If you have been charged with Driving Under The Influence in Idaho, life can become pretty uncertain. Whether you are fighting the charge or you have already plead guilty or been found guilty of a DUI in Idaho, there are necessary steps that must be taken to put your life back in order. The biggest concerns tend to be driver's license suspensions, having a DUI on your permanent record, maintaining or obtaining vehicle insurance, possible jail time and loss of employment. At Martens Law Office in Boise we have handled thousands of DUI charges and are familiar with the process and the confusion that necessarily result. We have compiled the information that follows in a step by step process that will help you in finding your way through the DUI process regardless of the Idaho County in which you have been charged.
The smartest thing that you can do is Hire a criminal defense attorney that handles DUI cases on a regular basis here in Idaho. There are several reasons you should hire counsel for a DUI or any other Idaho criminal charges. For starters, lawyers went to law school and have studied the law. We are familiar with the judges, prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies. Every judge has a different personality. The same goes for the prosecuting attorney assigned to your case. To the surprise of many, there are different prosecuting agencies within each Idaho county and they all have different policies and attitudes towards DUI charges. The worst thing that you can do is try to go it alone. The second worst thing you can do is hire an attorney who practices in civil practice or transaction law. They are fine lawyers within their area of expertise, but criminal defense and DUI practice is completely different from real estate law, estate planning, personal injury law or transactional practice. There are traps and pitfalls along the way that can and will catch anyone unfamiliar with the Idaho DUI process. Unfortunately, when mistakes are made it is the person charged with a DUI who suffers. Hire an attorney who works almost exclusively in the area of Criminal Defense. At Martens Law Office, P.C. we represent many clients accused of DUI. In most cases we are able to avoid all jail time for our clients, avoid long driver's license suspensions, keep DUI charges off of our client's records, get charges dismissed and minimize both the short term and long term effects.
Hire a criminal defense attorney and get the attorney hired quickly. Do not wait until a day or two before the initial arraignment rolls around to retain counsel. There are deadlines that must be met within seven (7) days of your being charged with a DUI. The first deadline is requesting that the Idaho Department of Transportation set a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Hearing. If that is not done within seven (7) days you waive your right to a hearing and will lose your Idaho driver's license for an absolute period of thirty (30) days. In the case of a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer or blood draw you must request a BAC hearing with the appropriate County Court within seven (7) days or you will lose your license for an absolute period of one full year. You will not be able to drive for any purpose whatsoever for a full year if this seven day deadline passes without any action taken by an attorney.
If you have hired a DUI Lawyer in Boise, the lawyer should take care of the necessary paperwork required in entering the case. Paperwork will be submitted so that you generally do not have to appear for the initial arraignment and discovery will be requested from the County Prosecutor. Discovery includes any audio, video and police reports that were created when you were arrested for the DUI. The attorney will review all of these materials as they arrive at his or her office from the Idaho Prosecuting Attorney, Idaho Police Department and Idaho Department of Transportation. You need to Stay in Touch with Your Attorney. Call your attorney about ten days after hiring the attorney. Within ten days the attorney will have court dates, BAC hearing dates and other important information available. You need to appear at some of the court dates and BAC hearing dates. About twenty days after you hire the Idaho attorney the attorney will receive discovery. You will want to review the discovery with your attorney. It is important that you help your attorney spot any defenses that you may have or any errors in the police reports.
Shortly after retaining an Idaho Attorney, you should get an alcohol evaluation. If you are found guilty or plead guilty to a DUI, Idaho law requires that you obtain an alcohol evaluation prior to sentencing. It is a good idea to get an alcohol evaluation even if you are planning to take the case to trial. Many times having an alcohol evaluation ahead of time will have some influence on getting the prosecuting attorney to reduce the charges to a lesser charge of reckless driving.
After completing your alcohol evaluation, the evaluator will recommend so many hours of alcohol classes. It is also a good idea to complete the recommended classes before appearing at your Pre-Trial Conference. Again, having both an evaluation and having the classes complete prior to the Pre-Trial Conference could have some influence on the prosecutor in reducing the charges from a DUI. You can complete the CLASSES ONLINE if you so choose. Many Idaho Counties also require a Victim's Panel. If you complete the online classes with Tom Wilson Counseling, the victim's panel is included. To sign up for the classes you will need to have the case number of your case. Tom Wilson Counseling will send proof of completion of the Classes and Victim's Panel to the court upon your completing the classes. However, it is a good idea to keep a copy of the proof of completion for your records and it is also a good idea to bring those records with you to the Pre-Trial Conference along with a copy of the alcohol evaluation.
You are generally allowed to drive for the first thirty days after you are charged with a DUI in Idaho. After thirty days have passed you will generally lose your license for an absolute period of thirty days, with another sixty (60) days of restricted driving for a total suspension period of ninety (90) days through Idaho Department of Transportation. After the absolute thirty (30) day suspension period has passed, you can apply for a restricted driver's license with the Idaho Department of Transportation. The first thing you need to do is Reinstate Your Idaho Driver's License.. You will then need to fill out an Application for a Restricted Driver's License with the Idaho Department of Transportation. To obtain a restricted driver's license permit you need to call the Idaho Transportation Department at (208) 334-8736. Select Option 1 which is "Restricted Permits". Prior to calling ITD you should read the Instructions on obtaining a restricted permit through ITD. The Idaho Department of Transportation will send you an application form. You must fill the application out completely, attach a copy of your proof of insurance and proof of reinstatement (copy of your reinstatement receipt) to the form and send it to the Idaho Department of Transportation. They will then review it, usually approve it and send you a restricted driver's license. The restricted permit is good for the remaining sixty (60) days of driver's license suspension.
