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Real Penalties of DUI

Understand DUI Law

One of the most common questions I am asked is "what happens if I am convicted of a DUI" or some form of that question. If you search the internet for Boise, Idaho DUI penalties, you are likely to find a rash of information explaining maximum penalties that almost never actually happen. While I would never advocate for driving drunk or tell you that DUI penalties are no big deal, I also don't think it is right to spread fear-mongering misnomers about the subject. Below is some more practical knowledge.

While you will likely not be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law unless you have a bad attorney, it is worth taking a look at what the maximum penalties are as a starting point.

DUI Penalties 

Maximum 1st DUI offense penalties

  • Six months jail time, unless your blood alcohol level is above .20%. That carries a maximum sentence of one year.
  • A fine of up to $1,000 unless your blood alcohol is over .20%. That carries a maximum fine of $2,000.

As you can see, DUI carries some pretty harsh maximum penalties. The penalties for second, third and beyond offenses increase significantly. However, a good lawyer can sometimes get you cleared of charges and often greatly reduce these penalties. For instance, it is not uncommon for first time offenders to only be sentenced to probation. People with good attorneys rarely get maximum penalties. 

What To Actually Expect For A First-Time DUI Offense 

The court can and may punish you in many ways: jail time, Sheriff's labor detail, community service, substance abuse counseling, fines, court costs, driver's license suspension, and probation. How much of each of these depends on how good of a defense you can present. 

  • Jail: Generally, for a first time DUI the court will sentence you to between 90-180 days of jail, but then suspend all but 5-10 days, placing you on probation. So, in reality you will only have to do between 5-10 total days of jail, and the rest is suspended and held over your head for the duration of your probation to make sure that you stay out of trouble. Ordinarily, the judge will allow sentencing alternatives like Sheriff's labor detail or community service to substitute for actual jail. Eight hours of community service is counted as one day of jail. You also get credit for the time you serve when you were arrested. Even if you bail out after a few hours, this may count as 1 or 2 days of credit (if you were booked before midnight and released after). 
  • Probation: probation usually ranges between 1-2 years and unless there are aggravating circumstances, the probation will be unsupervised. This means you will not have a probation officer. You are simply ordered by the court to stay out of trouble during the probationary period, otherwise you could face the suspended penalties.
  • Fine: Ordinarily it is between $500-$1,000 plus court costs of $202.50. See here for more info on the real cost of a DUI.
  • Substance abuse counseling: For any DUI conviction, the court will require you to get a Substance Abuse Evaluation from a licensed Substance Abuse Counselor to determine the amount of treatment that is necessary in your situation. Generally, the court will order 16 hours of counseling for a first time DUI, as well as require you to attend a 2-hour Victim's Impact Panel.
  • Driver's License Suspension: The court will order a suspension of your driver's license which is in addition to the license suspension that is initiated by the DMV. On a first-time DUI the ADA and Canyon County courts will usually suspend your license for 6 months, allowing for a restricted license to drive to and from work only after 30 days of absolute suspension has been served.

DUI is a serious crime that carries some serious penalties. But if you have been accused of one, you can exhale a bit. It is very unlikely that you will prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, especially if you hire a knowledgeable attorney. 

The materials at this web site have been prepared for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. These materials do not, and are not, intended to constitute legal advice. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. The information provided at this site is subject to change without notice.

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