If you are charged with a DUI in Idaho, the circumstances surrounding your charges could mean that you have committed a felony rather than a misdemeanor. If this is the case, you may be able to be able to present a defense that could reduce your charges. In fact, one-third of people charged with felony DUIs are not convicted, and an experienced DUI defense attorney can make this a more likely possibility.
Misdemeanors vs. Felonies in Idaho
First, it’s important to know the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. When you are charged with a felony, you could be sent to a state prison for your crime. Sentences can range from one year to life in prison. A misdemeanor, on the other hand, is a lesser charge that requires you to pay a fine and may be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to a year.
There are many different circumstances under which an “aggravated DUI” is charged. If any of them apply to your case, you could face up to 15 years in prison, $5000 in fines and a 5-year suspension of your driver’s license.
With the help of a DUI defense attorney, felony charges could be reduced to misdemeanor charges. You could face lesser penalties and avoid facing severe consequences like:
- Losing your voting rights
- Compromising future employment opportunities
- Having your right to carry a gun or other weapons taken away
What Affects the Severity of My DUI Charge in Nampa, Idaho?
High Blood-Alcohol Level
In Idaho, if your blood-alcohol level exceeds 0.08%, then you will be charged with a DUI. If your level is over 0.2%, you could be charged with an aggravated DUI, which is considered a felony.
If while driving under the influence in Nampa, you cause significant injury to a pedestrian or another driver, your DUI charges may be raised to a felony. This can be the case when the victim has experienced great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement. The term “great bodily harm” has a wide definition and can range anywhere from large bruises and scrapes to death. If any of these occur, then it does not matter if this is your first offense or if your blood alcohol level was as low as 0.08%.
In such cases, the prosecutors must prove that the individual charged with the DUI was responsible for the injury. If I can be proven that the injury was caused in some other way, then the charge will not be elevated to a felony, and it will remain a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanors are normally given to individuals on their first and second DUI charges. In Idaho, a third DUI is considered a felony. On your third offense, a drunk driving attorney may be able to defend you in court and have your case dismissed. A number of defense tactics can be used, such as:
- The arresting officer did not have a justifiable reason for the traffic stop
- Your blood alcohol levels increased from the time you were driving to when you took a breathalyzer test
- Breathalyzer test results were inaccurate or inconclusive
- Field sobriety tests were conducted under unreasonable conditions
Children in Your Vehicle
If you are found to be driving under the influence with any minors in your vehicle, your DUI will count as a felony. This is because it is now a case of child endangerment.
A minor is typically considered as anyone under the age of 16. Their presence in your vehicle will have a significant impact on the judge’s or jury’s perspective of the case and it normally makes plea bargaining very difficult. While a felony should always be a reason to call a lawyer, this particular situation requires an experienced DUI attorney to help defend your case.
What Should I Do If My DUI is Considered a Felony?
While the first defense against a DUI is simply avoiding driving while under the influence, the next step you should take is getting in touch with a DUI defense attorney.
The Boise DUI Guy’s legal team presents a wealth of experience in helping to reduce the penalties of individuals across Nampa who have been charged with driving under the influence. If you are charged with a felony or an aggravated DUI, be sure to get the best possible legal representation to support you through the process and help you get back on your feet.