Idaho DUI Laws (Everything You Should Know)

Idaho DUI Laws (Everything You Should Know)

We all know that DUI is dangerous. 

And we all know that Idaho has laws concerning DUI. 

But what are the details of the Idaho DUI laws?

What about the penalties for breaking these laws?

Or maybe you just want to know how drinking affects your driving.

We’re going to answer all those questions and more. 

Here, you’ll learn everything you should know about the DUI laws in Idaho — from the actual laws and penalties, to how to avoid drunk driving, and everything in between. 

This is your ultimate guide for all things DUI in Idaho. 

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in! 

DUI Laws in Idaho

It might come as a surprise to you, but there are many laws surrounding DUI in Idaho. These are:

  • Illegal BAC levels
  • Implied Consent law
  • Open Container law
  • Drugged Driving law

Let’s go over these laws one by one. 

Illegal BAC Levels

Like most states, Idaho has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level to determine if you’re drunk driving. 

Here are the illegal BAC levels:

  • A BAC level of 0.08% is illegal for drivers 21 years old and up. 
  • A BAC level of 0.02% is illegal for drivers under 21 years old. 
  • A BAC level of 0.04% is illegal for drivers holding a CDL 

If you are caught with these BAC levels, you will be charged with DUI. 

Implied Consent Law

Now, a police officer must have probable cause to pull you over to check your BAC level. 

And when you’re pulled over, they will ask you to take a breath, blood, or urine test. This will tell what your BAC level is. 

Now, can you refuse these tests?

Yes. However, you will face the consequences. 

This is because, when you got your driver’s license (or CDL), you agreed to obey the Implied Consent Law. This means you agreed to take a breath, blood, or urine test when pulled over for suspected DUI. 

So if you break that agreement, you will face automatic penalties. Here is a table showing you the penalties for breaking the Implied Consent Law:

Offense:Fine:License Suspension:Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Requirement:
First$2501 year1 year
Second$2502 year1 year

Open Container Law

DUI laws in Idaho don’t just apply to those who are driving under the influence. Sometimes, you can get arrested even if you’re sober. 

A prime example of this is Idaho’s Open Container Law. It states that…

“Neither you nor your passengers should have an open alcohol container, whether it’s for beer, wine, or alcoholic liquor.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t transport alcohol in your vehicle. You can, but you must place it in your trunk or behind the last upright seat. 

Another thing you should know. This law doesn’t apply if you live in an RV. The same goes if your vehicle is usually used by paying customers, such as limos or buses.

Drugged Driving Laws

DUI means driving under the influence. And influence isn’t just about alcohol. It also includes intoxicating substances.

The list of prohibited substances is extensive because it isn’t limited to street drugs. It also includes recreational drugs and even prescribed medications.

So, if you’ve taken anything that impairs your driving ability — even if it’s something your doctor prescribed — it’s best not to drive.

Also, with drugs, you may be charged with DUI even if your BAC level is below 0.08%.

DUI Penalties in Idaho

There are several penalties for a DUI conviction in Idaho. 

One penalty that everyone undergoes is substance abuse evaluation. It determines what kind of support you need, whether educational classes, treatment, or other programs, which you MUST complete.

Besides that, there are other penalties you will face with a BAC level of 0.08%: 

Offense:Fines:License Suspension:Jail Time:Ignition Interlock Device:
FirstUp to $1,00090 to 210 days*Up to 6 months1 year
SecondUp to $2,000At least 1 year10 days to 1 yearAt least 1 year
Third**Up to 5,0001 to 5 years30 days to 10 yearsAt least 1 year

* First-time offenders can get a restricted license after 45 days

** A third DUI conviction within ten years is already considered a felony

Now, you can expect harsher penalties if you have a BAC level of 0.20% or higher. 

Offense:Fines:License Suspension:Jail Time:Ignition Interlock Device:
FirstUp to $2,0001 year10 days to 1 year1 year
SecondUp to $5,0001 to 5 years50 days to 5 yearsAt least 1 year

How Drinking Affects Driving 

The higher your BAC is, the more impaired your driving abilities become. The table below can give you a better picture.

