Additional DUI Information
Please review the additional resources below to learn more about your alcohol related charge. These are common questions that we often answer during your FREE consultation. However, if you take a minute to read this page, your time will be better spent discussing the individual circumstances of your case.
Reliability Of Breath-Test Results In A Drunk-Driving Case
In every state in the U.S., a driver with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is presumed to be legally intoxicated for drunk-driving purposes. Each state has also enacted an implied-consent law. Implied-consent laws provide that every licensed driver within the state is considered to have given his or her consent to chemical testing to determine his or her BAC whenever a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion of intoxication. In most states, refusal to submit to such a test results in license suspension or revocation.
While a blood test is arguably more reliable, the breath test for BAC is more commonly used in the field because the testing equipment is convenient to transport and because the test is easier to administer, can be used by nonmedical personnel, is less physically intrusive to the person taking the test and produces results faster. However, under certain circumstances, breath tests can be less than reliable as an accurate measure of BAC.
If you are facing drunk-driving charges, contact Martens Law Office, P.C., in Boise, Idaho, to speak to an attorney who is thoroughly familiar with possible breath-test weaknesses.
History And Science Of The Breath Test
The Breathalyzer® was invented in 1954 to collect evidence of intoxication by measuring BAC through breath analysis. Since that time, several manufacturers have entered into the breath-analyzer market and the science behind the machine has evolved. The word “breathalyzer” is now widely used to refer to these apparatus regardless of manufacturer. Other terms used to refer to these devices include evidential breath tester (EBT), breath analyzer, breath-analysis product, breath-alcohol analyzer and breath-testing device or machine. In addition to Breathalyzer, common brands include Intoxilyzer® and Intoximeter®.
In very basic terms, the breathalyzer is designed to measure the amount of alcohol in a deep-lung breath sample and to use that amount to determine BAC. The four main scientific methods used in the various machines are chemical analysis, infrared spectrophotometry, gas chromatography and fuel-cell detection.
A drunk-driving defendant, usually through an experienced attorney and often with the help of a scientific expert, may be able to challenge the breath-test results in his or her case. Several different factors may call into question the reliability of the results. Depending on the law of the state in which the drunk-driving charges were filed, evidence of a problem with the test result could make the BAC reading inadmissible in court or, if the BAC is still admissible, could cast serious doubt on whether the reading is reliable.
Arguments a drunk-driving defense attorney may make to undermine the breath-test results
- The breath tests’ assumption of a 2100-to-1 blood-to-breath ratio may not be scientifically reliable.
- The test was not administered correctly; for example, the administrator did not warm up the machine to the correct operating temperature or ensure an adequately deep lung sample.
- The test administrator was not properly trained or qualified.
- The equipment was not maintained properly, calibrated correctly or cleaned adequately.
- The result was affected by some characteristic of the driver, such as age; lung function; overall strength and size; a disease or condition such as asthma, diabetes, eardrum rupture, ketosis, emphysema, bronchitis, dental issues, fever or harelip; shock or trauma; certain types of special diets; or hiccoughing, burping, vomiting or hyperventilating. Even severe heartburn could have made the breath results unreliable.
- The test administrator did not continuously observe the driver for an adequate period before the test to prevent him or her from putting anything into his or her mouth that could affect the result. For example, a product used in the driver’s mouth, such as mouthwash or adhesive, or lip ointment could have affected the test result.
- Police radio operation generated electromagnetic waves, causing radio frequency interference (RFI) with the testing equipment.
- The driver was exposed to a gas or vapor before the test that made it unreliable, such as during painting, floor sanding, varnishing or other activity with chemical exposure. Similarly, an outside environmental cause in the surrounding air could have caused a high breath test result.
This long list of potential problems with breath test results is not close to complete. If a person charged with drunk driving is able to show that something affected the reliability of his or her test results, the state will need to rely more on other types of evidence to prove intoxication. Other types of evidence on which the state may need to rely include witness, officer and driver statements; witness and police observations; or field-sobriety test results.
If your situation involves a breath test to measure BAC, our experienced attorney in Boise, who is thoroughly familiar with proper testing procedure and the science behind the test, may be able to provide valuable assistance.
To help police officers gather the timely evidence they need when they suspect someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, they often administer field sobriety tests and Breathalyzer tests to determine if drivers are intoxicated. Field sobriety tests are often difficult, consisting of tasks many drivers could not complete even when sober. Being stopped by the police can be an intimidating experience and nervousness can often be misinterpreted as intoxication.
If you have been arrested for DUI and given tests to determine your control or blood alcohol content (BAC), contact Martens Law Office, P.C., today to arrange a free initial consultation. Experienced attorney Jared Martens will investigate your case, examining the validity of your traffic stop and the tests that were administered.
Questions Need To Be Answered
If you have been stopped for suspicion of DUI and subjected to breathalyzer or field sobriety tests, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you determine if your rights were respected. Attorney Jared Martens will seek answers to the following questions:
- Were your rights read to you?
- Were all tests properly administered?
- Were your tests taped for evidence?
- Could a reasonable, sober person pass the test?
Learn About Your Legal Options By Speaking With An Experienced Attorney
Idaho police have begun using mobile Breathalyzers, allowing them to accurately test suspected drunk drivers on the side of the road. Refusal to take the test could lead to a fine of $250 and seizure of his or her driver’s license for a minimum of one year absolute. If you refuse a Breathalyzer test, in certain serious situations, police are permitted to draw your blood against your will for BAC testing.
Contact a knowledgeable lawyer to find out your legal options.
Don’t lose your license based on faulty evidence. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help ensure your rights have not been violated. Contact Martens Law Office today to arrange a free initial consultation.
