Friday, March 16, 2012

Boise Criminal Lawyers - Criminal Defense - DUI Considerations

Criminal Defense of a DUI
Most people know that if you drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater you can be charged with a DUI.  There are, however, other circumstances where a lower BAC will land you with a DUI.  Criminal Lawyers are called upon regularly to defend driving under the influence charges in many different circumstances.

Minor DUI
If a minor has been drinking alcohol and drives a car, they can be charged with a DUI even if they don't have a BAC of .08%.  The Idaho Code makes it a crime for a minor to drive with as little as a .02% BAC.  What would not be considered a BAC high enough to charge an adult with a DUI, 0.2%-.0799%, would constitute sufficient alcohol in the system to charge a minor with driving under the influence.

In addition to the differences in the amount of alcohol required in the blood to be charged with drinking and driving, the underage DUI carries different penalties than that of an adult.

Commercial Vehicle DUI
Another exception to Idaho DUI law is for drivers of commercial vehicles.  If you are operating a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol, you can be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration is .04% or greater. 

As part of any DUI conviction, there is a required mandatory absolute suspension of your driver's license.  If you are convicted of a commercial DUI, both your CDL and Class D driver's licenses are suspended and visa versa.

BAC Under .08% and Drugs in Your System
If you have a BAC of under 08% it is  still possible to be convicted of a DUI.  If you have drugs and alcohol in your system, upon the prosecuting attorney showing with competent evidence that you also had drugs in your system, you can be charged with a DUI.  These can be illegal drugs, such as marijuana, meth or cocaine or it can be over the counter or prescription drugs.  If the drugs impair you enough that the state's attorneys are able to show that the combination of drugs and alcohol made you unfit to drive, you can be charged with a DUI.  An example of evidence that might be used would be a field sobriety test.  If you fail the field test, but your Breathalyzer result is under a .08% it may created a reasonable suspicion in the mind of the police officer that something else, such as drugs, is going on.  They can then require a blood draw to detect the presence of drugs.  This is particularly damning for an individual because the results of a drug blood test registers "yes" or "no".  There is no "acceptable" level.  You may have smoked marijuana 1 week before your traffic stop and even though you would obviously not be impaired by the pot at that point in time you could be charged with a DUI.  This is one of those critical situations where you need to have criminal defense attorneys who know how to get you out of this fix.

Drugs in Your System
The Idaho Code defines a DUI as having a BAC of .08% or greater OR the presence of drugs in your system or a combination of both.  As a Boise Criminal Lawyer I often get calls from irate people who have been charged with a DUI when they haven't had one sip of alcohol.  Idaho used to refer to a DUI as a DWI (driving while intoxicated).  That term was changed because it seemed to indicate that you would have to be intoxicated to be charged with that crime.  The crime didn't change, but the denotation did.

If you have been charged with a DUI or other crime in Idaho and need an experienced and aggressive Boise Criminal Lawyer, give us a call, (208) 472-2383, and see what we can do for you.

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