Receiving a DUI charge can be very stressful and intimidating. Our experienced DUI defense lawyers understand that this is not something anyone wishes for or wants to deal with in life. You want to make sure you can return to your normal life as soon as possible and make positive changes for the better. If you are facing a DUI charge, then we recommend that you hire the services of a Nampa, Idaho, DUI defense attorney immediately to ensure that your case is handled in the best possible manner.
What is a DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to a situation when a driver operates a motor vehicle while their blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit. This level is set by the state and is based on the fact that an average person cannot drive safely at or above this level of alcohol content in their body. While BAC legal limits may vary from state to state, they generally range from 0.08% to 0.10%. The BAC limit in Nampa, Idaho, is 0.08% for drivers over the age of 21, 0.04% for commercial drivers and 0.02% for drivers under the age of 21.
What Are the Idaho DUI Laws?
In all 50 states in the US and the District of Columbia, there are laws in place that are designed to protect the general public from drivers who engage in drunk driving. Driving with a BAC of over 0.08% is illegal nationwide, and there are zero tolerance laws in place for anyone under the age of 21 who drives while under the influence of alcohol. There are sobriety checkpoints throughout the country. However, these sobriety checkpoints are not allowed in Idaho.
Mistakes Drivers Make for Their DUI Defense Cases in Idaho
Here are some basic rules that you should ideally follow when it comes to avoiding DUI charges:
DO NOT drink and drive. This is the first and most basic rule. No matter what your circumstances may be, it is in your interest and the interest of others around you that you avoid getting behind the wheel when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you are in a situation where you are drinking and need to head home for the night, try to take a cab or an Uber. By following this basic rule, not only will you avoid paying unnecessary penalties, but you would also help save your life, the lives of other people on the road, your career, and your freedom.
DO NOT think you will get away with it. Some people are lucky, yes, but do not make that assumption that just because you choose to drink and drive, you will not be caught. Most people think that just because they do not feel drunk, their driving ability will not be impaired. This could be a major miscalculation. If the law says that blood alcohol content over 0.08% can impair a person’s ability to drive, you should respect this rule.
DO NOT argue with the police. First, if you are uncooperative with the police after getting pulled over, you may lose your license, even if your BAC levels are not over 0.08%. Second, by trying to reason with the police, you may end up making it evident that you are really not 100% in your senses. Slurred speech, inappropriate driving, inability to walk properly – these are all clear indicators that you are under the influence of something. It could be alcohol, it could be an intoxicating substance, or it could be a prescription drug. Whatever it is, the police will figure it out. Do not make things more difficult for yourself by arguing with them.
DO NOT make any sweeping statements. When a person is drunk, not only is their ability to drive impaired, but also their ability to think straight. In such a situation, you really do not want to give a full-scale testimony to the police. So while we do believe that being cooperative will be in your interest, this does not mean that you should immediately admit guilt and tell them exactly how many drinks you had that night. Instead, do your best to stay calm, cooperate with their tests, and then contact a Nampa DUI lawyer to handle your case from thereon. This is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Penalties and Consequences for DUI Charges in Idaho
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Nampa, Idaho, you should be prepared to deal with two separate issues. The first will be the automatic license suspension which will be initiated by the Idaho Department of Transportation. This will kick in because when you get your driver’s license, you commit to driving while following the laws of your state. Failure to do so can result in a license suspension. When you are charged with a DUI, you have, in essence, failed to comply with the laws of your state. This is something you need to know, and you also need to know that you will have seven days to appeal this suspension. This is yet another reason why you should hire an Idaho DUI defense lawyer immediately to deal with this, as the last thing you need is another legal issue on top of your DUI charge.
The second thing you need to deal with is your DUI charge and the possible penalties. A short summary of what could happen is as follows:
For your first DUI charge where you take the breathalyzer test, blood test or urine test and have failed, your license will be suspended for 90 days. In most cases, there will be no fine. However, if you have refused to take the test, your license will be suspended for a year, and you will have to pay a fine of $250.
If you have a second DUI charge within five years and take the breathalyzer test, blood test or urine test and fail, your license will be suspended for a year. If your second DUI offense is within ten years, but you refuse to take the required tests, your license may be suspended for two years with a fine of $250.
