Asserting Your Rights And Protecting Your Future

Answers To Common Questions About DUI Arrests

Getting a DUI in Idaho means that you must complete the Idaho Criminal Case Process and defend yourself from allegations leveled against you by a member of law enforcement or the community. Most DUIs start with an arrest, then an arraignment, a pretrial conference, and may end up in a trial.

Driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI) or other alcohol-related cases are serious charges. You will need an Idaho criminal defense lawyer who specializes in alcohol-related crimes. Alcohol-related crimes are especially damaging to your reputation, ability to find work, and family relationships. According to the Fourth Judicial District Court, the criminal case process starts when “an individual is accused of conduct that has potentially damaged society.” Most DUI cases are prosecuted as a misdemeanor but may have additional circumstances that could rise to the level of a felony. While misdemeanors may bring fines and imprisonment in the county jail, a felony conviction means you could be incarcerated in the state penitentiary, pay larger fines, parole and a devastating entry onto your criminal record.

What Is The Misdemeanor Criminal Case Process?

  1. Most DUI cases begin with an arrest. Shortly after your arrest, you should find skillful and aggressive representation prior to arraignment.
  2. Arraignment: If you are charged with a misdemeanor, the First Appearance and Arraignment are combined. You will be given an opportunity to obtain private legal representation or a public defender and you may enter a plea.
  3. Pre-trial conference: If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you may receive a pretrial conference where the prosecution and defense will discuss the merits of your case and the likelihood of continuing to trial. This is where your past conduct, prior convictions and other circumstances may be used to dissuade aggressive prosecution.
  4. Plea bargaining: Your attorney may engage in plea bargaining in a misdemeanor case and will find opportunities to negotiate on your behalf. Many misdemeanor cases end in plea bargaining.
  5. Trial: Misdemeanor cases that fail plea bargaining will proceed to trial at the magistrate court.

What Is The Felony Criminal Case Process?

  1. Again, most DUI cases begin with an arrest. In the case of a felony DUI charge, you would have already obtained two prior DUI convictions or another excessive prior conviction.
  2. First appearance: You will be brought before a magistrate judge to ensure that your Miranda rights are processed and that you have selected legal counsel. You will NOT enter a plea at this time.
  3. Preliminary hearing: On advice from counsel, you must determine to if you want a preliminary hearing. This “mock trial” requires the prosecutor to present evidence that warrants probable cause. The magistrate judge may choose to dismiss or reduce the charges. This is a complicated process and requires an Idaho criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable and prepared to evaluate and possibly exclude evidence and witnesses. You will not argue your case at this time. Supposing that any felony charges remain, you will be bound over to district court for arraignment.
  4. Arraignment: You will again be advised of your rights. At this time, you will either enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Your bond will be set.
  5. Trial: This is your opportunity to refute the prosecution’s case and present your case. If found guilty or if you pleaded guilty during arraignment you will remain in jail until sentencing.
  6. Pre-sentence investigation: The court will most likely order a pre-sentence investigation to ascertain your background, social and medical histories and other private issues that may influence your sentence.
  7. Sentencing: The judge will pronounce the terms of the sentence.

The costs of a DUI in Idaho are: 1st Offense: $1,000 maximum fine; 2nd Offense: $2,000 maximum fine; 3rd Offense: $5,000 maximum fine. However, court costs, license re-instating your license, attorney’s fees, vehicle interlock systems and alcohol education will likely cost thousands more. The following scenarios are a good rule of thumb in Idaho:

Cost for First Conviction DUI

  • Fines: up to $1,000
  • Ignition Interlock: $1,000 – $2,250
  • License Reinstatement Fee: $15.00 to $285.00
  • Alcohol Education: up to $2,000
  • SR-22 Insurance for 3 years: *$2,000 – $3,000
  • Court Costs: *$175
  • Bail: *$500 to $10,000

Total Estimate: $11,690 – $23,710

Cost for Second Conviction DUI

  • Fines: up to $2,000
  • Ignition Interlock: $1,000 – $2,250
  • License Reinstatement Fee: $15.00 to $285.00
  • Alcohol Education: up to $2,000
  • SR-22 Insurance for 3 years: *$2,000 – $3,000
  • Court Costs: *$175
  • Bail: *$500 to $10,000

