Just how serious is the State of Idaho when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI)? Ask any experienced criminal defense attorney who practices in this state and the answer will undoubtedly be "very serious!"

Exhibit A in that regard is the life sentence handed down yesterday in Ada County District Court to a 14 time offender. I can’t recall anyone appearing for sentencing in Boise on his or her 14th DUI conviction. But 14 is just a number.

Even a single DUI conviction can make your life miserable!

Here are three things to take away from that DUI sentence:

First – in every criminal case the Court’s focus at sentencing is on public safety. A judge is tasked with the job of protecting society ("us") from others ("them") who place us at risk. Safety is job 1, at least after a finding of guilt. It would be hard to argue with the notion that someone who has more DUI convictions than toes may injure someone if left in society at large. So to protect society the Court acted to end that risk, at least for the next 15 years and perhaps for the life of the defendant.

Second – every DUI conviction leads to more serious consequences with the courts. The law makes a second DUI conviction more serious than a first. If you get a second DUI for example, you lose your drivers license for a year. That hurts more than for the first DUI, but less than for a third. The point here is simple – every conviction is more grief than the last, leading potentially to a felony DUI charge.

Third – every DUI charge is an opportunity to ask the bigger question in a defendant’s life: "Why am I in this mess?"

The law does not forbid drinking and driving. It forbids drinking too much and driving. But how much is too much? That sticky wicket has been the downfall of too many. The safest course is to honestly answer the question of why – in particular – do you have a drinking problem? If so, you need to get help at once. If this was simply the "one too many and never again" situation, you must take steps to mitigate against the effect of the DUI conviction at once. Get a good lawyer now.

If you have been charged with DUI, check out some of the posts on this blog relating to the subject by clicking the Topic "DUI" to the right of this page. There is a ton of useful info available here to help you learn about Idaho’s DUI law.