When charged with a DUI in Boise, most people are concerned with losing their driver’s license. Questions about driver’s license suspensions are the first questions people ask when charged with DUI. While each case is different, working with an experienced Idaho criminal defense attorney is the best way to protect your driver’s license.
At Martens Law Office, P.C., we represent individuals who have been accused of drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Idaho. Part of my thorough and effective representation is helping people keep their driver’s licenses after their arrest. We represent clients at DOT hearings if they failed a BAC test or in court before a judge if they refused a BAC test.
If you are worried about losing your driver’s license due to a DUI, pick up the phone and call 208-435-1132.
You only have seven days from the time of your DUI arrest or citation to schedule a DOT hearing or a BAC hearing with the court.
Idaho Law On DUI License Suspension
If you refuse to take a blood, breath or urine test, your driver’s license will be revoked for one year if no hearing is requested within seven days. If you take a DUI test and are found to have a BAC of .08 or higher, you could lose your license anywhere from 90 days up to six months on the first offense.
CDL holders face additional penalties when it comes to license suspension after a DUI. We also help people keep commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) by taking appropriate and thorough legal action.
Contact Our Boise Firm Today
Before you give up on your driver’s license, please contact our DUI lawyer and receive a free consultation. Contact the law office by calling 208-435-1132. We are prepared to take all legal action necessary in your DUI case.
If you have been stopped for, arrested for or charged with drunk driving in Idaho, contact Martens Law Offices P.C. in Boise, Idaho, as soon as possible to discuss your options and rights with an attorney who has experience handling drunk-driving cases. Drunk-driving law is complex and the guidance of a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer can make a significant difference in a defendant’s experience and in the outcome of his or her case.
Each state has its own set of drunk-driving laws, and in some states, Idaho included, drunk driving is a crime, while in others it is classified as a traffic offense. Drunk-driving laws differ among the states.
There are certain concepts and features common to most states’ drunk-driving jurisprudence. As we all know, operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol and/or drugs to a degree that impairs a person’s judgment and ability to drive safely is a serious offense. Both criminal and civil penalties for drunk driving can be harsh and often include:
- Loss or suspension of license
- Large fines
- Substance-abuse treatment
- Jail or prison time
- Community service
- Criminal record
- Restrictive probationary license programs, including ignition interlock devices and restricted licenses
In addition, the social stigma and effect on your career may have negative consequences for a lifetime. This is especially true for those whose living depends upon a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
Terminology And Elements Of Drunk Driving
The offense of drunk driving goes by a variety of names among the states, including:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Operating under the influence (OUI)
- Operating while intoxicated (OWI)
- Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII)
- Driving while under the influence (DWUI)
- Driving while ability impaired (DWAI)
- Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID)
In the language of the various state statutes, a drunk-driving conviction requires driving or operating a vehicle or motor vehicle. While that sounds straightforward, a review of drunk-driving cases shows otherwise.
The requirement of driving or operating implies that the driver must have some sort of control or command of the vehicle. Guilt or innocence may hang on whether the defendant was actually “driving” in a particular circumstance. What if he or she was just sitting behind the wheel of a car but it was turned off? What if the defendant was sleeping there? What if the keys were in the defendant’s pocket and not in the ignition? What if that car was out of gas and could not be started? What if it was idling? What if it was being towed? Courts nationwide have considered various scenarios to determine whether the necessary control over the vehicle was present and the outcomes vary by state and by the individual circumstances.
Cars, trucks and vans are obviously considered to be vehicles for drunk-driving law purposes. However, people have been convicted of drunk driving while operating boats, mopeds, scooters, dirt bikes, tractors, snowmobiles, electric wheelchairs, golf carts, bicycles, ATVs and yes, even riding lawnmowers, although the types of vehicles contemplated differ by state.
One way Idaho prosecutors prove driver intoxication is through scientific testing of the amount of alcohol in the body, usually by analyzing the breath or blood. These tests are usually administered by machines, such as the Breathalyzer® or Intoxilyzer 5000. In every state, a person with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) over .08 is considered legally intoxicated. However, even a BAC over .05 is enough to convict for a DUI in some states.
If a person takes advantage of the privilege of driving, he or she automatically consents to state-administered chemical testing to determine his or her BAC. If a driver refuses to take a chemical-alcohol test, his or her driver’s license may be revoked or suspended. In Idaho a refusal to submit to BAC testing will result in an absolute one year driver’s license suspension.
BAC test results over the legal limit are usually presumed to be proof of intoxication. However, defendants may challenge the conclusiveness of the results by showing irregularities in the test administration procedure or problems with the test equipment. For example, your lawyer may advise retesting of your blood sample tubes. He or she may be able to obtain exclusion of the original blood test results from the case or even dismissal of the case entirely.
Other types of evidence used by prosecuting attorneys to show intoxication include drivers’ statements, witness and police observations of behavior and driving patterns and circumstantial evidence. An example of possibly relevant circumstantial evidence is that a defendant, before driving, spent the afternoon at a party where drinking games were played.
Police also gather important evidence of intoxication by administering standard field sobriety tests (FSTs) at the scenes of traffic stops. Common field sobriety tests include:
- Finger-to-nose test
- One-legged stand
- Walk-and-turn test
- Horizontal-gaze-nystagmus test
- Picking up coins
- Counting backwards
- Reciting the alphabet
- Throwing and/or catching a ball
Defendants may challenge the validity of FST results by showing irregularities in the test administration procedure or other problems with the test.
Driving is the basis of the American lifestyle, permeating every activity we do. We rely on driving to get to work, to socialize, to run errands and to vacation. Licensed drivers transport children, people with disabilities and senior citizens to important appointments and activities. A drunk-driving conviction can bring your life to a screeching halt. If you face a potential problem with drunk driving, our lawyer can fight for you and help protect your interests and those of your family and loved ones.
