Driving under the influence (DUI) is an offense that carries serious penalties in Idaho. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is an important factor that is considered when calculating these penalties. On average, the legal limit for BAC is 0.08% across the United States. In some states, the legal limit may be even lower although Idaho conforms to this national average. The limit applies to drivers ages 21 or above.
However, if you are a commercial driver with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you have to face a different set of DUI rules. Following is a quick view of the DUI rules that apply to commercial drivers in Idaho.
A Lower Legal Limit
While non-commercial drivers aged 21 and above must have BAC below 0.08%, this limit does not apply to commercial drivers. Commercial drivers are instead required to have a BAC below 0.04%. This means that if you are a commercial driver, you should not operate a vehicle for about 4 hours after having a drink or two. You may need to stay away from the road longer if you have consumed a larger quantity of alcohol.
It is important to note that BAC is only one of the many factors used to determine whether or not you are impaired. If a police officer has reasonable suspicion that you are driving under influence, you may be stopped and asked to undergo field tests or a breathalyzer test. Refusal to submit to these tests is a violation of the implied consent and results in license suspension.
DUI License Suspension
For non-commercial drivers in Idaho, license suspension for the first offense is 3 to 7 months. For the second offense, the suspension period is 1 to 5 years.
The penalties are harsher if you are a commercial driver with a DUI conviction. For a first offense, you will face a license suspension of 1 year. If you are charged with a 2nd DUI offense within the lookback period, your commercial license will be suspended for life.
Your license will also be suspended if you refuse DUI tests. For a first offense, the license will be suspended for 1 year regardless of whether or not the DUI charge is ultimately proved. Similarly, if you refuse the test a second time, you will face a license suspension of two years.
As a commercial driver, the most troubling aspect of a DUI charge for you will be license suspension. A suspended license effectively makes it impossible for you to legally operate a commercial vehicle in Idaho. This can have a direct impact on your employment and livelihood. It is advisable that you seek legal help from a Boise DUI attorney at the earliest after a license suspension.
The jail time and fines of a DUI offense for commercial drivers are fairly similar to those for non-commercial drivers. The fines for a first offense could be up to $2,000 depending upon the BAC. For a second offense, fines will typically be between $1,000 and $5,000 depending upon the BAC.
Conviction While Driving Non-Commercial Vehicles
It is critically important to understand that if a commercial driver is charged with DUI when operating a non-commercial vehicle, the commercial penalties still apply. This means that even if you were operating a private car when you were charged with DUI, your commercial driver’s license will be immediately suspended. The suspension period will be as per the DUI laws for commercial drivers.
In most cases, you will also be required to notify your employer of the DUI conviction, whether or not you were operating a commercial vehicle at the time. The incident must be brought to the employer’s notice within a 30-day period.
Reinstating CDL After DUI Suspension
Once your DUI license suspension period ends, you can apply to have your commercial driver’s license reinstated. To do so, you must first pay a reinstatement fee to the Idaho Transportation Department. Before you can do so, you must also pay court-imposed fines and fulfill any other requirements imposed by the court. These may include completing a DUI Alcohol Risk Reduction Program, doing community service, undergoing clinical evaluation or completing probation.
Why Hire a Boise DUI Attorney?
If your CDL has been suspended due to a DUI charge in Boise, it is critically important to hire a qualified Boise DUI attorney. You have only a month or less to file an appeal against the license suspension. Even if you appeal in time, you must present good arguments to counter the suspension. This is hardly possible without a lawyer on your side.
Here at Boise DUI Guy, we specialize in helping commercial drivers have their CDL reinstated as soon as possible. We also help you seek minimum penalties for your DUI charge. Call us now for a FREE consultation and discussion with our attorneys.