In order to be charged with a felony DUI in Idaho, it has to be your third DUI charge in 10 years or your second offense in 5 years with an elevated blood alcohol content of .20% or higher.
What Happens Once You Are Charged with Felony DUI?
Felony and misdemeanor trials both start the same way in the state of Idaho. Once a formal charge has been filed, you will receive a summons telling you what the charges are and when your initial appearance has been scheduled for.
If you are currently incarcerated, you will be notified and transported to the courthouse.
At the initial appearance hearing, you will receive a form that informs you of your legal rights and when you are in front of the judge they will ask if you understood the paper and your legal rights. If you don’t understand this form, the judge will explain it further.
At the initial appearance, the judge will read the charges brought forth against you as well as all of the penalties associated with it. If you do not have an attorney present this is the time to request that you would like legal counsel or have someone provided for you.
In a felony case, the defendant can request a preliminary hearing. At this preliminary hearing, the prosecution will present their evidence to the magistrate judge. If the prosecutor makes a good enough case before the magistrate judge, the judge can determine that the case needs to be tried on the district level under the current charges.
If the judge does not find the evidence of the prosecution to be compelling enough, they may dismiss the case entirely or recommend a lesser charge.
If you request to have a preliminary hearing, make sure that you have a Boise, Idaho DUI defense attorney on your side to help in your case.
At the initial appearance, the defendant in a felony DUI case cannot enter their plea. They must wait until an arraignment in front of a district judge.
At the arraignment, the judge will once again go over all of the charges and the possible penalties of a guilty charge. It is at this time that a plea bargain can be entered or negotiations between legal counsel can begin.
If you choose not to consider a plea bargain, you will have to tell the judge if you are pleading guilty or not guilty.
If you decide to plead guilty, the judge will either commence with the sentencing or they will set a separate date for sentencing.
Not Guilty Plea
If you choose to enter a plea of not guilty, it is at this point that the judge will ask if you want to have a court trial or a jury trial. Almost all felony DUI cases in the state of Idaho are trial by jury. In the district court, 12 jury members are utilized instead of the 6 in magistrate court.
Once the jury selection has been completed and the 12 have been impaneled, the opening statements can begin. This signifies that the trial has started. At this time opening statements can be given.
Once the prosecution has presented their case and call witnesses on their list have been questioned and cross-examined by the defense, the prosecution will rest. At this time the opening statement can be done if it was not done so prior.
Your defense will call all the witnesses on your side to corroborate your not guilty plea. There is the opportunity for the prosecution to cross-examine these witnesses. After you rest, the prosecution can then call rebuttal witnesses or evidence.
Once both sides have presented their case, the prosecution and the defense will present their closing arguments. Then the jury will be released to deliberate.
If the jury comes back with a not guilty verdict, the charges will be dropped, and you will be released on your own recognizance.
If the verdict comes back guilty, the judge will be responsible for sentencing you. The judge has the ability to make the sentencing at the time of the trial or they may wait and set a separate sentencing hearing.
Once sentenced and the judgment is entered, the penalties specified in the judgment begin immediately.
If You’ve Been Charged with Felony DUI, Call Boise DUI Guy
Felony charges are serious in the state of Idaho. Even though there is the option of self-representation, it is not recommended by the court for felony cases. Hiring an Idaho DUI law firm who specializes in cases like yours is your best option for trial. These lawyers will diligently fight to get your case handled as fairly as possible.