So long as you don’t cause massive property damage, leave someone severely injured or have a recent drunk driving conviction, you can typically expect that a driving under the influence (DUI) charge in Idaho will be a misdemeanor offense. Those accused of showing signs of impairment at the wheel or failing a breath test during a traffic stop will face misdemeanor charges that carry the risk of driving privilege suspensions, fines and sometimes incarceration.
However, sometimes the charges and therefore the penalties are more severe. Although most DUI charges are misdemeanors, Idaho prosecutors can potentially charge you with a felony DUI in one of the three situations outlined below.
1. You have recent prior DUI
A DUI conviction will aggravate the penalties for any subsequent violation for ten years after your conviction. Those who have had two prior DUI charges in the last ten years will very likely face felony charges for their third DUI charge.
2. You have a high BAC and a prior DUI
The penalties and charges for a DUI offense are higher when someone’s blood alcohol concentration is particularly high. When you have a BAC of 0.20% or more and this is your second offense within five years, you will face a felony charge.
3. You have hurt or killed someone in a drunk-driving wreck
The state brings different charges against those accused of causing injurious or fatal collisions. If someone dies or suffers a severe injury, the state will charge the driver with an aggravated DUI charge, which is a felony offense.
Recognizing how the circumstances may lead to more severe penalties may motivate those facing an Idaho DUI charge to defend themselves.