Before appearing for your pre-trial conference or sentencing it may be a good idea to have some community service completed ahead of time. There are several reasons why this may be a good idea.
First, in many counties, such as Ada County the courts count each 8 hours of community service performed as a day in jail. Therefore, if the judge were to order that you serve 5 days of jail, but you already had 40 hours of community service complete prior to pre-trial or sentencing, you would likely avoid any jail time. This is especially important if you plead guilty to a second time DUI, in which case the judge would order that you serve twenty (20) days of jail. If you already had 160 hours of community service complete, you would likely avoid jail time. Second, if you perform community service in lieu of jail after the pre-trial conference, the judge will order that you perform community service through the Ada County Sheriff. The Ada County Sheriff will charge fees for community service. Therefore, if you have already performed the community service ahead of time, you avoid these fees. Finally, the Ada County Sheriff will dictate when the hours must be complete and it is in their discretion whether to allow you to perform community service. You have better control of your life if you perform community service before attending the pre-trial conference or sentencing hearing.
You will want to keep track of all hours performed and have the community service organization sign off on those hours and/or write a letter confirming that you have performed the requisite hours. You must perform community service at a non-profit organization. It is especially important to perform community service ahead of time if you live outside the State of Idaho, unless you want to spend some quality time within our beautiful state.
Listed below are some suggestions of organizations within the Treasure Valley that will allow you to perform community service. If you do not live in Idaho, many of these organizations have local chapters within each state. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but merely a few suggestions.
In most cases you must appear in court with your attorney for a Pre-Trial Conference. However, if you live outside the State of Idaho, arrangements can generally be made between your attorney and the court that allows for your attorney to appear without your being present. Some Idaho Counties are more lenient than others in regards to allowing your counsel to appear on your behalf without you present. It is preferred that you are present for the Pre-Trial Conference. Your presence shows the Judge and Prosecutor that you take your charges seriously. Your attorney will also be more effective in negotiations if he has your immediate input. Finally, some judges will issue bench warrants if you are not present with your attorney at the Pre-Trial Conference. At Pre-Trial your attorney and the Prosecuting Attorney will make every effort to come to an agreement that will avoid the necessity of a Jury Trial. However, in some cases an agreement cannot be reached between the Prosecutor, yourself and your attorney and the case will proceed to Jury Trial. If a settlement is reached and the case can proceed to sentencing on the date set for Pre-Trial. If sentencing takes place at the Pre-Trial Conference, you will need to have a new Restricted Driver's License Application ready for submission to the Judge. Upon sentencing, the Restricted Permit issued by the Department of Transportation becomes null and void. The Judge will issue a new permit. You will need to fill out the proper Judicial Restricted Driver's Licence Application. Again, you will need to attach a copy of your proof of insurance and proof of reinstatement (receipt from paying the reinstatement fee) to the completed application form and have all of this ready to go when you go to the Pre-Trial Conference and/or the Sentencing Hearing. You do not want a lapse to occur between your ITD issued restricted license and the judicially issued restricted driver's license. This is one more reason that it is important for you to be present at the Pre-Trial Conference. Finally, you should bring your alcohol evaluation, proof of completion of your alcohol classes, proof of completion of the victim's panel and any other relevant documentation with you when you appear at the Pre-Trial Conference.
It is important that you have a firm understanding of the driver's license suspension in Idaho. If you do not understand the timelines associated with the suspension you are likely to get pulled over and receive a Driving Without Privileges charge. The penalties for a DWP are unpleasant in and of themselves. Generally, you can drive for the first thirty days after you are charged with a DUI in Idaho. The second thirty days you are not supposed to drive at all, and if caught driving the Boise Police Officer or other Idaho Law Enforcement Officer will charge you with DWP. If you have a restricted driver's license or permit after the thirty day absolute period of suspension has passed and you get caught driving outside the limits of the restricted permit, the police officer will charge you with a DWP and you are likely to suffer the associated DWP penalties. Whether you were confused about the drivers license suspension or not, the Prosecuting Attorney will not be lenient if you are caught driving on an Idaho DUI suspension. They will refuse to reduce the DWP to an invalid license and will ask for additional drivers license suspension time, jail time, probation time and additional fines. Worse of all, if you have already been sentenced and are on unsupervised probation or supervised probation for the DUI, the DWP will likely give the Prosecutor the opportunity to file a Probation Violation. For some reason prosecutors find great joy in filing probation violations, so don't give them the opportunity. Do not get caught driving on a suspension that resulted from your DUI and do not get caught driving outside of the restrictions of your restricted license.
If you have plead guilty or been found guilty of an Idaho DUI charge your insurance company may discover the charge and drop you as an insured customer. If that happens you will need to obtain a new insurance policy. You will also need to carry SR22 on your insurance. Not all insurance companies offer SR22 so it is important that you get an insurance policy that includes SR22. One company that offers SR22 is Progressive. I would recommend that you use an insurance agent to help you with your insurance questions and needs. Clear Lakes Agency is a local agency that works with multiple insurance companies. They should be able to find you the best insurance rates that include SR22. You must carry SR22 for several years after being sentenced on a DUI unless you receive a Withheld Judgment. If you are granted a Withheld Judgment you will only need to carry SR22 for the first year following your sentencing hearing. When the case is dismissed at the end of your probationary period under the Withheld Judgment you will no longer need to carry SR22.
The above information is meant to help assist client's through the confusing process of an Idaho Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol Charge. By no means is it possible to explain every important detail of Defending a DUI charge on the Martens Law Office, P.C. website. To protect your rights and to avoid the multitude of potential pitfalls that can occur after being charged with a DUI Contact Martens Law Office, P.C. at your earliest convenience or dial (208) 344-0994.