The Impact Of A Drunk-Driving Conviction On Your Auto Insurance
An alcohol-related car accident and subsequent drunk-driving conviction can bring many negative consequences into your life, possibly including jail or prison time, a criminal record, car repair or replacement, restitution, guilt and grief over harm to others, higher insurance premiums, a civil lawsuit, fines, court and administrative fees, community service, alcohol education, substance-abuse treatment, social stigma, restrictions on or revocation of your drivers license, attorneys fees, and restrictive probation. If you are arrested for or charged with drunk driving, our lawyer at Martens Law Office, P.C., can advise you about your legal rights and help you fight the charges.
After the nightmare of a drunk-driving trial, conviction and sentence, your driving privileges may still be intact or may be restored. However, the question of automobile insurance becomes more complex and more expensive after a drunk-driving conviction appears on your record.
Your Present Insurer
Your current automobile insurer can be expected to respond to your drunk-driving mishap. Exactly what your insurance company legally can do varies from state to state and depends on the insurance law of your state, but your insurance company may cancel or decline to renew your policy, restrict coverage provisions or, at a minimum, increase your premiums. Although the amount of increase can vary greatly, your premiums could go up as much as 100 percent or more. How your insurer reacts to your drunk driving may be worse if you have other strikes against you, such as previous drunk-driving convictions, traffic tickets, at-fault accidents, late or unpaid insurance premiums or other negative history with the insurer.
Private Insurance For High-Risk Drivers
If your insurance is cancelled or raised to a prohibitively high price, you can seek coverage from an insurer that specializes in insuring high-risk drivers or from the high-risk division of a large insurance company. This type of auto policy, called a nonstandard policy, is especially geared toward the high-risk market of drivers, such as those with drunk-driving histories or other seriously negative driving records, or those living in neighborhoods with higher rates of vandalism. Unfortunately, a nonstandard policy can be expected to have relatively high premiums.
State-Created High-Risk Insurance Mechanisms
State governments have set up various systems for covering high-risk drivers uninsurable in the voluntary insurance market, passing on the costs of such systems to insurance companies. A very common state-created mechanism is the assigned-risk pool, also known as a residual-insurance pool, where auto insurers are assigned a number of otherwise uninsurable drivers in proportion to the insurance companies’ presence in the state insurance market. Other publicly sustained insurance systems include joint underwriting associations and reinsurance facilities, among others. Considered the automobile insurance option of last resort, premiums for these state-created insurance programs tend to be markedly higher than for privately procured insurance.
Other Significant Issues
Your drunk-driving record can also impact your premiums for or coverage by other types of insurance policies, such as life or medical insurance. After your drunk-driving conviction, you will be considered a high-risk driver. Most states require such drivers to obtain from their insurance companies for filing with the state SR-22 forms, which certify that high-risk drivers are insured. These insurance issues are highly regulated by each state and can vary in how they are handled, so it is important to know the law in your state and what variations to these issues that law may bring. If because of your drunk-driving conviction you are paying expensive premiums, there may be other ways to lessen the price, such as driving an older car and/or a non-sports car, moving to a safer neighborhood, maintaining a clean driving record, taking a safe-driving class, adding safety equipment to your car, paying all bills on time to boost your credit rating, staying current on your insurance premiums or moving closer to your workplace to shorten the commute.
Not all states require auto insurance as a condition of driving, but those that do not require insurance have financial responsibility laws that assign liability to at-fault drivers in accidents for resulting medical expenses or property damage. Auto insurance is still highly recommended to cover this legal responsibility.
A drunk-driving conviction can wreak havoc on your automobile insurance coverage. If you are feeling the negative effects of a drunk-driving conviction, an attorney at Martens Law Offices P.C. in Boise, Idaho, can help you to sort out the issues and investigate solutions.
Contact our team at Martens Law Office, P.C., at 208-435-1132.
No longer is a DUI simply a driving under the influence of alcohol charge. There are numerous types and degrees of DUI charges, each carrying with them their own special set of penalties and ramifications. This has come about because of vast improvements in technology along with political forces such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD. It has become more and more common for individuals to find themselves charged with a DUI when they thought they were breaking no laws by driving. It has also become common for individuals to find themselves charged with a DUI charge that has serious consequences and penalties due to tougher legislation.
In Idaho DUI charges range from a simple first time misdemeanor DUI resulting from having a few drinks and blowing over the .08 BAC limit to serious felony charges that can carry up to 15 years in the Idaho State Penitentiary. In recent years law enforcement has began to charge drivers with a DUI for driving while taking a legally prescribed prescription, driving after having used marijuana within the past few days. Drivers under the age of 21 may be charged with a DUI for driving with a BAC of .02 or higher. A few years ago, Idaho changed the DUI law in such a way that anyone receiving three DUIs within a 10-year period will be charged with a felony. It used to be three DUIs within a five-year period. We have noticed a huge increase in the number of felony DUI charges brought against drivers. Finally, if someone is injured in an accident and a driver is at a .08 BAC or higher, a first time DUI will be considered “aggravated” and charged as a felony.
Do not assume that you can effectively represent yourself when charged with a DUI in Idaho. Perhaps you refused to submit to the breathalyzer or this is your second time DUI. Perhaps you submitted to the breathalyzer and the results were a BAC over .20, which is considered an excessive DUI in Idaho. Each and every DUI charge is a little different with its own set of penalties and consequences. Do not expose yourself to the traps and pitfalls that are inevitable when working through a DUI charge in Idaho. Contact an experienced attorney that will protect you from the dangers that will present themselves along the way in your DUI case.
Being charged with drunk driving such as a DUI or DWI (Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated) is a very serious offense. Martens Law Office, P.C., has composed a list of basic questions and answers you need to know if you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Idaho. Contact our team at 208-435-1132 today for your free legal consultation.
