Thursday, March 29, 2012

Boise DUI Lawyers - Idaho Criminal Defense Attorneys - (208) 472-2383


Getting Pulled Over for a DUI in Idaho

When you are pulled over for a DUI in Idaho there are some preliminary things that will happen.  Firstly, the officer must have had probable cause to pull you over.  As a Boise DUI Lawyer people often ask me what this element of probable cause means.  Whenever there is a traffic stop, the police must have probably cause; meaning a valid, legal, reason for pulling you over in the first place.  If, for example, you pull away from a curb without using your blinker or you drive the wrong way down a one way street, the police would have probable cause to pull you over because you have violated a law.  If, however, you were driving your 1991 Bronco, with peeling paint and broken door latches, and just sitting at a stop light waiting for it to change, the police do not have probable cause even if they think you are guilty of a crime because you are driving an older vehicle. 

Once you have been pulled over the police will ask you questions and if they smell alcohol or suspect you have been drinking (because of your behavior) they can ask you to get out of the car and take a series of field sobriety tests.  You do not have to take a field sobriety test.  You can politely decline.  If you don’t, however, the police will very likely take you to the police station for a breathalyzer test anyway.  The importance in not taking the field sobriety test is for evidentiary purposes.  The less evidence the police have against you, the better. 

Do You Have to Blow? Don’t I Have a Constitutional Right Protecting Me From Self Incrimination? 

A very common question I receive as a criminal lawyer is, if there is a Constitutional Right not to incriminate yourself, how can you be forced to submit to a breathalyzer test?  What most people don’t realize is that when they received their driver’s license, they have already voluntarily agreed to submit to a breathalyzer test if they are pulled over on the suspicion of a DUI.  It’s like a “agree to the terms” on a website.  You don’t have to agree, but if you don’t, you don’t get to use the website.  You agree to submit to a breathalyzer and if you don’t, you don’t get a license.

What Happens if I refuse to Blow?

If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test the police can require you to submit to a blood draw.  You will be fined and have your license suspended for not blowing, although you are given a 7 day period in which to request a hearing to show cause why you refused.  This license suspension is a separate suspension from the one you will receive if you are found or plead guilty to the underlying DUI.

Something very important to keep in mind is that you do not have the right to have your criminal attorney present when you take a breathalyzer test or for a blood draw.

Challenging a DUI

How ever your BAC is ultimately established, will determine how your case is defended by your DUI Attorney.  If you choose to fight the charge, there are different factors that go into the evidence that is needed to successfully defend your case.  For example, with a blood draw, it is critical to keep in mind that blood decays rapidly and as it decays sugars in the decaying blood turn to alcohol. This can change the concentration of alcohol in your blood.  This isn’t something you would ever address for a breathalyzer challenge.  Another difference is challenging who administered the test.  For a breathalyzer, the arresting officer is supposed to be trained and certified.  If he or she is not, or has not been properly trained, the test results are thrown out.  For a blood test, the Idaho Code requires certain medical personnel to administer the test.  If the wrong person does it, the test results are thrown out. These are just some examples of how a DUI can be challenged.  As noted above, probable cause is another area upon which to challenge your drunk driving charge.  

Important Considerations

One important consideration with DUI is that time is of the essence.  A DUI can have an enormous impact on your life.  If you miss an important deadline or fail to show up it can have lasting consequences.  Another factor to consider is whether or not you want to challenge your DUI.  Taking the time and the money to challenge a DUI can be a very important element for your life.  There are many requirements that are forced upon you by a DUI conviction and they can be extremely stressful.  If not taken care of it can lead to family problems, such as divorce or financial problems, such as unemployment. 

If you choose not to challenge your DUI, that is a choice you can make.  Our criminal law system provides you the opportunity to discover the evidence and to make the challenges before you actually go to trial.  This allows you to make an informed decision about whether to take a plea agreement or go forward to trial.

If you have been charged with a DUI and you would like to speak to one of our Boise Criminal Lawyers, please give us a call, (208) 472-2383 and see what we can do for you.

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