Our office has recently received a lot of calls and questions about inattentive driving. Inattentive driving citations are becoming increasingly popular around the Treasure Valley, and this article aims to provide a quick summary about them.
What is inattentive driving?
Inattentive driving is a misdemeanor and is defined as driving conduct that is “inattentive, careless, or imprudent in light of the circumstances” (see Idaho Code 49-1401). The statute is broad and encompasses a wide range of behavior, such as swerving when changing the radio station or accidentally bumping into the car in front of you. Although drivers in other states are not typically cited for any criminal charges when common mistakes like these are made, Idaho is unique. Idaho police, especially around the Treasure Valley, won't think twice before issuing a citation for inattentive driving when they have reason to believe the driver was distracted. Although these citations help encourage safe driving patterns, they can have serious consequences on the drivers who are cited.
Inattentive driving is not an infraction. It is a misdemeanor and should not be taken lightly! It is a criminal offense that can result in a $300 fine and/or 90 days of jail. In addition to the penalties ordered by the court, a conviction can cause you significant financial harm. Monthly premiums for your personal auto insurance may drastically increase. If you work in an industry that requires you to drive as part of your job, your employer may fire you due to increases to the cost of their liability insurance.
In addition, because it is considered a criminal offense and criminal charges typically remain on an Idaho record indefinitely, it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can carefully evaluate the evidence in your case and advocate on your behalf.
Should you plead guilty?
While the choice is yours, it's recommended that you at least speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty. We know what we're doing, we provide you with knowledge and resources, and, honestly, how could it really hurt? Even if the odds are stacked against you, there is still a lot we can do, such as limit the consequences this charge may have on your life. Without the expertise of an attorney, your case may spin out of control and you may end up doing yourself and your future considerable harm.
Call us today for a free consultation.