What is ‘blood-alcohol content’ or ‘blood-alcohol level’?
Blood-alcohol content (BAC) is the level of alcohol in the bloodstream from drinking alcoholic beverages. BAC readings are used in court as evidence in drunk-driving cases. The most common method of measure is a breath test, although blood and/or urine testing is sometimes done. A result of .08 or higher may establish a presumption of intoxication. The details of the .08 BAC presumption laws vary among the states, but all 50 states have adopted .08 as their official intoxication level, in large part because of a federal threat of otherwise withholding highway funds.
Can I refuse a breathalyzer test?
Every state has its own version of an implied consent law providing that a driver impliedly consents to alcohol testing just by the act of driving. In many states, a refusal to take a breath test is itself a criminal violation subject to stiff penalties. For example, refusing a breath test might result in automatic drivers-license suspension or revocation. If you are ultimately found guilty of a drunk-driving offense, there may be additional penalties because of the test refusal, such as a stiffer sentence. Your test refusal may also be used as evidence against you in a drunk-driving case.
Are breath test results always accurate?
Some courts allow the defendant in a drunk-driving case to challenge the scientific accuracy of breath tests in general, whereas others may allow challenges based on the particular circumstances of a test, such as improperly calibrated equipment or inadequately trained officers. If the test results are inadmissible or can be challenged, the case will probably have to be proven based on other evidence, such as eyewitness testimony and field-sobriety test results.
What if I lose my license but continue to drive?
If a person whose license has been revoked or suspended due to drunk driving chooses to drive without a valid license and is pulled over, he or she stands to suffer more serious consequences, including possible fines, imprisonment, forfeiture of his or her vehicle or extension of the license revocation/suspension. The more prudent course of action is to rely on friends and family for rides or use public transportation during a license revocation or suspension.
How can I get automobile insurance after a drunk-driving conviction?
Although your rates will likely be higher, your insurer may continue to insure you even after a conviction. A subsequent clean-driving record may result in lower rates in the future. If your insurer drops you as a result of the conviction, another insurance company may be willing to accept the risk. In fact, some companies specialize in offering nonstandard insurance to drivers who have been convicted of drunk driving, but the rates are much higher. Another possible source of insurance for high-risk drivers may be state insurance programs created for just these types of drivers.
What is the punishment for drunk driving?
Drunk-driving convictions carry serious penalties that vary some among the states. Although courts may go easier on first-time offenders, even in first-offense cases the possible sentences usually include stiff fines and jail time. If the circumstances warrant it, however, the court may have the discretion to choose less-restrictive options or a combination of options, including probation, diversion programs, community service, alcohol awareness education, abuse counseling, ignition interlock systems, home monitoring, suspension of vehicle registration, vehicle impoundment or in-house alcohol treatment. For subsequent offenses, the likelihood of imprisonment and the steepness of fines usually increase and in all cases the loss of driving privileges-at least temporarily-is almost guaranteed.
How can I get to work if I cannot drive?
Many drunk-driving offenders are forced to rely on public transportation or rides from friends, family or co-workers for transportation to and from work during periods of license suspension or revocation. In some states, an offender may be granted a hardship license, sometimes called a limited license or probationary license, allowing him or her to drive in limited situations such as to and from work, school or medical appointments. Some states require an alcohol evaluation as part of the limited license application. If an offender with a hardship license is caught driving outside of its strict limitations, further penalties may be imposed.
What is the best way to beat a drunk-driving charge?
The best way to avoid being convicted of drunk driving is to not drink and drive. Use a designated driver, call a taxi, call a friend or don’t drink alcohol if you are going to need to drive within a few hours. For some people, even one drink can impair their driving abilities. However, if you have been charged with driving under the influence, an experienced drunk-driving defense lawyer can work to improve the outcome of your case.
If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?
Even if you did unsafely drink and drive, experienced legal counsel may be able to help minimize your legal problems and maximize your opportunities to move ahead toward a brighter future. A criminal defense attorney helps to equalize the balance of power between the defendant and the prosecution and works to preserve the constitutional rights that are guaranteed to all criminal defendants.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Idaho, life can become pretty uncertain. Whether you are fighting the charge or you have already plead guilty or been found guilty of a DUI in Idaho, there are necessary steps that must be taken to put your life back in order. The biggest concerns tend to be driver’s license suspensions, having a DUI on your permanent record, maintaining or obtaining vehicle insurance, possible jail time and loss of employment. At Martens Law Office, P.C., we have handled thousands of DUI charges and are familiar with the process and the confusion that necessarily result. We have compiled the information that follows in a step by step process that will help you in finding your way through the DUI process regardless of the Idaho County in which you have been charged.
Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer First Thing
The smartest thing that you can do is Hire a criminal defense attorney that handles DUI cases on a regular basis here in Idaho. There are several reasons you should hire counsel for a DUI or any other Idaho criminal charges. For starters, lawyers went to law school and have studied the law. We are familiar with the judges, prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies. Every judge has a different personality. The same goes for the prosecuting attorney assigned to your case. To the surprise of many, there are different prosecuting agencies within each Idaho county and they all have different policies and attitudes towards DUI charges. The worst thing that you can do is try to go it alone. The second worst thing you can do is hire an attorney who practices in civil practice or transaction law. They are fine lawyers within their area of expertise, but criminal defense and DUI practice is completely different from real estate law, estate planning, personal injury law or transactional practice. There are traps and pitfalls along the way that can and will catch anyone unfamiliar with the Idaho UI process. Unfortunately, when mistakes are made it is the person charged with a DUI who suffers. Hire an attorney who works almost exclusively in the area of Criminal Defense. At Martens Law Office, P.C. we represent many clients accused of DUI. In most cases we are able to avoid all jail time for our clients, avoid long driver’s license suspensions, keep DUI charges off of our client’s records, get charges dismissed and minimize both the short term and long term effects.
