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Getting pulled over and arrested by a police officer on drunk driving charges can be a frightening experience for the average Idaho resident. However, the experience of getting arrested and taken to jail is not the worst of what you will have to deal with. If you are accused of DUI in Idaho, you will also have to face the charges in court, and that could involve drawn out legal proceedings and the threat of serious criminal punishments.
Those accused of drunk driving will have the right to a criminal defense. Depending on the unique facts of your case, your criminal attorney may suggest a variety of options to take. For example, if the evidence is overwhelmingly against you, your attorney might suggest that you try to negotiate a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution. That would likely involve pleading guilty to one or more of your charges in exchange for a reduction in sentencing.
The final method of defending against drunk driving charges is the most common, and it involves casting doubt on the validity of evidence and/or the validity of officer observations that are being used against you in court. For example, if the validity of a breathalyzer test can be challenged and the breathalyzer test results are thrown out as evidence, it could be much more difficult for the prosecution to convict the accused. You may also be able to show that the arresting officer inappropriately stopped you. If it is shown that the officer did not have just cause to pull you over, then the subsequent DUI arrest and charges might be dismissed.
In the state of Idaho, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or higher. Idaho is also considered to be a Zero Tolerance state in terms of underage DUI. What this means is that any driver under the legal drinking age will be considered DUI if his or her blood alcohol level is over 0.02 percent.
Elevated penalties exist in Idaho for those found operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of over 0.20 percent. Idaho is also considered to be an implied consent state, meaning that anyone who operates a motor vehicle will be arrested if he or she refuses to take a breath alcohol test when asked by a police officer.
If you are convicted of drunk driving in Idaho, you will be subjected to a minimum license suspension and/or revocation. For first, second and third offenses, convicted drivers could face license suspensions of three months (which can sometimes be reduced to 20 days) to up to a year. Drivers could also be subjected to having their vehicles confiscated. Other punishments include assessment, treatment and education about alcohol. Some first-time offenders -- and all repeat offenders -- will also have to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles, which employ a special technology that renders the vehicles of drunk drivers inoperable.
Due to the stiff and often life-altering consequences of a DUI conviction, Idaho residents may wish to contact a qualified DUI attorney to defend themselves against their charges. A DUI attorney will inform you of your rights and options and help you to create the best defense strategy to suit your needs.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified drunk driving lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local drunk driving attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.