There were nearly 900 alcohol-related crashes in Idaho in 2012, injuring almost 700 people and killing 54. Drunk driving deaths represented 29 percent of all traffic deaths, an increase of eight percent from 2011. Idaho law enforcement officials made more than 9,100 DUI arrests and convicted more than 10,500 people for DUI in 2012 and they continue to get drunk drivers off Idaho roadways.
First DUI Conviction Penalties
Idaho recognizes 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content (BAC) as the legal limit for drivers. The limit is reduced to 0.04 percent if the individual is operating a commercial vehicle. This may seem like an insignificant concentration but impaired depth perception and reaction time can occur with only 0.05 percent BAC. Once BAC reaches 0.08 percent, driving skills of even experienced drinkers can be impaired.
Not driving after consuming alcohol is the best way to avoid a DUI arrest. Drivers who do not heed this warning put themselves at risk of DUI arrest. An initial Idaho DUI is considered a misdemeanor but penalties are still severe. If convicted, the individual faces fines up to $1,000, a 90 to 180-day driver license suspension, and as long as six months in jail.
Drivers with 0.20 percent or greater BAC face enhanced penalties. For a misdemeanor first offense, these include fines up to $2,000 and a minimum of ten days up to one year in jail, followed by a one-year driver license suspension. Installation of an ignition interlock device is currently not required for an initial DUI conviction but advocacy groups are fighting to change this. Whether this is their first or subsequent DUI, drivers who seriously injure others are charged with felonies carrying penalties of increased fines, license suspension, and jail time.
Underage DUI in Idaho
Underage drinkers tend to binge drink and on a national level are responsible for 17 percent of fatal crashes involving alcohol. In light of this, Idaho drivers younger than 21 are subject to a 0.02 percent BAC threshold. Initial DUI conviction imposes fines of up to $1,000, driver license suspension for one year with no restricted driving option for the first 90 days, and up to six months in jail.
Regardless of their age, drivers charged with DUI in Idaho are in hot water. They should immediately consult with experienced DUI lawyers in Idaho who understand state laws and can spot errors made during DUI arrests and testing. These attorneys work to have charges reduced or eliminated and help drivers avoid making the same mistake twice. There are valid ways how to get these charges dropped.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.