Do Not Delay Hiring An Attorney For Your DUI Charge
Hire a criminal defense attorney and get the attorney hired quickly. Do not wait until a day or two before the initial arraignment rolls around to retain counsel. There are deadlines that must be met within seven days of your being charged with a DUI. The first deadline is requesting that the Idaho Department of Transportation set a blood alcohol content (BAC) hearing. If that is not done within seven days you waive your right to a hearing and will lose your Idaho driver’s license for an absolute period of 30 days. In the case of a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer or blood draw you must request a BAC hearing with the appropriate county court within seven days or you will lose your license for an absolute period of one full year. You will not be able to drive for any purpose whatsoever for a full year if this seven day deadline passes without any action taken by an attorney.
Stay In Regular Contact With Your Attorney
If you have hired a DUI lawyer in Boise, the lawyer should take care of the necessary paperwork required in entering the case. Paperwork will be submitted so that you generally do not have to appear for the initial arraignment and discovery will be requested from the county prosecutor. Discovery includes any audio, video and police reports that were created when you were arrested for the DUI. The attorney will review all of these materials as they arrive at his or her office from the Idaho Prosecuting Attorney, Idaho Police Department and Idaho Department of Transportation. You need to stay in touch with your attorney. Call your attorney about ten days after hiring the attorney. Within ten days the attorney will have court dates, BAC hearing dates and other important information available. You need to appear at some of the court dates and BAC hearing dates. About twenty days after you hire the Idaho attorney the attorney will receive discovery. You will want to review the discovery with your attorney. It is important that you help your attorney spot any defenses that you may have or any errors in the police reports.
Get An Alcohol Evaluation Before Pre-Trial
Shortly after retaining an Idaho attorney, you should get an alcohol evaluation. If you are found guilty or plead guilty to a DUI, Idaho law requires that you obtain an alcohol evaluation prior to sentencing. It is a good idea to get an alcohol evaluation even if you are planning to take the case to trial. Many times having an alcohol evaluation ahead of time will have some influence on getting the prosecuting attorney to reduce the charges to a lesser charge of reckless driving.
Complete Recommended Classes Before Pre-Trial
After completing your alcohol evaluation, the evaluator will recommend so many hours of alcohol classes. It is also a good idea to complete the recommended classes before appearing at your Pre-Trial Conference. Again, having both an evaluation and having the classes complete prior to the Pre-Trial Conference could have some influence on the prosecutor in reducing the charges from a DUI. You can complete the CLASSES ONLINE if you so choose. Many Idaho Counties also require a Victim’s Panel. If you complete the online classes with Tom Wilson Counseling, the victim’s panel is included. To sign up for the classes you will need to have the case number of your case. Tom Wilson Counseling will send proof of completion of the Classes and Victim’s Panel to the court upon your completing the classes. However, it is a good idea to keep a copy of the proof of completion for your records and it is also a good idea to bring those records with you to the Pre-Trial Conference along with a copy of the alcohol evaluation.
Restricted Driving Permit Process With ITD
You are generally allowed to drive for the first thirty days after you are charged with a DUI in Idaho. After thirty days have passed you will generally lose your license for an absolute period of 30 days, with another 60 days of restricted driving for a total suspension period of 90 days through Idaho Department of Transportation. After the absolute 30 day suspension period has passed, you can apply for a restricted driver’s license with the Idaho Department of Transportation. The first thing you need to do is Reinstate Your Idaho Driver’s License. You will then need to fill out an Application for a Restricted Driver’s License with the Idaho Department of Transportation. To obtain a restricted driver’s license permit you need to call the Idaho Transportation Department at 208-334-8736. Select Option 1 which is “Restricted Permits.” Prior to calling ITD you should read the Instructions on obtaining a restricted permit through ITD. The Idaho Department of Transportation will send you an application form. You must fill the application out completely, attach a copy of your proof of insurance and proof of reinstatement (copy of your reinstatement receipt) to the form and send it to the Idaho Department of Transportation. They will then review it, usually approve it and send you a restricted driver’s license. The restricted permit is good for the remaining 60 days of driver’s license suspension.
Perform Community Service Before Pre-Trial
Before appearing for your pre-trial conference or sentencing it may be a good idea to have some community service completed ahead of time. There are several reasons why this may be a good idea.
First, in many counties, such as Ada County the courts count each 8 hours of community service performed as a day in jail. Therefore, if the judge were to order that you serve 5 days of jail, but you already had 40 hours of community service complete prior to pre-trial or sentencing, you would likely avoid any jail time. This is especially important if you plead guilty to a second time DUI, in which case the judge would order that you serve twenty (20) days of jail. If you already had 160 hours of community service complete, you would likely avoid jail time. Second, if you perform community service in lieu of jail after the pre-trial conference, the judge will order that you perform community service through the Ada County Sheriff. The Ada County Sheriff will charge fees for community service. Therefore, if you have already performed the community service ahead of time, you avoid these fees. Finally, the Ada County Sheriff will dictate when the hours must be complete and it is in their discretion whether to allow you to perform community service. You have better control of your life if you perform community service before attending the pre-trial conference or sentencing hearing.
You will want to keep track of all hours performed and have the community service organization sign off on those hours and/or write a letter confirming that you have performed the requisite hours. You must perform community service at a non-profit organization. It is especially important to perform community service ahead of time if you live outside Idaho, unless you want to spend some quality time within our beautiful state.
Listed below are some suggestions of organizations within the Treasure Valley that will allow you to perform community service. If you do not live in Idaho, many of these organizations have local chapters within each state. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but merely a few suggestions.
- Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity
- Idaho Humane Society
- Discovery Center of Idaho
- Boise VA Medical Center
- Salvation Army
- St. Vincent’s Thrift Stores
- Friends in Action
- Idaho Red Cross
- Meals on Wheels
- Idaho Foodbank
- Easter Seals
- Toys for Tots
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Boise Rescue Mission
- Boys and Girls Club of Nampa
- Boys and Girls Club of Ada County Idaho
- Children’s Home Society of Idaho
- Gem Family Resource Center
- Genesis World Mission
- Idaho Youth Ranch
- Idaho YMCA
- Women and Children’s Alliance
- Terry Reilly Services
- Create Common Good
- Jesse Tree of Idaho
- Idaho Legal Aid
- Girl Scouts of Silver Sage
- St Luke’s Medical Center
- City of Boise Parks and Recreation
Attend The Pre-Trial Conference
In most cases you must appear in court with your attorney for a Pre-Trial Conference. However, if you live outside Idaho, arrangements can generally be made between your attorney and the court that allows for your attorney to appear without your being present. Some Idaho counties are more lenient than others in regards to allowing your counsel to appear on your behalf without you present. It is preferred that you are present for the Pre-Trial Conference. Your presence shows the judge and prosecutor that you take your charges seriously. Your attorney will also be more effective in negotiations if he has your immediate input. Finally, some judges will issue bench warrants if you are not present with your attorney at the Pre-Trial Conference. At Pre-Trial your attorney and the Prosecuting Attorney will make every effort to come to an agreement that will avoid the necessity of a jury trial. However, in some cases an agreement cannot be reached between the Prosecutor, yourself and your attorney and the case will proceed to jury trial. If a settlement is reached and the case can proceed to sentencing on the date set for Pre-Trial. If sentencing takes place at the Pre-Trial Conference, you will need to have a new Restricted Driver’s License Application ready for submission to the judge. Upon sentencing, the Restricted Permit issued by the Department of Transportation becomes null and void. The judge will issue a new permit. You will need to fill out the proper Judicial Restricted Driver’s License Application. Again, you will need to attach a copy of your proof of insurance and proof of reinstatement (receipt from paying the reinstatement fee) to the completed application form and have all of this ready to go when you go to the Pre-Trial Conference and/or the Sentencing Hearing. You do not want a lapse to occur between your ITD issued restricted license and the judicially issued restricted driver’s license. This is one more reason that it is important for you to be present at the Pre-Trial Conference. Finally, you should bring your alcohol evaluation, proof of completion of your alcohol classes, proof of completion of the victim’s panel and any other relevant documentation with you when you appear at the Pre-Trial Conference.
Do Not Get A Driving Without Privileges (DWP)
It is important that you have a firm understanding of the driver’s license suspension in Idaho. If you do not understand the timelines associated with the suspension you are likely to get pulled over and receive a Driving Without Privileges charge. The penalties for a DWP are unpleasant in and of themselves. Generally, you can drive for the first 30 days after you are charged with a DUI in Idaho. The second 30 days you are not supposed to drive at all, and if caught driving the Boise police officer or other Idaho law enforcement officer will charge you with DWP. If you have a restricted driver’s license or permit after the thirty day absolute period of suspension has passed and you get caught driving outside the limits of the restricted permit, the police officer will charge you with a DWP and you are likely to suffer the associated DWP penalties. Whether you were confused about the drivers license suspension or not, the prosecuting attorney will not be lenient if you are caught driving on an Idaho DUI suspension. They will refuse to reduce the DWP to an invalid license and will ask for additional drivers license suspension time, jail time, probation time and additional fines. Worst of all, if you have already been sentenced and are on unsupervised probation or supervised probation for the DUI, the DWP will likely give the prosecutor the opportunity to file a probation violation. For some reason prosecutors find great joy in filing probation violations, so don’t give them the opportunity. Do not get caught driving on a suspension that resulted from your DUI and do not get caught driving outside of the restrictions of your restricted license.
If you have plead guilty or been found guilty of an Idaho DUI charge your insurance company may discover the charge and drop you as an insured customer. If that happens you will need to obtain a new insurance policy. You will also need to carry SR22 on your insurance. Not all insurance companies offer SR22 so it is important that you get an insurance policy that includes SR22. One company that offers SR22 is Progressive. I would recommend that you use an insurance agent to help you with your insurance questions and needs. Clear Lakes Agency is a local agency that works with multiple insurance companies. They should be able to find you the best insurance rates that include SR22. You must carry SR22 for several years after being sentenced on a DUI unless you receive a Withheld Judgment. If you are granted a Withheld Judgment you will only need to carry SR22 for the first year following your sentencing hearing. When the case is dismissed at the end of your probationary period under the Withheld Judgment you will no longer need to carry SR22.
Contact A DUI Attorney
The above information is meant to help assist client’s through the confusing process of an Idaho Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol Charge. By no means is it possible to explain every important detail of defending a DUI charge on our website. To protect your rights and to avoid the multitude of potential pitfalls that can occur after being charged with a DUI, contact our team at your earliest convenience or dial 208-435-1132.
Impaired Driving – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Information and resources on drunk driving from a legal and social viewpoint and with a goal of prevention.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Link to informational chart about the drunk-driving laws of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
Center for Disease Control (CDC) – Impaired Driving facts, data, publications and other helpful information involving impaired drivers.
The Century Council – A not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.
How a DUI Conviction Affects Your Insurance – Description of the effect that a DUI may have on an insured’s auto policy, from Progressive.
Alcohol Problems and Solutions – Comprehensive, highly acclaimed Web site about alcohol consumption, alcoholism and drunk driving by David J. Hanson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the State University of New York at Potsdam.
National Conference of State Legislatures: State Drunk-Driving Laws – A survey of the drunk-driving laws throughout the US by topic and state. This site also provides information regarding penalties for drunk driving and additional resource links.
