Friday, October 30, 2009

What Does the Prosecutor Have to Prove to Convict Me of DUI? - Probable Cause


Police officers must make a finding of probable cause to stop the driver of a motor vehicle in a DUI case.  If the officers lacked sufficient cause, any evidence obtained as a result of the stop, which would likely include all evidence except observations of driving, must be suppressed by the Court.  Any request for suppression must be made within 28 days of entering a plea of not guilty.  If probable cause for the stop existed, the prosecution still must justify the investigatory detention. Again, if there are insufficient facts to warrant detaining the driver beyond a temporary stop, then it may be possible to suppress the evidence. If successful, this will suppress all evidence but observations and statements made during the brief stop. Finally, if there existed probable cause to detain the individual for a field investigation, the officers still must show evidence of intoxication to warrant an arrest.   The prosecution’s failure to meet these standards of probable cause may result in a judge suppressing all evidence obtained after the driver establishes a failure to find probable cause.  Please consult an Idaho DUI attorney because there are also numerous Idaho and federal cases that interpret “probable cause”.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Idaho DUI: Elements of the Offense

Idaho DUI: Elements of the Offense

The prosecution has to prove in Idaho that:
  1. You were under the influence of: (1) alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicating substances, or (2) any combination of alcohol, drugs and/or any other intoxicating substances, or (3) you have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater; 
  2. You were driving or were in actual physical control of a motor vehicle; Idaho defines “actual physical control” as being in the driver's position of the motor vehicle with the motor running or with the motor vehicle moving;
  3. Within the State of Idaho; and  
  4. Your driving or actual physical control of a motor vehicle occurred upon a highway, street or bridge of the State of Idaho, or upon public or private property open to the public (e.g. Walmart’s parking lot).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Should I Just Plead Guilty to the DUI Charge?

NO! And here’s why:

   1. Just because you were cited for DUI and the results of the breath test was over .08 blood alcohol content does not mean that you are guilty. Infrared breath analysis are not the most accurate devices and their accuracy may be subject to challenge. Also, all evidence collected by police officers through field sobriety tests and physical observation may be subject to challenge, depending on the procedure used by the officers.

   2. DUI charges are serious offenses with serious penalties. Your driving privileges could be suspended by
the Idaho Department of Transportation and by the judicial system for one (1) to five (5) years with no driving privileges. You may have to go to jail and if it is your second or third offense you will have a minimum ten (10) days in jail. You will be placed on some form of probation wherein in you lose certain civil rights and have to pay the costs of supervision. Fines and reinstatement fees can also range between $500.00 to $1,000.00. You may also be required to attend treatment or AA meetings. A DUI conviction has serious consequences on your life and your ability to maintain your employment.

   3. You may be able to win your DUI defense case. Winning your DUI case may include having the charge reduced to a different offense or obtaining a plea bargain that avoids a conviction (e.g. withheld judgments). Without consulting an Idaho DUI lawyer you may miss the opportunity to exhaust your investigation, conduct discovery, examine witnesses, and fully understand the consequences of pleading guilty to DUI.

   4. If you have a commercial driver’s license, you will lose that license. Idaho requires any driver with a commercial driver’s license (i.e. Class A, B, or C) that is convicted of DUI, even if they were driving their personal vehicle, to have their commercial driving privileges suspended for one (1) year with absolutely no commercial driving privileges.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What Should You do If Stopped for DUI in Idaho?

If you are stopped and detained for a DUI in Idaho, these are some things that you can do to better help your defense of any potential DUI charges:

1. Answering Questions. You do not have to answer any questions the police officers ask. You can politely decline to answer questions without an attorney. Why? The only answers that will be included in the police report will be answers that tend to show you were driving under the influence.

2. Attitude and Cooperation. Always be courteous and cooperative with the police officers and politely decline to answer questions or participate in testing. Your attitude during the stop may affect your ability to get the charge dismissed or reduced.

3. Field Sobriety Tests. Decline to take the field sobriety tests (i.e. gaze nystagmus, walk & turn, one-leg stand) because you are not required to perform the tests and regardless of your condition the officers will probably conclude that you have failed the tests and find probable cause to request further testing.

4. Evidentiary Testing. Agree to take the evidentiary breath test, if your are confident you are under .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). Remember that any refusal of the handheld testing could result in a 1 year absolute suspension of your driving privileges. Also, any refusal of handheld testing could result in the police officer requiring a blood draw to determine your BAC.

5. Driver's License Suspensions - Request a Hearing. If you are cited for DUI and your license is suspended (this includes when your license is taken and a temporary permit issued) make sure you or your attorney requests a hearing before the Idaho Department of Transportation within 7 days to contest your suspension.

6. Personal Blood Test. If you have the resources, immediately upon release from police custody go to an available medical facility and ask for a blood test to determine your blood alcohol content, as these test generally are more accurate.

7.  Contact an Idaho DUI Attorney. Before seven (7) days have passed from being cited with a DUI, contact an Idaho DUI Attorney.  For charges in Pocatello, Blackfoot, American Falls, Soda Springs, Malad, Preston, Montpelier and the surrounding communities contact For charges originating in other communities in Idaho contact the Idaho State Bar.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Welcome to this new blog dedicated to assisting individuals with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges in the State of Idaho. Although typically charged as a misdemeanor, a DUI can have significant impact on you, your family, and your employment. DUI charges are not to be taken lightly in Idaho especially where you can lose driving privileges that may impact your ability to provide for you and your family. This blog will present the background behind DUI charges, sentencing issues if you are convicted, dealing with the Idaho Transportation Department (IDOT), and will provide details regarding your court appearances.  If you have any questions, please contact Snake River Law PLLC at 208.406.9885. Snake River Law provides in court representation for charges in Pocatello, Blackfoot, American Falls, Soda Springs, Preston, Malad, Montpelier and the surrounding communities.