A change to Idaho Misdemeanor Rule 5(b) now requires that anyone charged with either an excessive DUI (BAC over .2) or a second DUI offense appear for arraignment in person within 48 hours. This rule now requires a personal appearance, the filing of a notice of appearance by your lawyer will not do.
What is behind this rule change? There is no statute in Idaho that requires a personal appearance for a second DUI offense. More importantly, the rule change is said to have occurred because prosecutors on the Misdemeanor and Infraction Rules Committee complained that persons charged with their second DUIs were getting another DUI before the second had been adjudicated.
Does this ever happen? Probably. Does it happen often? I don’t think so. Then what is the practical effect of the rule change?
Prosecutors now routinely ask the judge to add a condition to pretrial release: alcohol monitoring.
Say that you have a second DUI and post a $1000 bond. At the arraignment, the Judge will consider the request and decide whether to add this condition (or any other condition) to your release. If added, you will have to pay the cost of the SCRAM device – which monitors for alcohol use. If you cannot pay the SCRAM cost, you cannot stay out on bail.
Look – a DUI can ruin your day. A second DUI or an excessive DUI has even more serious consequences – including that one year drivers license suspension the will not allow you to drive anywhere, not even to work. But adding alcohol monitoring as a condition of release simply makes it more likely that defendants will not be able to stay bonded out and employed.
As I said, the prosecutor will ask the judge to add this condition to your release. The judge may deny that request and order that you abstain from using alcohol instead. Magistrate judges in Ada County do a pretty good job of making their own decisions about what it will take to cause a defendant to comply with the conditions of release. But be careful if you are headed to that arraignment. Be prepared to tell the court why the alcohol monitoring is not needed in your case.