Some people think that, in order to be charged with DUI, you have to be caught drinking and driving. However, in Idaho, as in most states, you can be arrested even if you haven’t had a single drink. A lot of DUI cases are based on drug use, not alcohol use. This includes both illegal and legal drugs. For example, you can be caught with heroin or methamphetamine. Or, you may take too many anti-anxiety or pain pills and become impaired.
When it comes to DUI laws in Idaho, it’s a matter of impairment – not alcohol intoxication. You can be impaired from all sorts of substances. And with the opioid epidemic being what it is, more people are getting pulled over while high on illegal drugs. These drugs can actually cause a person to be in much worse shape than if they were drinking alcohol. This is why so many fatal accidents involve people who were high on some controlled substance.
Idaho has very strict DUI laws when compared to other states. If you’re convicted of a third DUI offense, it’ll be considered a felony DUI. The same is true if you’re convicted of your second excessive DUI offense within five (5) years. Felony DUI in Idaho carries with it very serious penalties. And you can be convicted of a felony DUI even if you’re caught using prescription medication. If this happens, the first thing you need to do is call an experienced DUI defense attorney in Boise, Idaho. They can do their best to try to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
What are the Penalties for a Felony DUI in Idaho?
If you’re convicted of a felony DUI in Idaho, you’ll be facing very serious consequences. This includes fines, jail time and a host of other penalties. The penalties for felony DUI in Idaho include the following:
- A prison sentence up to ten (10) years. Jail time of at least ten (10) days. At least 48 hours have to be served consecutively. So you won’t be able to just serve Saturdays for your sentence.
- Fines of up to $5,000.
- A drivers license suspension for at least one (1) year up to five (5) years.
- Mandatory ignition interlock device – This has to be paid for by the offender. You have to breathe into this device before you can put your car into drive.
- Mandatory SR-22 High Risk Insurance – You’ll have to pay much higher insurance rates with a felony DUI conviction. Your insurance can be more than twice what you were paying before.
- Alcohol or drug counseling – You’ll probably have to complete a certain amount of drug or alcohol counseling. It depends on your judge and plea agreement (if applicable).
- Victim panel
And, if this isn’t enough, having a felony DUI conviction can also impact your professional license. Hiring an experienced Boise DUI defense lawyer can make the difference between a conviction and a fair plea agreement.
Why Would You Get into Trouble for Taking Prescription Medication in Idaho?
If you’re deemed impaired by the cops, you’ll be arrested for DUI. They’ll have you take a field sobriety test. If you don’t perform well, they’ll presume you’re impaired or intoxicated. And, like it or not, most field sobriety tests are designed so you’ll fail. Even a perfectly sober person would have a hard time passing your run of the mill field sobriety test.
When it comes to drug impairment, a breathalyzer test does no good. Unless you were drinking, you’re not going to blow above the legal limit on a breathalyzer. This is why it can be so hard for the State to prove that you’re impaired. They have to get a search warrant and have you take a blood or urine test at the hospital after your arrest. If it comes back positive, you’ll be charged with DUI.
If you test positive, even for a prescription drug, you can be charged with felony DUI. For example, if you’re taking a drug like Xanax or oxycodone, you can be charged and convicted of DUI in Idaho. These drugs often cause the driver to become impaired, even when taken as prescribed. Since your medication instructions warn you not to drive, you can be found in violation of the statute despite the legal prescription.
Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Boise, Idaho Right Away
If you’re arrested for felony DUI in Boise, you need to call our Boise DUI attorneys right away. The penalties are just too high to risk handling it yourself. Call and schedule your initial consultation today.