Idaho DUI Laws, Fines, Penalties & What You Should Know

Boise, Idaho, USA
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Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) in the state of Idaho carries harsh penalties for those convicted of it. Offenders can face thousands of dollars in fines, jail time, license suspension and mandatory attendance at a substance abuse treatment program. If law enforcement stops a driver on suspicion of impairment and requests a chemical test, a refusal to take that test will result in additional penalties.

The consequences of a DUI conviction don't end with the completion of court requirements. They can last for years, as convicted drivers may have significantly higher car insurance rates or have trouble finding a job or a place to live.

"Per Se" DUI and BAC Limits

According to the Idaho State Police, a person who drives or has "actual physical control" of a vehicle while impaired by drugs, alcohol or a combination of both violates the state's DUI law. A driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater, known as a "per se" DUI, faces charges and possible conviction. Those with a BAC level lower than 0.08 percent may also face arrest if they show obvious signs of impairment. The vehicle does not have to be in motion for a DUI charge to take place.

Certain drivers are subject to a lower BAC legal limit. Motor vehicle operators holding commercial drivers' licenses (CDL) who have a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher face charges, as do drivers under 21 who have a BAC of 0.02 percent or more. CDL drivers face more severe penalties than those with noncommercial licenses, and penalties for younger drivers are equally harsh.

First DUI in Idaho

If a driver has not had a prior DUI within 10 years of the current one, Idaho considers it to be a first offense, a misdemeanor violation that carries these penalties:

  • Up to six months in jail.
  • Maximum $1,000 fine.
  • A license suspension period of 90 to 180 days.

First-time offenders with BAC levels of 0.20 percent or greater face more serious penalties, including:

  • Mandatory 10 days and up to one year in jail.
  • Maximum $2,000 fine.
  • One year license suspension.
  • No driving privileges for one year after confinement release.

Second DUI in Idaho

A second DUI conviction occurs within 10 years of the first and is a misdemeanor that carries the following penalties:

  • Maximum $2,000 fine.
  • No driving privileges for one year after confinement release.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on the offender's vehicle.

Drivers with BAC levels of 0.20 percent or greater within five years of a prior conviction face penalties, including:

  • Mandatory 30 days in jail and up to one year in state prison.
  • Maximum $5,000 fine.
  • Five-year license suspension with no driving privileges for one year after confinement release.
  • Mandatory IID installation.

Third Offense and Aggravated DUI

A third DUI is a felony in Idaho if it occurs within 10 years of the first two convictions. It carries more severe penalties, including:

  • Mandatory 30 days and up to five years in jail.
  • Maximum $5,000 fine.
  • Five-year license suspension with no driving privileges for one year after confinement release.
  • Mandatory IID installation.

According to Idaho Statutes Section 18-8006, a driver "causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to any person other than himself" faces enhanced felony charges, even in the case of a first offense. Aggravated DUI penalties include:

  • Maximum 15 years in prison.
  • Probation, plus mandatory minimum 30 days jail time.
  • Maximum $5,000 fine.
  • Mandatory restitution for any injury and property damage incurred.
  • Five-year license suspension with no driving privileges for one year after confinement release.
  • Mandatory IID installation.
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol screening.
  • Mandatory attendance at a victim's panel.

Implied Consent Law

According to Idaho Statutes Section 8-8002, any person who gets behind the wheel in Idaho has automatically given consent to a blood, urine or breath test in the event law enforcement performs a traffic stop based on suspicion of impairment.

A driver who refuses to submit to a chemical test requested by a police officer violates Idaho's implied consent law. When a driver refuses a test, law enforcement must inform that person of the penalties they'll incur, which are in addition to those of a DUI conviction. These penalties are:

  • $250 fine.
  • License suspension of one year for a first offense and two years for a second offense.
  • Mandatory IID installation for one year.

DUI and CDL Drivers

According to the Trilogy Law Group, commercial drivers with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher, or those who show impairment regardless of their BAC level, face DUI conviction. Penalties for CDL drivers not only affect them at the time of arrest, but can also hurt their ability to work for years to come. A CDL driver charged with a first offense DUI will receive a one-year license suspension; those with a second DUI offense face a lifetime suspension.

