Asserting Your Rights And Protecting Your Future

Can an Idaho DUI Court help you?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | DUI

Many people charged with driving under the influence (DUI) infractions have no past history of run-ins with the police and are unlikely to reoffend. However, for those who are dependent on alcohol and/or drugs, a criminal sentence may not prevent them from driving under the influence or committing other offenses again in the future.

Treatment can be a productive way of preventing recidivism – and helping those facing a DUI charge over the long run. That’s why Idaho has DUI Courts throughout the state. These courts began after the Idaho Drug Court Act of 2001 was passed. This law was enacted with several goals in mind, including “reducing alcohol and drug abuse and dependency” while still holding impaired driving offenders accountable and helping them “develop and maintain a productive, drug and alcohol free lifestyle.”

Who qualifies?

To qualify for participation in the DUI Court program, a person must (among other things):

  • Have a substance use disorder (SUD) that can be helped by treatment
  • Plead guilty to a “qualifying DUI offense”
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have no sexual assault felonies on their record

If a person has a record involving a crime involving violence or use of a weapon, prosecution approval is required to participate in the program.

What does a participant need to do and for how long?

The program lasts for at least a year. It may be longer depending on an individual’s progress. It consists of, in part:

  • Treatment for substance abuse and other types of counseling as needed
  • Random drug testing
  • Help as needed with education, vocational training, employment and housing

The program involves “regular judicial contact,” so a participant must be prepared for that. However, it’s far less “judicial contact” than spending time in jail.

What happens to a charge after someone successfully completes the program?

If a charge is a misdemeanor, it’s generally withheld if a person enters the DUI Court program. If someone has been charged with a felony, after completion, they can petition for it to be dismissed or amended. They may still be subject to probation.

This is just a brief overview of Idaho’s DUI Court program. It’s important to know that it may be an available option for those who are eligible. If a DUI is the “last straw” a person needs to commit to getting help, it can give them valuable resources to do so while saving them from a damaging criminal record.

If you have been charged with an impaired driving offense, it’s important to know more about the program and whether you can meet the requirements before applying for it. Having sound legal guidance can help you make the best decision for you and, if DUI Court is, help you navigate the process.