There can be additional criminal penalties depending on the circumstances of your case. The following is an overview of the maximum criminal penalties for a DUI charge:
If this is your first DUI offense and if your BAC level was 0.08 or above but below 0.20, you may get jail time of 180 days, two years’ probation, a $1000 fine, and a 180-day license suspension. However, if it is your first DUI charge but your BAC level is 0.20 or above, the penalties are more serious. There could be possible jail time for up to a year, two years’ probation period, fines up to $2000 and a 1-year license suspension.
If you have a second DUI charge within a ten year period and if your BAC level is 0.08 or above but below 0.20, you can get up to 1 year jail time, $2000 fine and a 1-year license suspension. Your probation period will be determined by the court based on the circumstances of the case. If your 2nd DUI is within a ten year period, but your BAC level is 0.20 or above your license may be suspended for five years, you may be given up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $5000.
Third and any subsequent DUI charges within a ten year period with BAC levels of 0.08 or greater can result in a 10-year prison sentence with $5000 in fines and a 5-year license suspension.
These criminal penalties can be even more serious if you were in a car accident while driving drunk and if someone was seriously injured.
Depending on the extent of injuries and other evidence, you can receive a jail sentence of up to 15 years, fines up to $5000, and license suspension for up to 5 years.
Can I Defend Myself without a Nampa DUI Defense Lawyer?
You may think that a DUI charge in Nampa, Idaho, is easy to handle, but that is where you are truly mistaken. Of course, you have the right to represent yourself, but the important question is: is that decision in your best interests? DUI is considered to be a very serious offense. Penalties can be very steep, and things can become even more complicated if your BAC levels are too high or if, while in a drunken state, you get into a car accident. If there are serious injuries or fatalities, your case can become complicated very fast. A Nampa DUI defense lawyer will be in a much better position to defend you because they know the law and they are familiar with the legal process of defending a client against DUI charges.
If you do not have a lawyer, you will make it easy for the prosecutor to get a conviction. In addition, if a plea deal is offered to you, an average person is generally not equipped with the necessary knowledge to determine if the deal is fair or not. Let’s be real. When you’re facing DUI charges, your biggest desire is to make it go away. A plea deal may give you the impression that once you agree and sign it off, everything will be gone. But that may not be the case.
If you have a DUI defense lawyer, they can evaluate the deal, and they can negotiate something better for you, if possible. Plea negotiation is a complicated process and requires significant skill and knowledge about the system. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your DUI may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. If a repeat offender is involved and/or if the DUI resulted in a serious car accident, your DUI charges can turn into a felony, and you will face harsh penalties. You will need representation both at your administrative license suspension hearings as well as criminal court proceedings if things go that far. You need someone who has the necessary skill and expertise to ensure your freedom. A DUI defense lawyer is thus your best bet.
If you have been charged with a DUI, contact a DUI defense lawyer immediately. Your DUI lawyer will be able to obtain and evaluate the results of your field sobriety test, breathalyzer test and blood and urine test as well as go through the initial testimony, the police reports and any other evidence that is relevant to your case. Keep in mind that a DUI case can involve a number of elements and only a lawyer can determine how to handle the evidence and how to present an argument which will ensure minimum damage and minimum penalties.
Should I Plead Guilty to a Nampa DUI Charge?
We understand that when you are charged with a DUI, you will be upset and intimidated. Police officials will ask you many questions and make you go through several tests. All this can be very stressful. While our DUI defense lawyers do not condone drunk driving under any circumstances, our client is our most important priority, and our goal is to defend you. We do not recommend that you plead guilty because by doing so, you are basically giving up any right to defend yourself. Even if you were driving while under the influence of alcohol, it is always possible that a good lawyer would be able to negotiate a deal for you. Your BAC level may not be too high, and if there is no additional complication like a car accident, you may still be able to get a good deal.
Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer in Nampa, Idaho
There is no doubt that if you are charged with a DUI in Nampa, Idaho, you will need to consult a DUI defense lawyer. If you are in need of a Nampa DUI defense lawyer, contact us at Boise DUI Guy. Our legal team has dealt with numerous DUI cases, and we always ensure that we provide our clients with the best possible legal representation. A DUI is a serious charge with serious penalties. Not only are there administrative issues that need to be handled, but a DUI charge can quickly turn into a criminal case if not dealt with properly. Call us today, and our DUI defense lawyer will ensure you get the best possible defense.