"I have never been in any trouble before...I made a mistake...I am scared...What is going to happen to me?"
This is something I hear from potential clients on a regular basis. They have never had experience with the criminal justice system and they don't know what to suspect. If you are in this boat, reading articles like this one online can be a good place to start but I wouldn't linger - you are going to get far more accurate and detailed answers to your questions if you pick up the phone and call an attorney. Even a five minute conversation can shed a great deal of light on the process.
First Offense DUI Penalties
If you are convicted of a DUI first offense in Idaho (BAC between .08 and .20*), here are the potential consequences:
Jail time There is no minimum jail time for first-time DUI in Idaho, meaning those convicted could face no jail time at all. However, the state can ask the court to impose up to a six-month jail sentence. Likely, any conviction will result in some jail sentence, the amount of time will depend on the severity of the facts in that case. Most first-time DUI offenders are looking at somewhere between 5 and 15 days of jail and can complete their "jail time" through community service or SLD (see my blog article on this) instead of actually sitting behind bars.
License Suspension It's highly likely your license will be suspended for a period of at least 90 and 180 days in most cases. The first 30 days of this suspension is absolute - meaning no driving at all. After 30 days, most drivers can apply for a restricted license to get from work to home and to medical appointments.
Fines The maximum fine for a drunk driving conviction is $1,000, but defendants should also prepare for court costs ($202.50 in Ada County right now) and steep fees associated with an alcohol evaluation, alcohol education classes, the victims panel, drivers license reinstatement, jail options (SLD or community service), and more. In the end, you can easily hit financial costs in excess of $2000 and that does not include the cost of hiring an attorney.
Alcohol Evaluation and Alcohol Education Classes Those convicted of drunk driving must complete an alcohol evaluation and comply with any counseling or rehabilitation recommended by the evaluator.
Victims Panel Those convicted of drunk driving must participate in the Victims Panel, a one day class where people who have had their lives changed due to DUI age given the chance to tell their story.
Probation Most defendants are placed on probation for a period of 1-2 years.
For more information see: Idaho Code §18-8005 - Penalties.
*BAC over .20 is an Excessive DUI and has increased potential consequences.