Driving under the influence will nearly always yield serious charges. In many cases, DUI is considered a misdemeanor, although there are certain instances where DUI can lead to felony charges. Get in touch with a Boise felony DUI attorney at Hooper Law Offices for aggressive representation that will challenge your charges. Our criminal defense attorneys in Boise are known for the excellent defense they bring to every drunk driving case. Working with us means you get a premier legal team on your side
Table of Contents
What Constitutes a Felony DUI?
A felony DUI is reserved for aggravated offenses. Generally speaking, when a person has been convicted for their second DUI offense, they are at risk of a felony DUI for the next 10 years. In case you receive a third conviction within this period, you’ll receive a third-degree felony, which results in penalties like multiple years in prison or license suspension.
You could be at a risk for a felony DUI under the following situations:
- A Third DUI offense within 10 years
- A Second Excessive DUI (BAC above .20) conviction within 5 years
- Any DUI conviction within 15 years after a plea or conviction to a Felony DUI
- A DUI with an accident that causes “Great Bodily Harm” or “Permanent Disability” or “Permanent Disfigurement” to another person
No matter the reason for your charges, a felony DUI will always be a serious matter. Our DUI defense attorneys do understand the freedoms that are at stake when facing a felony charge, and they are 100% committed to do whatever it takes to assist clients fight their charges. We might choose to challenge the breathalyzer results or contest the reasonable cause stated as behind your arrest. No matter the circumstances, our legal team understands how to provide the unflinching representation you need.
Is it worth it to hire a lawyer for DUI?
This is a quite difficult question to answer since the value of a lawyer will mainly depend on the future outcome that’s not yet determined. According to a recent survey by AVVO, 77% of the respondents answered that it was worth hiring a private lawyer, and they found out that a public defender was only able to save them about 20% of lawyer costs.
Public Defender vs. DUI Lawyer
Benefits of hiring a private lawyer for DUI charges:
- Most of the lawyers offer a free consultation
- You get the option to choose your lawyer
- Typically, more attention and time is spent on your case
- You can find a lawyer with significant experience with your specific charges
Cons of Hiring a Private Lawyer
- You’ll typically pay higher costs
- You should hire an experienced lawyer, ideally one who has defended DUI charges before in front of your assigned judge. If you choose the wrong attorney, you could end up getting poor representation
Pros of Using a Public Defender
- For anyone who can’t afford an attorney, you might be entitled to a free defense attorney
- Most public defenders have a good experience in courts and their processes
Cons of Using a Public Defender
- You don’t get to choose your lawyer, they will be assigned to you
- They are often overworked, and might not have the time to focus on your case
Ultimately, you make the choice. But in many cases, if you can afford hiring a local DUI attorney, it means you aren’t eligible for a public defender.
What are the Penalties for DUI in Idaho?
Being convicted for DUI in Idaho will come with heavy penalties. Keep in mind that even the penalties exerted for your first offense might include a driver’s license suspension for up to a year, a jail sentence for up to 6 months, DUI evaluation and fines up to $1,000. The best way to negotiate for lesser penalties or alternative sentencing is working with an experienced attorney, who can work to protect your rights and your driving privileges. Along with the criminal case is a DMV hearing, with regards to the suspension of your driver’s license.
Other Penalties for Drinking and Driving Conviction Include
For a second DUI Offense within 10 years:
- License suspension of up to 1 year
- Fines of up to $2,000
- Up to 1 year in jail
For a third DUI offense within 10 years:
- Up to 10 years in prison
- License suspension for up to 4 years
- Fines of up to $5,000
Ignition Interlock Device Penalty
One common penalty in Idaho is the Ignition Interlock Device, which is a breath machine about the size of a cell phone or wallet, installed into the engine of a car. A defendant convicted of driving under the influence risks having it installed in their vehicle, per Idaho Code §18-8008, for one year after their license has been suspended.
Understanding the Consequences of a 2nd and 3rd DUI in Idaho
2nd DUI Conviction Within 10 Years
When you’re charged with a second DUI Offense in the 10 years following your first drunk driving conviction in Boise, Idaho, you will start facing exponentially more severe penalties for the same offense. Every successive DUI conviction will face staggeringly more severe penalties. A second DUI conviction will come with penalties such as a maximum fine of $2,000, and up to 1 year in jail. In case you’re charged with a 3rd DUI within 10 years, you face felony charge, risking fines of up to $5,000 and 10years in prison.
3rd Offense DUI
When charged with a third DUI offense within 10 years, you’ll face a felony, and you will be at risk of fines up to $5,000 along with 10 years imprisonment. Additionally, even if placed on probation you will be required to serve a minimum 30 days in the county jail.
The said consequences can be quite devastating, and you shouldn’t treat them lightly – this is especially true if you’re at risk of a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th DUI conviction within 10 years. In such a case, it’s important to obtain the legal aid of an experienced Boise drunk driving attorney.
Working with a lawyer that’s experienced with DUI cases will help you build a strong defense from the ground up. Whether you are questioning whether or not there was a reasonable cause for the traffic stop, are whether you’re looking into faulty BAC tests, your DUI lawyer will help protect your rights and protect you.
What is an Aggravated DUI in Idaho?
