory, and the biggest indicator – your driving behavior and pattern which in most cases is the reason why you are stopped in the first place. In short, even if you refuse to blow into the breathalyzer, the police officer can prove that you were not in physical control of the car and you are still going to have to face the consequences of a DUI charge.
It is also in your interest to agree to a breathalyzer because in Idaho if your BAC level is under 0.08, you will not get a DUI charge. So sometimes, refusing to cooperate can work against you because it might be possible that your test would show levels under 0.08. If the officials do not use the breathalyzer, they can use other indicators to assess your intoxication level and can still charge you with a DUI (even if in reality your BAC levels may actually be under 0.08).
You should also note that the 365-day suspension has nothing to do with the actual DUI offense if proven. This suspension is because you did not cooperate with the officials. If you receive a DUI charge, you will have to also deal with the additional penalties outlined, as well. If convicted, this could include a license suspension of 180 days.
What Should I Do After I Have Been Arrested for a DUI in Boise, Idaho?
If you have been arrested for a DUI, this is generally what you should expect will happen:
After the arrest and possible bail, there will be an arraignment. An official complaint will be made and DUI charges against you. Keep in mind that at this stage, you are being informed of the charges. There is no conviction yet, and no evidence has been presented of your guilt.
You will then have the right to enter a plea. You should, by this point, have the legal services of a DUI defense lawyer to represent you. Based on what you say to your lawyer, your DUI lawyer will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. It is generally recommended that you never plead guilty to a DUI charge. However, there can be exceptions. In any case, your plea should be entered after you have thoroughly discussed everything with your DUI defense attorney.
While the DUI charges are being made, the Idaho Department of Transportation will also initiate an automatic license suspension. At this point, your Boise DUI lawyer will play a key role and will ensure that this aspect is also handled since you have seven days to appeal this license suspension. Your DUI attorney will be able to ensure that you retain your license.
There will be a pretrial where your DUI lawyer and the state’s attorney will try to agree. At this point, you may be offered a deal (depending on the circumstances of your case). If you accept the deal, the case can be dismissed, or the charges can be amended from a DUI to a lesser charge.
If there is no deal, then the case will proceed to a jury trial where your drunk driving charges will be tried.
If the case proceeds to a trial, your Boise DUI lawyer and criminal defense law firm will prepare your case and will provide legal representation. Based on the evidence, the court will give a verdict. The State has to prove that you were guilty of DUI. You, with the help of your DUI lawyer, have the right to defend yourself. If you are found not guilty, the case is dismissed, and the charges are dropped. If you are guilty, the penalties will be imposed according to the laws of the State of Idaho.
Common Misconceptions about DUI
While none of us want to be charged with a DUI, we may have certain preconceived notions about the entire process and the charges. These notions may result in us being careless or reckless and not taking the possible consequences of drinking and driving seriously. These misconceptions include:
I’m Safe from Charges If My BAC Level is Under 0.08%
Do not assume that just because your BAC level is under 0.08%, you cannot be prosecuted. The state still has the right to charge and convict you if they can prove definitively that you were driving while impaired because of the amount of alcohol you consumed. It is not always necessary that a BAC less than the legal limit can save you from a DUI charge. Circumstances matter and so does the evaluation of the officer(s) when they first stop you.
Under Idaho Law, Can I Be Charged If Impaired by Prescription Drugs?
Many people believe that if they are found to be driving impaired because of prescription drugs, they will not be charged as it is not their fault or that they were merely following doctor’s order. The reality is that even if driving under the influence of prescriptions is not officially classified as a crime if the State can prove that the drugs impaired your driving ability, they can charge you with a DUI. You may defend yourself through the criminal justice system by saying that you were prescribed these drugs by a medical doctor, but these arguments can be run down as a large number of prescription medicines that can affect a person’s ability to drive or operate machinery say so on the label or the patient information leaflet. Also, the state can argue that it was not necessary for you to drive after you had consumed those drugs. Your decision to do so may be a factor in your receiving a DUI.
Can Be Charged if I Am not Drunk, But I Refuse to Cooperate?
Drivers tend to think that they can’t be proven drunk if they refuse to cooperate and do the tests. While there is no doubt that test results can be used against you at a later stage, the fact is that even if you refuse to cooperate, officers can still determine if you are drunk by evaluating other factors such as the way you were driving, the way you speak to them, the smell of alcohol, etc. Being uncooperative isn’t the best idea.
Some people think that explaining an entire life’s story to the police may get them off the hook. Do not do it. This is not true, and you need to understand that this may happen in the movies, but rarely occurs in real life. The Miranda warning that anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law is a clear indicator that you should ideally remain silent in such situations and contact a DUI lawyer for legal counsel instead. You can still cooperate with the police, but there is no need to give them your life’s story. If you got drunk because you had a bad day at work or because you just broke up with somebody, just keep this information to yourself. You will only make matters worse for you and make your case more difficult for your DUI lawyer.
The fact is that a DUI charge is not a small thing, and it requires an aggressive legal defense. It is not like you get a parking ticket where you pay the fine and resume your life as if nothing happened. If you are convicted, a DUI can have serious consequences for you. You can lose your driving privileges for quite a while (depending on the type of charge and the level of damage that occurred because of your drunken driving behavior). There can be administrative fees as well as criminal charges. Your driving record will no longer be clean, and if there are criminal penalties, your criminal record will also not remain clean. A DUI conviction can affect your credibility and reputation with your current employer as well as have an impact on your future job prospects. If you lose driving privileges and also get jail time under DUI law, do not think that it will all just go away without any effect on your personal and your professional life.
Free Consultation with an Experienced DUI Lawyer
If you have been charged with a DUI, the first thing you need to do is hire the services of a skilled criminal defense lawyer who has experience representing clients in state and federal courts. At Boise DUI Guy, we specialize in defending DUI cases. Our DUI lawyer understands that a DUI charge can be very intimidating, but we are here to help you deal with the legal aspects of the situation. We have experienced Boise DUI lawyers that want to help you get back on your feet, and we want to ensure that you have support throughout the process. Retaining the legal services of an experienced DUI defense attorney by contacting the Boise DUI Guy today to have someone that will work hard to protect your future. It all starts with a free consultation to discuss your drunk driving case, so get in touch today.