It is a crime in the state of Idaho to operate a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. You can be charged with a DWI, also called an OVUII, if your blood alcohol content is greater than .08 percent or if an officer determines that you are influenced by alcohol in an amount sufficient to impair normal mental faculties. For commercial vehicle drivers, the legal limit is .04 percent, and for drivers younger than the age of 21, it is .02 percent.
You can also be charged with a DWI in Idaho if you are under the influence of any amount of a drug or substance that impairs your ability to drive. It is at an officer’s discretion to determine if you appear to be impaired. While Idaho does allow marijuana use for some medical conditions, having a legal status as a medical patient does not grant any leeway in DWI thresholds or penalties. If any amount of marijuana or metabolite is found in your blood, it can be grounds for a DWI charge.
Idaho’s implied consent law states that anyone operating a vehicle on the state’s roads or waterways automatically gives consent to a breath, blood or urine test for alcohol and drugs at a police officer’s discretion. The first refusal of such a test results in an automatic suspension of the driver’s license for a period of one year. This is separate from any DWI charge that may or may not occur. Subsequent refusals add a potential two to five years to the suspension. Unlike many other states, refusal of a test in Idaho cannot be entered into court later as an admission of guilt.
A fourth DWI in Idaho rises to the level of a class C felony charge. However, there is a lookback period of five years. Only offenses committed in the previous five years are counted toward the current total of DWIs.
A DWI also becomes a felony charge automatically if any other person is injured in an alcohol-related incident. If another person is killed in the course of a DWI, the charge can rise to manslaughter or vehicular homicide.
Recent Changes to Idaho DWI Law
As of January 2011, anyone arrested for a DWI is required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device for a specified period at their own expense. The period is determined by the circumstances of the case and is at the judge’s discretion. Driver’s licenses will also be suspended during this period and replaced with a temporary permit that indicates that an ignition interlock device must be in place in any vehicle that the driver is operating. Drivers who have refused to be tested will have their licenses suspended for one year but may obtain one of these restricted permits to drive with during that period.
Legislation is currently being considered by the state to lower the per se BAC limit for drivers from .08 percent to .05 percent.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Idaho?
The legal alcohol limit in Idaho is .08 percent for passenger vehicle drivers age 21 and over. Commercial vehicle operators must adhere to a stricter limit of .04 percent, and individuals not of legal drinking age can be cited for alcohol-related driving offenses if any trace of alcohol shows up in a breath or blood test.
Idaho punishes people severely for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII), an offense equivalent to DUI and DWI designations in other states. Some of the punishments that a person could face for a first conviction include:
- Required participation in a 14-hour substance abuse rehabilitation program
- Revocation of a driver’s license for one year
- Mandatory compliance with ignition interlock law
- Community service of 72 hours
- Between two and five days in jail
- A fine of between $150 and $1,000 (plus surcharges)
These penalties may result from having a blood alcohol concentration between .08 and .15 percent; offenses involving a higher BAC typically result in aggravated charges that can yield enhanced penalties. Repeat offenses committed within a five-year span also typically result in stronger punishment.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Idaho
Idaho requires people convicted of a DWI offense to install an ignition interlock device (IID). This piece of equipment is wired into the ignition system of a vehicle and prevents an engine from turning over if a person submits a failing breath sample.
Conditions of an IID include:
- The expense of installing a device is the responsibility the convicted individual.
- The device must be monitored regularly by a state-authorized vendor.
- Any record of failed tests can be used to justify additional penalties.
An ignition interlock device comes with potential negatives, but most OVUII offenders opt for one given the benefit of having a license reinstated.