CDL drivers who refuse to take a chemical test will receive a year's suspension, regardless of any DUI conviction; a second refusal leads to a two-year suspension. Jail time is equal to what a noncommercial driver would receive. Fines range from to $2,000 for a first offense up to $5,000 for a second offense, depending on the driver's BAC at the time of the stop.

Additional CDL DUI Penalties

If law enforcement stops a CDL driver in a noncommercial vehicle, CDL penalties still apply. State law requires that they contact their employer and tell them of the DUI – no matter what type of vehicle they were in at the time of their arrest – within 30 days of the traffic stop. The CDL driver also faces immediate seizure of their commercial license.

After their license suspension ends, drivers can apply to have their CDL reinstated. However, they must pay all applicable fees, including court-imposed fines and a reinstatement fee to the Idaho Transportation Department. The driver must also complete all other court requirements, such as community service, probation, or substance abuse education and treatment programs.

Idaho Zero Tolerance Law

A violation of Idaho's zero tolerance law is a serious charge with equivalent penalties. Boise Advocate states that a driver under 21 with a BAC limit of 0.02 percent or higher faces a license suspension of six months; a second offense underage DUI carries a suspension of at least a year.

Drivers with a BAC higher than 0.05 percent can lose their license for a period of time determined by completion of a substance abuse evaluation and subsequent education and treatment program. The court will release the screening results to the parent or legal guardian of drivers under 19. Those who fail an evaluation cannot drive again until they pass it.

Impaired underage drivers who violate the state's implied consent law will see their license suspended for one year; a second violation carries an 18-month suspension. Drivers between the ages of 18 and 21 face adult criminal charges depending on the circumstances of the traffic stop. If, for example, injury or death has occurred, the drunk driving charge becomes a felony. The driver will face the same penalties – incarceration, thousands of dollars in fines and IID installation – that an adult driver receives.

Zero Tolerance and Juvenile DUI Penalties

Underage drivers face a maximum fine of $1,000, a one-year license suspension (after which they can request restricted driving privileges), and a mandatory alcohol evaluation. According to Edgar Snyder and Associates, penalties for multiple DUIs include:

Second offense: Mandatory five days and maximum 30 days in jail, fine between $500 and $2,000, one- to two-year license suspension (after which the driver can request restricted driving privileges), IID installation, and an alcohol evaluation.

Three or more offenses: Mandatory 10 days and maximum six months in jail, fine between $1,000 and $2,000, minimum one-year license suspension or a suspension until the driver is 21 (whichever comes last), IID installation, and an alcohol evaluation.

Additional DUI Penalties for Drivers Under 18

Impaired drivers under 18 face "juvenile" DUI. In addition to the above penalties, the court will request treatment for the offender in the county where the arrest took place. A minor driver's sentence includes juvenile hall time served, traffic courses and additional court fines.

Just as an adult offender's DUI can impact employment, credit or homeownership, a juvenile DUI can affect a young driver's job status, college scholarships, financial aid and school admission options. Minor DUI offenders can also see their car insurance increase by thousands of dollars.

Idaho Open Container Law

According to NOLO, Idaho drivers and passengers violate the state's open container law when they have an unsealed, otherwise open, or partially empty alcoholic beverage container in the central area of a vehicle while on a public roadway. Open container laws apply to sober drivers and passengers, as well as those in a vehicle that is not in motion. The law applies to beer, wine or alcoholic liquor, which the state defines as:

  • Distilled liquor.
  • Spirits such as vodka, tequila, gin, whiskey and brandy.
  • Spirits with at least 0.04 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

There are a few exemptions to the state's open container law. A vehicle operator can transport unsealed alcoholic beverages in a vehicle's trunk or behind the last upright seat in the absence of a trunk. Passengers in vehicles for hire, such as limousines, buses or cabs can drink or otherwise possess alcohol while in the vehicle. Additionally, those in the living space of an RV or motor home can drink or possess alcohol as long as it is out of the driver's reach.

Idaho Open Container Penalties

An open container violation is a misdemeanor for which the maximum penalty is six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. A passenger who violates the law commits an infraction, not a crime. As such, they will usually receive a citation that carries a penalty of $100, and a passenger guilty of an open container violation will not see any jail time.

Drivers under 21 receive the same penalties as adults for violating the open container law. However, the court may request that an underage driver undergo alcohol screening. Based on the results of such evaluation, the court may order the driver to complete an education or treatment program. Underage drivers facing a misdemeanor open container charge can lose their license for up to a year.