Following a DUI arrest in Idaho, you are likely anxious about your future and uncertain of what steps you need to take to ensure the best outcome. One of your top worries is likely whether you will go to jail. Going to jail could affect your job, your family, your finances, and your future, so the possibility of jail is, understandably, a scary proposition. The answer to whether you will go to jail has much to do with the DUI attorney you hire. The sooner you have an experienced DUI attorney working for you, the likelihood of a better outcome is more possible.
Why Choose a DUI Attorney from Cutler Law Office, P.A. Following Your Arrest?
The Cutler Law Office, P.A. is a criminal defense firm with an emphasis on DUI. Attorney John Cutler has an extensive amount of training in the DUI area specifically. He is a member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD) which is a national organization that provides training and support for attorneys who do a lot of DUI work. At the time of this writing, there are only eight attorneys in the state of Idaho that are members of the NCDD and because DUI is a complex area of the law, this can make a difference in your defense.
As part of John Cutler’s DUI education, he has been to the same training courses that law enforcement takes to investigate DUIs, including taking the student and instructor’s courses of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. The student course is the same training officers received to both investigate DUIs and administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). In 2022 John Cutler completed NHTSA’s “Advance Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement” course (ARIDE training). This course dealt specifically with drugs and impaired driving. Very few DUI attorneys have completed these courses. Knowing how officers are trained to do their job gives Mr. Cutler a distinct advantage in reviewing how an officer did with their DUI investigation. This knowledge gives Mr. Cutler an advantage in his cross-examination of an officer in court, and thus the presentation of your case to the jury.
Whether John is working on a motion to suppress, or comprehensively reviewing the evidence surrounding your DUI arrest, he will work hard to help you get your life back on track.
What Are Potential Penalties for a First-Time DUI Arrest?
Whether jail time for your first DUI will be a part of your punishment will depend on many different issues, including whether your arrest is for a first-offense misdemeanor DUI or an excessive DUI or a felony DUI or a felony aggravated DUI, meaning you caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to another person as a result of your impairment. Generally, the more severe the charge the greater chance of jail time. In fact, 2nd offense DUIs and excessive DUI (meaning you had a breath test result of .20 or higher) both carry a mandatory minimum of 10 days of jail. Felony DUI carries a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail.
Generally speaking, the penalties for a first-offense DUI include a jail sentence that can be up to six months, a fine that may be up to $1,000, a license suspension of at least 90 days but up o 180 days (with the first 30 days being absolute before you can apply for a restricted license for work purposes), and a state-approved ignition interlock system installed on any vehicle you drive for a period of one year following the end of the suspension period. You will also be required to obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation and SR-22 insurance. Following the drug and alcohol evaluation, the judge may order treatment, classes, or other requirements associated with addressing substance abuse issues.
How Your DUI Attorney Can Help You Avoid Jail Time for First DUI
Of course, your number one priority—and that of your attorney— if you plead to or are convicted of a DUI is to avoid jail time. If your breath test results (BAC) were not above .20 percent and there was no accident caused by your impaired driving, it will be possible and easier for your attorney to keep you out of jail. This is also true if you have no prior criminal history. Your attorney will work hard to reach a plea bargain with the prosecutor if it is not possible to get your charges dropped altogether.
A plea bargain might include community service in lieu of jail time. Your attorney will also show the judge that jail time is unnecessary to keep you from drinking and driving again because you are willing to change your behavior through driver education programs and counseling. Or, even if you qualify for a waiver, you might agree to an ignition interlock device to hold you accountable and avoid jail time.
Finally, your attorney may argue that sending you to jail could be more damaging to helping you avoid subsequent offenses if it keeps you away from your job or school or makes it difficult to support your children.
What Are Potential Defenses to DUI Charges?
While your defense will depend on the circumstances and facts surrounding your DUI arrest, some of the more common defenses include:
- Affirmative defenses such as:
- Duress or Necessity defense provides that you drove in order to prevent a greater evil—you had no option to avoid driving while under the influence because the alternative was severe potential harm to yourself or another human being.
- Involuntary intoxication, meaning you ingested the alcohol without your knowledge or consent.
- You were improperly stopped, meaning the officer lacked probable cause to make the initial traffic stop.
- The standardized field sobriety tests were improperly administered, or the results were inaccurate.
- The portable breathalyzer machine was not properly calibrated or the officer was not properly trained to administer the test.
- There was a chain of custody issues or lab mistakes with your blood test.
- You were not actually driving or were not in the driver’s position at the time of the stop.
- The police violated your civil rights or otherwise acted improperly.
- The elements of your case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The more defense found the greater chance you can win your case.
Getting the Help You Need from Cutler Law Office, P.A.
If you are in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, Rigby, St. Anthony, Rexburg, Driggs, Arco, Victor, or Island Park, attorney John Cutler will work hard to help you avoid jail time for a first DUI. John understands your situation, including all the penalties associated with a DUI arrest. As a former prosecuting attorney, John Cutler has experience on both sides of the aisle, which can be valuable in your case. This gives him a significant advantage over other defense attorneys because he knows the way prosecutors think. John has extensive DUI training and will spend the necessary time to investigate your case, listen to you and do a thorough dive into your case. John will take the time to explain the judicial process to you, so you know what to expect, and have the knowledge to make your best decision regarding your case. Mr. Cutler is always working for you and for your best outcome. Contact Cutler Law Office, P.A. today.