Idaho DWI Penalties
In the state of Idaho, as in all 50 states, being found operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of over .08 percent may result in a DUI conviction and associated penalties. A person who is found to have a BAC of .15 percent or higher may face aggravated penalties. Penalties may be also be enhanced if a person is found to be operating a vehicle under the influence with a passenger who is younger than the age of 15. In Idaho, any minor found operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02 percent or higher is also subject to DUI laws with similar penalties, and commercial drivers in Idaho are barred from operating a vehicle if they have a blood alcohol content of .04 percent or higher. In some cases, Idaho DUI penalties may include the installation of an ignition interlock device, or IID. Since 2011, the cost of installation and leasing fee of the device must be paid for the person facing conviction. If a person’s license has been suspended, they may be eligible to receive a temporary permit that allows them to operate a vehicle if an IID is installed.
In Idaho, the implied consent law mandates that, if you are driving a vehicle, you have given your consent to a chemical analysis if an officer of the law has reasonable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This could be a blood, breath or urine analysis, at the discretion of the officer. Refusal to submit to this analysis carries its own penalties, and the penalties must be notified of the penalties for refusal by the officer requesting the test. A first offense is punishable by a mandatory one year suspension of the offender’s license, while second and third convictions within a five year period will result in a two year suspension.
1st DUI Offense
In Idaho, penalties for a first DUI offense include a mandatory substance abuse program. Mandatory license suspension for a first offense is one year, with possible limited driving privileges to allow the defendant to get to and from work, at the discretion of the court. If a person is found to have been highly intoxicated, an additional six months may be added to the suspension. Jail time may also be sentenced at a judge’s discretion. A 72-hour sentence of mandatory community may also be administered, and fines for a conviction may range from $150 to $1000.
2nd DUI Offense
A second DUI offense may result in a license suspension period that may range from 18 months to two years, and may also be punishable by fines between $500 and $1,500. If a child under the age of 15 was in the vehicle, an additional $500 fine may be sentenced. Penalties may also include jail time between five to 30 days or 240 hours of community service.
Three or more DUI conviction within a five year period may result in a felony conviction. Sentencing for a third offense includes mandatory jail time of no less than 10 days and no more than 30, as well as a license suspension lasting two years. Potential fines for a third offense are between $500 and $2,500.According to Idaho statutes, it is unlawful for individuals to operate or be in physical control a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance. “Physical control” is defined as being in the driver’s position of a vehicle while the vehicle’s motor is running or being in the driver’s position while the vehicle is in motion. An individual who is over the age of 21 may be considered under the influence if that person has a blood alcohol content, or BAC, of .08 percent or above. Commercial drivers are considered impaired if their BAC is .04 or above. Individuals under the age of 21 are considered to be under the influence of alcohol if their BAC is .02 or above.
If person is driving a motor vehicle or in physical control of a vehicle in the state of Idaho has, according to state statues, given consent to testing for the presence of drugs, alcohol or other intoxicating substances. When a test for such substances is requested by authorities, a person is not afforded to right to consult with an attorney and must be informed of the penalties related to failure to submit or complete the test. Such penalties may include a fine and the suspension of driving privileges for a prescribed about of time, and the severity of the penalties may be aggravated by multiple refusals in a 10-year period.
Felony Idaho DUI Laws
A person who is convicted of their first DUI in 10 years is guilty of a misdemeanor. If a person is convicted of a third DUI in the past 10 year, that person is guilty of a felony. Felony charges may also be levied against an individual who has caused injury to another person while driving under the influence. Conviction of felony charges results in enhanced penalties, including extended periods of incarceration and larger fines.
Recent Changes to Idaho DUI Laws
House Bill 61, which was passed on Feb. 23, 2011, amended state statutes under Title 18, Chapter 80, which outlines crimes and punishments regarding the operation of a motor vehicle. Previously, state statute required that the a person who refuses to submit or complete an evidentiary blood alcohol content test would have his or her driver’s license seized by authorities who would then give them a temporary permit allowing the person to operate a vehicle until a requested hearing regarding the suspension of the driver’s license. The bill removed language that required an officer to seize the license and removed the provisions for issuing a temporary driving permit. The legislation was enacted on May 1, 2011.
