Drunk Driving in Idaho: What Is Legal Blood Alcohol Level?

Drink and drive laws in Idaho

In Idaho, 0.08% grams, or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, is the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level.

The 0.08% limit equates to one to two standard-size alcoholic beverages. However, this amount may change based on one’s gender, weight, and other attributes.

Please remember that the primary purpose of this post is to inform readers about drunk driving in Idaho. This page intends no endorsement or promotion of drunk driving.

In Idaho, it is prohibited to drive while impaired with alcohol or any other substance.

According to statistics, there were 214 fatal drunk driving collisions in Idaho, and drivers with blood alcohol concentrations higher than 0.08% were to blame for 29% of these collisions.

Idaho has DUI driving laws in place to stop drunk driving. So, following the state’s legal BAC limit is crucial before getting behind the wheel. If you must drive after drinking, consider calling a taxi or using a designated driver.

You can stay updated with the most recent DUI driving laws and regulations by visiting Idaho’s official website.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Idaho

If your BAC level is more significant than 0.08%, or 0.04% or higher for commercial drivers, you will face DUI charges in Idaho. Drivers under 21 years old are not allowed to drive with a BAC of 0.02% or higher.

Since various people react to alcohol differently, blood alcohol levels may range between individuals. Even a tiny amount of alcohol might cause some people to get disoriented.

Your BAC could change based on several factors, including the following:

  • weight
  • gender
  • level of stress and exhaustion
  • usage of pharmaceutical drugs
  • an empty stomach
  • alcohol consumption amount

To determine how much alcohol you can consume before operating a motor vehicle, consult a BAC chart or a calculator. These measures, however, may not be suitable for everyone because everyone’s reaction to alcohol varies.

A certified alcohol breathalyzer is still the best way to calculate your BAC.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Idaho

Every state has different DUI laws. According to studies, different BAC levels will cause varying degrees of impairment.

For instance, most people seem normal between 0.010% and 0.029%; nevertheless, when blood alcohol levels rise, the symptoms will become more apparent. 

Checking your blood alcohol level before driving is essential to avoiding penalties. Driving while intoxicated may result in administrative and legal repercussions.

Below is a list of Idaho’s DUI driving penalties to help you.

First Offense

A first-time DUI offender with a BAC level of 0.08% and above may face the following penalties:

  • Fines: Up: to $1,000 fine
  • Jail Time: Up to six months imprisonment
  • License Suspension: Up to 30 days suspension with an additional revocation period of 60 to 150 days. The offender may ask for restricted driving privileges if they can prove that they require a vehicle for work or the sake of their family’s health.

Second Offense

A second DUI conviction within ten years of the first conviction may lead to the following punishment:

  • Fines: Up to $2,000
  • Jail Time: Up to one-year imprisonment
  • License Suspension: Minimum of a one-year suspension
  • IID Installation: After the license suspension, the offender can only use a vehicle with an ignition interlock device (IID). The sentencing court will determine the duration.

Third or Subsequent Offense

For third and subsequent DUI offenders, the following penalties apply:

  • Fines: Up to $5,000
  • Jail Time: Up to 10 years in prison
  • License Suspension: One to five years suspension
  • IID Installation: After the license suspension, the offender can only drive a vehicle with the IID system. The sentencing judge will determine the duration.

Increased Sanctions for Excessive BAC

A first-time DUI offender with a BAC of 0.20% or above shall receive the following consequences:

  • Jail Time: One-year imprisonment
  • Fines: Up to $2,000 fine
  • License Suspension: Minimum of one-year license suspension

A second-time DUI offender with a BAC of 0.20% or higher who was also previously convicted of DUI with an excessive BAC of 0.20% or higher during five years may receive the following penalties:

  • Jail Time: Up to five years imprisonment
  • Fines: Maximum of $5,000 fine
  • License Suspension: One to five years suspension
  • IID Installation: After the suspension, the offender can only drive a vehicle with IID for a duration determined by the sentencing court.

When Can You Drink and Drive in Idaho?

As previously mentioned, everyone is affected by alcohol differently. Also, the BACs of men and women differ.

Men’s bodies have more alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) than women do. These enzymes are responsible for men’s rapid alcohol metabolism since they primarily serve to promote alcohol absorption. As a result, men metabolize alcohol more quickly than women.

If you’re unsure how much alcohol you can legally consume in Idaho before driving a car, use the information below as a basic guide.

The following information is derived from research. However, as everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, it may not apply to everyone.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in Idaho?

Drink beer and drive in Idaho

Based on this BAC chart, a man weighing around 54 kg (120 lbs) can have a BAC of 0.03% after consuming one 12-ounce (350 ml) beer.

In contrast, a lady with the same weight and beer consumption can have a BAC of 0.04%.

BAC charts demonstrate that a person who weighs less can have a higher BAC.

Drinking one to two beer bottles should be sufficient to stay under Idaho’s legal BAC limit. One bottle of beer should be plenty if you drive a commercial vehicle. Alcohol consumption is not recommended if you are under 21.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in Idaho?

A 5-ounce (142 ml) glass of wine can have an ABV of up to 12%. You can drink up to the legal BAC limit in Idaho with two glasses of wine.

A BAC of 0.04% or above might result in penalties for commercial vehicle drivers. Hence, consuming one glass of wine is enough to prevent them from exceeding the BAC limit.

Again, it is not advisable for people under 21 to drink alcohol and drive.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Idaho?

Consuming hard liquor can be problematic if you intend to drive afterward due to its high alcohol content. A shot of distilled spirits like vodka or whiskey can have up to 40% ABV.

Drinking one or two shots of whiskey or vodka is enough if you drive afterward. One shot is optimal for commercial vehicle drivers. If you are under 21, you should not consume hard liquor. 

Sticking to Impaired Driving Laws in Idaho

Drivers need to be mindful of the potential hazards of driving while intoxicated.

Avoiding driving after drinking alcohol is the wisest and safest course of action. Even if you’ve only consumed a few drinks, your blood alcohol level and driving ability are never certain. Instead of driving, you might seek other forms of alternate transportation.

If you must drive after drinking, make sure your blood alcohol level is under the permitted range in Idaho. To precisely calculate your BAC level, use a certified alcohol breathalyzer.

Also, it is best to stay updated with Idaho’s DUI driving laws by visiting the state’s official website.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.