Insurance Information Institute (III) – Drunk Driving – Hot Topic and Issue Update article on drunk driving.
DWI/DUI Violation Overview – A brief overview of drunk driving violations provided by the Legal Information Institute (LII) at the Cornell Law School.
How Can YOU Avoid DUI In Boise, Idaho, Or Elsewhere?
The best way to avoid a DUI in Boise or elsewhere is to not drink and drive. If you are with a group, designate a sober driver, take a taxi, or make arrangements before you go out drinking to have someone drive you home.
How can the Idaho police spot a DUI driver?
- Wide turns
- Crossing lines
- Weaving or swerving
- Stopping without cause
- Driving very fast or slow
- Slow response to traffic signals
- An accident
- Call from another driver
The more of these signs the driver displays, the greater the chance that the driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs.
Idaho Penalties for Standard Non-Excessive DUI
The FIRST DUI In Idaho
- Misdemeanor violation
- Jail: up to 6 months
- Fines: up to $1,000
- License suspension: 90 to 180 days
The SECOND DUI within 10 Years in Idaho
- Misdemeanor violation
- Jail: 10 days mandatory, up to 1 year
- Fines: up to $2,000
- License suspension: 1 year mandatory after release from confinement with no driving privileges of any kind
- Ignition interlock mandatory
The THIRD DUI within 10 Years in Idaho
- Felony violation
- Jail: 30 days mandatory, up to 5 years
- Fines: up to $5,000
- License suspension: Up to 5 years, 1 year mandatory after release from confinement with no driving privileges of any kind
- Ignition interlock mandatory
Enhanced Penalties for BAC Levels of 0.20% or Greater in Idaho
First Offense Excessive DUI in Idaho
- Misdemeanor violation
- Jail: 10 days mandatory, up to 1 year
- Fines: up to $2,000
- License suspension: 1 year mandatory after release from confinement with no driving privileges of any kind
Second Offense Excessive DUI in Idaho within 5 Years
- Felony violation
- Jail: mandatory 30 days in the county jail, or up to 5 years in the state penitentiary
- Fines: up to $5,000
- License suspension: up to 5 years, 1 year mandatory after release from confinement with no driving privileges of any kind
- Ignition interlock mandatory
Aggravated DUI and Third Offense Excessive DUI in Idaho
It is a felony to cause serious injury to another person while driving under the influence. Jail time, fines and driving suspension are enhanced. Enhanced Penalties for BAC Levels of 0.20% or Greater (Idaho Code 18-8005). As a weapon against the dangers of repeat drunk drivers Idaho requires the installation of a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) on any vehicle a repeat DUI offender drives. This device requires a breath sample and if alcohol is detected the car will not start.
Idaho’s Repeat DUI Offender Law (Idaho Code 18-8008)
Idaho law enforcement officers are trained to detect a person driving under the influence (DUI). Each year, over 10,000 drivers are arrested in Idaho for DUI. If you drive under the influence, the chances are you will be arrested. If the police officer has cause to believe that you are driving under the influence, you will be asked to take a BAC test. Under Idaho law, if you refuse, your driver’s license will be taken away and your driving privileges will be suspended for 1 year along with a $250 civil penalty. If the officer suspects you are using drugs, he can request an additional test to determine drug use.
As public attitudes have changed, the percentage of alcohol-related collisions has decreased. But, impaired driving still takes far too great a human and economic toll. Over 39% of Idaho’s fatal collisions are caused by people driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs. In Idaho, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or with a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, and 0.02% or greater if you are under 21. It is also illegal to operate a commercial vehicle with a BAC level of 0.04% or more.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Idaho, contact our attorney, Jared Martens, at 208-435-1132 at your earliest convenience. As you can see, DUI in Idaho is taken seriously by the Idaho police and court system. For more information on a Boise, Nampa or Caldwell DUI, go to our general DUI page.
The Prosecutor’s Role In A Drunk-Driving Case
Prosecution refers to the government’s role in the criminal-justice system. When criminal activity is suspected, it is up to the government to investigate, arrest, charge and bring the alleged offender to trial. A prosecutor is a lawyer who works for the government and who is responsible for developing and presenting the government’s case against a criminal defendant. Prosecutors may be called county attorneys, city attorneys, district attorneys or states’ attorneys. Some jurisdictions may even have experienced police officers act as prosecutors in drunk-driving cases. The prosecutor is the opponent or “adversary” of the criminal defendant and his or her attorney; the two sides go head-to-head against each other in court.
Because these prosecutor’s focus their attention on prosecuting criminal cases, they are generally very experienced. Therefore it is extremely important for a drunk-driving defendant to consult an attorney who has experience defending people charged with driving while intoxicated. If you are concerned about preserving your rights as a defendant and want to strike a fair balance in court, call our firm to speak with a criminal-defense attorney who is knowledgeable in impaired-driving law.
Prosecutors decide whether to pursue drunk-driving cases in court. A prosecutor usually becomes involved in a drunk-driving case through a referral from the police who have investigated, arrested, searched and processed an alleged offender. In making the decision whether to go forward with a case, the prosecutor usually considers three things: whether the case is legally sound, whether it can be proven and the relevant policy considerations. If the prosecutor exercises his or her prosecutorial discretion by deciding not to go forward with a case, it will usually be over. The prosecutor must be convinced that there is enough reliable evidence to prove the drunk-driving charge before he or she will bring the case to trial. For example, if the breathalyzer machine malfunctioned or the test results were lost, the prosecutor may decide to dismiss the case because crucial evidence would be missing or substantially weakened. Because the prosecutor’s job is to serve justice in the public interest and not only to win every possible case, policy considerations are always part of the decision to prosecute a particular defendant. The defendant might have mental or physical problems that make a pretrial diversion program, like alcohol or drug treatment or a suspended prosecution, a better option than trial. Finally, a prosecutor must consider the limited resources of his or her office when choosing which crimes to pursue.