In Idaho, an Aggravated DUI occurs when there is a DUI with an accident that causes “Great Bodily Harm, or “Permanent Disability” or “Permanent Disfigurement” to another person besides the person who is DUI. The person injured can even be a passenger in the car that the person under the influence was driving. It does not matter how many DUIs someone has had in the past, even if their first DUI causes a broken bone to another person, they can be charged with Aggravated DUI, which is a felony in Idaho.
What are the Penalties for Aggravated DUI in Idaho?
The penalties for aggravated DUI are a maximum prison sentence of 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and suspension of driving privileges for up to 5 years. Additionally, you might be required to pay for any damages caused to the person that was injured.
What is an Excessive DUI in Idaho?
A DUI might be considered “Excessive” based on the actual BAC level that was recorded at the time of the arrest. If the DUI suspect takes the test that shows their BAC level is 0.20 or higher, the 1st offense will become an excessive DUI which brings more severe penalties. They will now face a maximum of 1 year in jail and a fine of $2,000. Their license will be suspended for 1 year, as opposed to 180 days, an they will be required to install an ignition interlock device for the entire year following the license suspension.
Defenses Against Excessive DUI
When charged with an Excessive DUI, it is still possible to reduce the charge to a Standard 1st offense or have the charge dismissed altogether. The best way is to increase your chances of achieving this by hiring a drunk driving attorney to defend your interests. The lawyers at the Hooper Law Officer have extensive knowledge when it comes to Idaho laws and the science behind charging suspects with DUI. With this knowledge, our firm has succeeded in the dismissal or reduction of sentences in Excessive DUI.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
DUI charges aren’t limited to people found guilty of driving while intoxicated with alcohol. Idaho laws are actually equally harsh on people found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). This is also known as drug driving, and it can result from the use of controlled and illegal substances, such as marijuana, and the improper use of perfectly legal prescription or medication drugs.
Some people mistakenly think that they can’t be arrested for using prescription medication while driving. However, this is a bit mistake. Alcohol is just as legal as the rest of the prescription drugs. In case you get arrested for using them while behind the wheel, you could face criminal charges. Call a Boise DUI attorney at Hooper Law Offices today.
Defense Against Drugged Driving Charges
Unlike alcohol-related DUIs, it can be a bit more difficult to determine whether or not the driver is under the influence of other drugs. While a breath test is enough to estimate the BAC level, there’s no simple test that can do the same for other drugs on the roadside. As such, cases involving other drugs will rely on other different tests.
In some cases, the evidence simply rests on the testimony of the police officer. Keep in mind that the law defines a DUI as when the driver is impaired. This could be when the driver is weaving, stumbling, or driving erratically.
It can be corroborated by evidence gathered while going through field sobriety tests. However, these are notoriously unreliable and usually subjective to the opinion of the officer making the arrest. As such, many DUI and drug cases might have to turn to evidence from urine and blood tests. These are typically viewed as some of the most accurate ways of determining how much of a drug was in the defendant’s blood at the time of the arrest. However, these can also be inaccurate and can result in faulty readings.
For instance, urine tests can only be used to determine if marijuana was used, not when it was used. As such, they can pick up on drugs that were used previously, but won’t necessarily prove that the driver was impaired at the time of the arrest.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for a DUI?
The first thing you should address is how much your freedom is worth:
- You risk getting fired from your job
- You risk losing the ability to drive
- You might have to do community service
- You risk getting fined and a possible jail sentence
- You may also have to attend drug, alcohol education and counseling
The cost of obtaining a good DUI lawyer is really worth it. Think of it this way, you can spend $2,500 for a lawyer and they save you thousands in fines, penalties, and grief; so that you can go back to your life as soon as possible.
Is it Worth Going to Trial for a DUI?
In a court of law, you’re innocent until proven guilty. As such, you should consult with an experienced legal counsel to examine your case and the available evidence, so that they can advise you on your best chances of winning. Most people arrested for DUI in Idaho usually make a deal between the defense lawyer and the prosecutor to plead guilty to a DUI or a lesser charge and then face the agreed penalties.
If you choose to take the case to trial and you end up losing, the judge can impose the maximum penalties. Sometimes, the evidence could be very strong, and going to trial might not be such a good idea.
Likewise, the prosecution might have a weak case, and will, therefore, be open to accepting a lower charge to avoid the hassle of going to trial. In such a case, you need to contact a lawyer from the Hooper Law Offices.
Is a Plea Deal a Good Idea?
Many people tend to assume that since they got pulled over, gave a blood or alcohol sample, took a field sobriety test, etc., there’s no way to not be found guilty in court. This is not true. The police officers and the prosecutor would want you to believe that your situation is hopeless. It’s not. There are many ways you can be successful at trial, and there are many defenses usable for each case.
- Pay Court Fines
- Alcohol Evaluation and Treatment
- Community Service Info
- Driver’s License Status Check
- Restricted Driving Permit Application
- Ignition Interlock Providers
Contact an Experienced Boise Felony DUI Attorney at Hooper Law Offices Today
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, what you want to do as the first step is to seek the services of an experienced Boise criminal defense firm.
At Hooper Law Offices, we specialize in handling and defending DUI cases. Our attorneys understand that a DUI charge can be quite intimidating, and we are always available to help our clients deal with the legal aspects of their case.
We have a team of experienced DUI attorneys who want to help you get back on your feet. We want to make sure that you have the much-needed guidance and support through the process. Get in touch with us today. Our DUI lawyers will work their best to protect your future.