Total Estimate: $12,690 – $29,710

Cost for Third Conviction DUI

  • Fines: up to $5,000
  • Ignition Interlock: $1,000 – $2,250
  • License Reinstatement Fee: $15.00 to $285.00
  • Alcohol Education: up to $2,000
  • SR-22 Insurance for 3 years: *$3,000 – $6,000
  • Court Costs: *$175
  • Bail: *Up to $50,000

Total Estimate: $21,190 – $90,710

* This document is for reference only and is NOT an estimate for your expected fees and/or attorney’s fees.

The first and second convictions of a DUI are misdemeanors. Only the first excessive DUI is a misdemeanor. The third charge for a misdemeanor will be a felony if it’s within 10 years. The second excessive DUI will also be a felony.

A DUI conviction will go on your driving record and will stay. There is no way to expunge a charge from your record. The Idaho DMV will report the DUI conviction to your insurance company for three years. During the three-year span, your insurance rates will increase.

SR22 must be maintained for a period of three years. During this time your rates will surely go up. SR22 is required to reinstate driving privileges.

SR22, Safety Responsibility, car insurance is a type of car liability insurance required by the state if the driver is labeled as high-risk. High-risk drivers include those who have had their driving privileges suspended for DUI, reckless driving, or driving without insurance, or who have a high number of violations or unpaid tickets.

The Idaho Transportation Department uses a demerit system for regulating the habits of drivers behind the wheel. The number of points placed on a driver’s record depends on the infraction in question. The accumulation of too many points will result in license suspensions.

A DUI in Idaho does not have any points associated with it. However, there are other more severe consequences, which can include monetary repercussions. The first DUI offense for adult drivers will include a 90- to 180-day license suspension, up to six months in jail, and fines up to $1,000. Subsequent DUI charges result in larger fines, longer suspensions, and other consequences.

The penalties for excessive DUI include:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • License suspension
  • Alcohol evaluation
  • Ignition interlock device


The maximum fine you can receive for an excessive DUI conviction is $2,000 for a first time offense and up to $5,000 for a second. This does not include other fines or fees like attorney fees, bail, or court costs.

Jail Time

A minimum of 10 days jail time, but the state can impose a sentence of up to a year in jail for the first offense. The first 48 hours of jail time will be consecutive regardless of sentence length. Jail time increases to a 30 day mandatory sentence with a maximum of 5 years in the state penitentiary.

License Suspension

A first offense excessive DUI will have a 1 year mandatory license suspension after release from confinement without driving privileges of any kind. A second offense increases the license suspension to a maximum of five years.

Alcohol Evaluation

If charged, you will undergo alcohol evaluation. Counseling, alcohol education, and rehabilitation are possibilities.

Ignition Interlock Device

You will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle once driving privileges have been restored.

The penalties for first time excessive DUI include a minimum of 10 days of jail, maximum fines of $2,000, mandatory alcohol evaluation, alcohol education, mandatory victim’s panel, 1 year driver’s license suspension, and SR-22 high risk insurance.

If a driver is charged with DUI and has a prior conviction within the last 10 years, that driver will be charged with a second DUI. It is up to the judge to determine a defendant’s sentence.

The second DUI conviction requires at least two days in jail, but can be up to one year. Fines can be up to $2,000. It is still considered a misdemeanor.

What About Two Excessive DUI Convictions?

If the driver faces an excessive DUI charge and has a previous conviction of excessive DUI within 5 years it becomes a felony violation. The driver will face a mandatory 30 days in county jail, or up to five years in the state penitentiary. Fines increase to $5,000, and driver’s license suspension lasts for 5 years with one year mandatory no driving privileges upon release and the installation of an ignition interlock device.

In Idaho, it is illegal to drive with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08% or more or 0.02% if the driver is under the age of 21.

It is important to note the best way to avoid a DUI is to not drive if you have drank any alcohol. Use a designated driver, taxi, or make other arrangements before you go out drinking.