On Apr. 8, 2011, House Bill 227 also made changes to same statutes. The legislation allows individuals who have had driving privileges suspended due to refusal of an evidentiary blood alcohol content test to pursue a restricted driving permit if they have served at least 45 days in a problem-solving court program. The restricted permit allows the holder to operate a vehicle for the purpose of traveling to work, school or an alcohol treatment program. The provisions of the bill came into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Idaho?
In Idaho, driving under the influence (DUI) offenses are typically filed against people who register a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or greater. This legal alcohol limit applies to people 21 and over who are driving passenger vehicles. The limit is stricter for drivers not of legal drinking age (.02 percent) and operators of commercial vehicles (.04 percent).
People found guilty of driving under the influence face severe penalties, potentially including:
- For a first offense, charged as a misdemeanor, a person may need to pay a fine of $1,000, spend up to six months in jail and contend with a license suspension of 180 days.
- For a second offense, also a misdemeanor, a convicted individual could have to pay a fine of up to $2,000, spend a year in jail and endure a year without driving privileges.
- For a third offense, charged as a felony, a person may face a fine of $5,000, five years in jail and a license suspension of five years.
People who have a BAC well over the legal limit (.20 percent or greater) usually face enhanced penalties for convictions. Aggravated DUI offenses, such as those involving serious injury to another person, are also more severely punished in Idaho.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Idaho
An ignition interlock device (IID) requires a passing breath test in order to start a vehicle’s engine. The device is intended to prevent people with DUI convictions from repeat offending. Conditions attached the IID include:
- All costs related installation and maintenance are the responsibility of the convicted individual.
- Device installation must be performed by an authorized service provider.
- Failed tests or evidence of tampering can result in additional penalties.
IID use is not mandatory of for first-time DUI offenses, but a judge may independently require it. People with a second (or subsequent) conviction are required to have the IID installed in order to regain driving privileges.
Idaho DUI Penalties
As in most other states, a driver in Idaho is considered intoxicated and may be arrested if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater. A BAC of this number is the only proof necessary to charge a driver with a DUI or DWI offense. However, depending on the circumstances, other BAC levels can lead to Idaho DUI penalties. Minors cannot have a BAC of .02 percent or greater, for instance, and commercial drivers cannot have a BAC exceeding .03 percent.
A DUI may also result if one’s BAC is less than .08 percent if the driver is found to be under the influence of another intoxicant as well. A BAC of .15 to .20 percent can result in stiffer penalties above and beyond the normal penalties for the various levels of offense. Idaho’s implied consent law further says that a driver consents to BAC tests simply by driving a motor vehicle. Therefore, if the driver refuses the test, he or she can still be charged.
1st DUI Offense
A first DUI offense in Idaho can result in up to six months of jail time, a maximum $1,000 fine, 30 days of mandatory license suspension of between 90 and 180 days, and it may extend to a year if the driver is a minor. Refusing to take a BAC test serves even stiffer penalties, including a $250 fine and one year of license suspension. It may be possible to mediate these Idaho DUI penalties by installing an ignition interlock device for strictly necessary driving, such as from work or school.
2nd DUI Offense
A second DUI conviction in Idaho carries a possible mandatory jail time of at least 10 days, which can be extended to a year, 30 days if the driver is a minor and a maximum $2,000 fine. A one-year license suspension is possible for drivers older than 21, and this will extend to two years if the driver is under 21. Refusing the BAC test a second time amounts to a two-year license suspension and a $250 fine.
3rd DUI Offense
A third DUI conviction in Idaho within a five-year time period is considered a felony. This also means jail time of at least 30 days and up to five years. Fines can be up to $5,000, and license suspension can range from one to five years, or it could last two years if the driver is a minor. A third offense of the state’s implied consent law carries the same consequences as the second offense.
Unlike some states, Idaho does not have mandatory vehicle confiscation or installation of an ignition interlock device. The latter is a choice in some cases if drivers want to retain some necessary driving privileges. Alcohol treatment and education programs are also possible alternatives to jail time or fines, but they are not necessarily required. The most severe DUI consequences usually result from the driver’s BAC significantly exceeding the legal limit or in cases in which the driver caused serious injury or death by driving impaired.