DUI charges in the state of Idaho are very serious. A conviction can mean the loss of your license, jail time, fines, and more. Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% is prohibited by Idaho DUI law. If a driver is operating a motor vehicle with a BAC that high or under the influence of some other substance, he or she is violating the DUI Idaho code. The BAC limit for commercial vehicle operators is much lower (0.04%), and it’s only 0.02% for drivers under age 21.

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DUI Laws in Idaho

DUI stands for "Driving Under the Influence." It is often colloquially known as "drunk driving," but alcohol doesn't have to be involved to be charged with this crime. A driver under the influence of any intoxicating substance can be charged with a DUI.

You can be charged with DUI in Idaho if you in actual physical control of a vehicle and your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or greater if you're over 21, and just 0.02 percent if you're younger than that. If you're a commercial driver, the limit is just 0.04 percent, even if you're over 21.

The term "actual physical control" means that you are in the driver's seat of the vehicle either while it is moving or while the motor is running. That last part means that you can be charged even if you're just sitting in the vehicle while it is idling, or if your vehicle is somehow moving while the engine is off.

Penalties if You're Found Guilty of DUI in Idaho?

Possible jail time and fines depend on how many offenses you have already been convicted of for DUI. If this is your first offense DUI in Idaho, you're looking at up to 6 months in jail unless your BAC was over 0.20 percent. In that case, you face up to a year behind bars. Fines have a related BAC cutoff: Up to $1,000 if your BAC was under 0.20 percent, and up to $2,000 if it was over. In either case, for a 1st offense DUI, you also have to have your car fitted with an ignition interlock device for a year.

If this is your 2nd DUI offense, jail time goes up to a maximum of 1 year for BAC under .20 percent, and up to 5 years if it's over that amount. Fines for Second Offense DUI's also increase, to $2,000 (BAC under .20) or up to $5,000 (BAC over .20).

Utah DUI Laws

As mentioned, the graduating levels of DUI classifications in Idaho come with increasing penalties for the first, second, and 3rd DUI in Idaho. In most Idaho DUI cases, the punishments are determined by the total number of DUI convictions a driver has had within the past ten-year period.

Here's a closer look at the breakdowns of the levels of DUI offenses and the potential penalties for each under Utah law:

  1st Offense DUI 2nd Offense DUI 3rd Offense DUI
Jail Time Maximum of 6 months
Or 10 days to a maximum of 1 year if your BAC is 0.20% or higher
10 days to a maximum of 1 year
Or 30 days to a maximum of 5 years if your BAC is 0.20% or higher
From 30 days to a maximum of 10 years
Fine Up to a maximum of $1000
Or $2000 if your BAC is 0.20% or higher
Up to a maximum of $2000
Or $5000 if your BAC is 0.20% or higher
Up to a maximum of $5000
Suspend License 90 to 210 days
Or 1 year if your BAC is 0.20% or higher
A minimum of 1 year
Or a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 5 years if your BAC is 0.20% or higher
From 1 to 5 years
Ignition Interlock 1 year A minimum of 1 year A minimum of 1 year

Penalties may be more severe for commercial drivers than those listed in the table above. The punishments may be less for drivers under age 21 if their BAC is 0.02% or over but under 0.08%

Aggravated DUI and Excessive DUI

An Aggravated DUI is an act of DUI that causes an injury or death. An “Excessive DUI” is a DUI crime in which the driver has a BAC of 0.20%. A DUI conviction in a case that involves both an aggravated DUI and an excessive DUI together carries “enhanced” penalties. That means the sentencing for this level of DUI crime can be much more extreme than for lesser levels of DUI offenses. The extent of punishment in these cases is partly based on the amount of harm caused to the victim.

If your license is suspended because you refused to obey Idaho chemical test laws by submitting to a BAC test, you might be eligible for a restricted license after the first 45 days of your license suspension.

Refusing the Breath or Blood Alcohol Test

Idaho has an implied consent law which makes it mandatory for all drivers arrested for the crime of DUI to provide a breath, urine, or blood test to determine their blood alcohol content. Under the state’s chemical test laws, there are consequences for failing to comply by providing a sample of your breath, urine, or interfering with authorities whose mandate includes drawing blood for BAC testing. Drivers who refuse to submit to a legally required sobriety test face a potential fine of $250, suspension of their driver’s license, and an ignition interlock device requirement.

Further, the refusal to cooperate with the required blood alcohol content test may be viewed as evidence of guilt. It can be presumed to indicate that the defendant was aware that his/her BAC was over the Utah DUI limit at the time of the request for the test.

Mandatory Evaluation for Substance Abuse

If you are convicted of DUI in Idaho, you will be required to submit to an assessment to determine which form of treatment for alcohol abuse is indicated in your case. You may be required to attend classes or participate in a therapeutic program. A judge will review the assessment results and issue a court order compelling you to complete all treatments determined appropriate in your case.

Restricted License Eligibility

After your first DUI conviction, you may qualify for a restricted driver’s license after the first 30 days of your suspension. The restricted license is contingent on having an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. The restricted license usually limits the driver to driving only for work and health reasons. Second- and third-time offenders can petition for a restricted license after their first 45 days of suspension. But, they are required to show they’re active in Idaho state substance abuse treatment and that they’re in good standing in that program.

Enhanced Penalties: In cases of an extremely high BAC (0.20% or higher), or aggravated DUI cases (involving an injury or death), more severe penalties may be assessed than those indicated in the table above.


Felony DUI

A 3rd+ offense in Idaho is a felony DUI. At this point, the BAC divide disappears, but potential penalties spike. You can spend up to 10 years in jail and pay up to $5,000. As you might expect, you'll also have to use an ignition interlock device for a set period of time.

For all levels of convictions, license suspensions are also meted out. These increase depending on how many prior offenses are on your record.

Participation in court-ordered substance abuse programs may also be required. You will have to submit to an evaluation to determine if such participation will be needed.

Charged with DUI in Idaho? Schedule a Free Consultation With The Best DUI Attorney Boise Has To Offer

No matter how great your reputation is or how much you believe the evidence points to your innocence, you can still be convicted. Your freedom, finances, and lifestyle are all in grave danger if you are found guilty.

If you are convicted of DUI in Idaho, you can lose your driver's license and your job. You can be excluded from many fields of employment from that point forward. You can even go to jail. You’ll also have a criminal record. But, in some cases, you may be able to avoid going to jail, reduce your sentence, reduce your time of license suspension, and avoid having a record of a criminal conviction. Consult with an Idaho DUI lawyer to find out all your options and the best way to proceed.

For the Best DUI Lawyer, Boise Idaho, Call Sawtooth

Sawtooth Defense Lawyers is a group of top Boise Idaho criminal defense lawyers. We can fully protect your rights, ensure that any new Idaho DUI laws applied in your case are interpreted fairly, and provide you with the best possible DUI defense. In many cases, we can have charges reduced substantially. In some cases, we can have the charges dropped completely.

If you have been charged with DUI, call Sawtooth Defense Lawyers, Boise ID at (208) 644-8893, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to see how we can help you.