BAC Level:Number of Drinks:Risks to Driving Ability:
0.02%Around 2Difficulty in keeping an eye on a moving target
Multitasking becomes challenging
0.08%Around 4Impaired perception
Difficulty controlling your vehicle’s speed
Inability to concentrate
0.15%Around 7Significant impairment to information processing (auditory and visual)
Substantial difficulty in controlling the vehicle (speed and operation)
Inability to focus attention on driving

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

And here are the different areas that alcohol and intoxicating substances affect:

  • Judgment: You’re more likely to demonstrate impulsive behavior when you drink alcohol. It leads to rash and potentially dangerous decisions. It also affects your ability to accurately gauge a situation while on the road, making spotting hazards more challenging.
  • Vision: Your eyes receive most of the information you need to make sound decisions while driving. It’s what you use to determine how near or far objects are. You may experience double or blurred vision, making it very difficult to focus.
  • Reaction Time: Alcohol and drugs make you feel more relaxed. It isn’t altogether bad in most situations, but it can be dangerous when you’re driving. You can’t respond as fast, so if the car in front of you suddenly stops, you’re more likely to crash into it.
  • Color Distinction: You may find it more challenging to distinguish between colors when intoxicated, so spotting traffic signals becomes troublesome. Combining this with night-time driving is a recipe for disaster. You’ll be less likely to see pedestrians, objects, or animals on the road.

How to Avoid Drunk Driving

If you don’t want to put anyone at risk of drunk driving, the answer is simple — don’t drink!

However, we know it’s not as easy as it sounds. When you’re in a social gathering or with friends, sometimes avoiding alcohol isn’t possible.

If you can’t abstain from drinking, the next best thing is to act responsibly. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t feel you have to drink. Sometimes, you drink more than you should because of societal pressures. Don’t let anyone pressure you into it — remember, it’s your choice.
  • Be realistic about your tolerance. If you decide to drink, know yourself to know when enough is enough. Sometimes, people feel that they’re still fully functional when, in truth, they’re already slightly intoxicated.
  • Have a designated driver in your group. Yes, it sucks for that person, but it’s always good to have one person know they can’t drink because they’ll need to drive everyone home.
  • Don’t drink alone. If you’re enjoying a night out on your own, stick to non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Grab a Lyft. If you really have to drink and have no designated driver, booking an Uber or a Lyft is safer than driving.

Frequently Asked Questions

You might still have some questions about DUI in Idaho. If so, then let’s answer some of the most frequently asked ones. 

How long does DUI stay on record in Idaho?

A DUI stays on your record for 10 years. Anyone requesting your driving history during this period will see it. If so, you can expect your insurance rates to remain higher than average. Keep in mind that prospective employers will also have access to it.

How many DUI is a felony in Idaho?

DUIs are mostly misdemeanors in Idaho, but several factors may turn them into a felony. One is if you already have 2 DUI charges within a 10-year period.

You’re charged with an Excessive DUI if your BAC is 0.20% or more. A second Excessive DUI conviction within 10 years is already considered a felony.

Your DUI conviction can also become a felony if it results in an accident that severely injures, or worse, kills, another person. In these situations, it’s called an Aggravated DUI.

How does probation work in Idaho?

As we saw above, your DUI conviction results in jail time. However, there are instances when you don’t have to serve your sentence — it’s when the court puts you under probation. When a judge grants you probation, he suspends your sentence. 

A judge may also withhold judgment, which means he won’t impose your sentence. He may set it aside entirely if you complete your probationary period successfully.

What is a grand DUI in Idaho?

There are two kinds of DUIs in Idaho — standard and excessive. The latter is also known as a grand DUI. It’s a result of having a BAC of 0.20% or higher.

It has more severe penalties compared to a standard DUI, as we saw in the table above. 


That was everything you need to know about the Idaho DUI laws. 

A DUI can be a life-changing event — one that comes with extensive and severe consequences. 

So, before you take that sip, think about the rest of your day (or night). Do you have a designated driver? If not, how do you intend to get home?

With Idaho’s penalties for DUI, we doubt it’s worth getting behind the wheel. 

So, if you want to avoid that and stay safe, always remember that the best thing you can do is AVOID DRIVING WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE. 

Be a responsible drinker and driver!

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