Harrison & Smyth, P.A.

Are There Any Diversion Programs Available For DUI Offenders?

Yes. Those who are charged with a DUI can be placed into Drug Court and Mental Health Court. There are discussions of expanding these courts to provide more focused treatment to those charged with a DUI. You would have to do a GAIN Assessment and get an LSI (Level of Service Inventory) to determine what treatment is needed and the likelihood of committing another DUI. If you qualify for one of these specialty courts and voluntarily choose to participate, then you can get a restricted license once you are in good standing, which usually in Bonneville County is about 3 months.

What Factors Can Lead To Enhanced Or Aggravated DUI Charges?

There are a variety of factors that would aggravate or enhance a DUI. Obviously if this is your second DUI within 10 years then they consider it a second offense and the penalties are harsher. If it is your third offense within 10 years then it goes from a misdemeanor to a felony and the penalties are much harsher. Also if there is an accident which causes damage to person or property there is an enhancement. If there are children in the vehicle at the time you are pulled over you can be charged with injury to child in addition to the DUI. Also if your blood alcohol content is at 0.2 or over then you would be charged with an excessive DUI, where the penalties are enhanced even if it’s your first time.

What Does Someone Need To Do After They Have Refused A Blood Or A Breath Test?

If you’ve refused a blood or a breath test you can still be charged with a DUI if there is other evidence you were driving under the influence. It can be harder for the prosecutor to prove, however if you have a bad driving pattern or bad field sobriety tests it is not going to prevent the prosecutor from continuing forward with the prosecution. If you refuse the test, irrespective of whether the prosecutor goes forward or not, the Idaho Department of Transportation can still suspend your license for up to a year on the first refusal and up to two years if you’ve refused within the last 10 years.

How Do You Advise Clients That Want To Plead Guilty To A DUI?

A DUI has significant impact on your employment and on other areas of your life. You want to be sure to review the evidence and the law to ensure law enforcement has not violated your rights. A first offense DUI is a misdemeanor conviction with potential jail time, a fine and also driver’s license suspensions. If there is a second DUI or a third DUI there are longer jail periods and also longer driver’s license suspensions. It is important to be sure you have reviewed the evidence and law prior to just pleading guilty.

The other consideration, if you are pleading guilty, is to be sure when going into sentencing you have taken steps to show the court you truly have made changes. If the Court feels you are remorseful and making changes on your own, the Court may reduce the fines, give a shorter jail time, lower level of treatment, or less time on probation.

How Can Someone Prepare For Sentencing After Conviction Or A Guilty Plea In a DUI Case?

If someone is pleading guilty to a DUI and they are going to be sentenced by the court, the court considers many factors in determining the sentence. One of these factors is how committed the individual is to change and whether the person is remorseful for what they have done. We encourage clients to get an alcohol evaluation as soon as possible in order to start any treatment that is recommended. We encourage them to discuss with family and friends the changes they need to make to get their support. We also discuss with them their life goals and help them look at how this charge affects their family, education, and employment. We desire to help individuals set their goals to be productive members of society.

The more an individual is able to do this prior to sentencing, the better off they will be in front of the court with regard to fines, length of probation, extent of any needed treatment as well as upfront jail time. Lastly an individual is able to qualify for a withheld judgement, if they successfully complete probation. In Idaho you only get one withheld judgement in your lifetime so we discuss at what point an individual wants to receive a withheld judgement. If you receive a withheld judgment, the court will remove the guilty plea and put it in as a not guilty plea. After this is done, when you are applying for jobs or employment you can say that you were not convicted of a criminal charge.

However, if you were charged with a second or a third DUI, the prior charge where you received a withheld judgement can still be used to enhance your penalties.

For more information on Diversion Programs For DUI Offenders, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (208) 552-1165 today.


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