Prosecutors represent the government — the city, county or state — in drunk-driving Cases. The filing of a complaint or other official document by the prosecutor officially starts the drunk-driving court case. The prosecutor appears at the defendant’s initial hearing before a judge to represent the government with regard to pretrial release issues like bail. If the prosecutor has no objection to the defendant’s release before trial, bail is generally allowed. At trial, the prosecutor is allowed to go first and presents the government’s case against the defendant. The government must prove each element of the drunk-driving charge beyond a reasonable doubt, based on relevant, credible evidence elicited through the testimony of competent witnesses. In drunk-driving cases, the arresting officer is generally one of the key witnesses for the prosecution. The prosecutor also participates in requesting or objecting to jury instructions given by the judge at the end of the trial, although jury trials are not available in all drunk-driving cases. The prosecutor may also be called on to defend the government’s sentencing recommendation, if there is a dispute over the appropriate sentence to be imposed.
Prosecutors have a lot of power and influence in drunk-driving cases. They take the case from the police and decide whether to pursue it in court; they represent the government in court and pursue a conviction; and they may recommend a particular sentence, if the defendant is found guilty. Prosecuting criminal cases is what prosecutors do day-in and day-out. Accordingly, if you have been charged with impaired or drunk driving, it is very important that your lawyer is smart, tough and experienced. Contact Martens Law Offices P.C. in Boise, Idaho, now to speak to a knowledgeable drunk-driving defense attorney.
As of Jan. 1, 2019, Idaho will mandate that judges order the installation of interlock devices as a penalty during sentencing in all drunk-driving cases, including first time offenses.
The new law will require that the offender pay for the device. The cost usually includes an installation fee and a monthly rental fee . Under the new law, the offender will be required to have the interlock device for one year, even for a first time offense.
It is important to speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney if you are charged with a DUI.
What Is An Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device is a small device (about the size of a cellphone) that is installed in a car that measures a person’s BAC level. If a person blows into the device and it registers a BAC level that is above a certain amount, the car will not start. The driver must also give breath samples during the drive. This prevents an intoxicated person from having a sober friend blow into it in order to start the car so he or she can drive away. Ignition interlock devices use fuel-cell sensor technology to detect alcohol. Devices can record data such as the test results for alcohol levels, engine stops and starts and any attempts to tamper with the device.
Potential Problems with Ignition Interlock Devices
The use of ignition interlock devices should curtail drunk driving and prevent individuals from driving when they are intoxicated. In addition, using them can help people who have been convicted of drunk driving show the court and prosecutors that they have stayed sober. However, there may be some potential problems with the use of such devices.
- False positives: The devices may detect alcohol if a driver has recently used mouthwash that contains alcohol or if a person has eaten certain baked goods containing sugar and yeast, which have been known to cause low alcohol levels.
- Malfunctions: The devices use complex fuel-cell technology, and there is a possibility that the device could malfunction resulting in incorrect readings.
- Shared vehicles: If the person who is required to use the ignition interlock device shares a car with a spouse or another person, that other person will need to use it as well.
This new law requires the installation of an interlock device when convicted of a DUI. If you have questions about the use of these devices, contact our experienced DUI/DWI attorney in Boise, Idaho.
Call our team at Martens Law Office, P.C., for a free initial consultation. We would be happy to assess your case and provide you with sound legal advice regarding your DUI charge. Contact us at 208-435-1132 today.
If you have been accused of public intoxication or possession of an open container, it is critical that you have an experienced attorney on your side that is familiar with Idaho’s court system. At Martens Law Office, P.C., attorney Jared Martens will work diligently on your behalf to defend your rights.
To discuss your legal needs with an experienced attorney, contact our firm to arrange your free initial consultation.
You Need to Take This Seriously
Alcohol-related charges need to be taken very seriously and handled carefully. A conviction could affect your livelihood for years in addition to the immediate penalties you face. Our team takes a smart approach to defending people from charges of public intoxication and open container violations.
Attorney Jared Martens has an impeccable record of vigorously defending clients against public intoxication and open container violations. Whether you were arrested walking home from a party or found with a beer on your bike, he has the ability to mount an aggressive defense and make sure your side of the story is heard.
Specifics Of Idaho And Boise Law
In Idaho it is a misdemeanor for any pedestrian who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs to walk on any road or highway if in doing so the person would present a hazard to himself, herself or others. Those who are under the influence are required to stay on the sidewalk. However, city codes may also make walking on the sidewalk while under the influence a criminal offense. In Boise, the Boise City Code makes it a misdemeanor for a pedestrian under the influence to be found anywhere in public if their level of intoxication would present a hazard or rise to the level of disturbing the peace. The punishment under the Boise City Code carries up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. The same penalties are possible if someone is found with an open container of any sort that contains alcohol of any sort.
We see the charge of “open container” being charged frequently in Boise. This is especially true during Boise State football games. So long as the alcohol is in a generic cup the police do not issue tickets for open container as long as you stay within the confines of the Boise State football parking lot. However, the second you step onto a public street or sidewalk with the open container the police are aggressive in their ticket writing practices. The charge of drunk in public on the other hand is charged less commonly and generally occurs in downtown Boise near the time that the bars close down on Friday and Saturday nights.
You don’t understand the legal system. You need a lawyer who does.
Jared Martens has extensive criminal defense trial experience in the Boise area. He understands what the prosecution is after and what judges are looking for. He will explore every legal option available to you as he defends you against these charges.
If you are facing charges involving an open container or public intoxication, you need to do everything in your power to defend your rights. The first step is choosing a skilled criminal defense attorney. Contact our firm today at 208-435-1132 to arrange your free initial consultation.