Best Idaho Criminal Lawyers

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Best Idaho Criminal Lawyers

If you have been charged with a crime in Idaho, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. An knowledgeable lawyer understands Idaho’s complex criminal laws and procedures and can build the strongest possible defense to fight the charges. This article provides an in-depth look at Idaho criminal law and how a skilled Idaho criminal lawyer can defend your rights and freedom.

Overview of Idaho Criminal Law

Idaho has a comprehensive set of criminal statutes that define criminal conduct and penalties. The major categories of crimes in Idaho include:

  • Violent Crimes: Murder, manslaughter, assault, battery, domestic violence, kidnapping, robbery.
  • Property Crimes: Theft, burglary, trespassing, vandalism, arson.
  • Sex Crimes: Rape, statutory rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a child, solicitation of prostitution.
  • Drug Crimes: Possession, manufacture, distribution, trafficking, paraphernalia possession.
  • DUI: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • White Collar Crimes: Fraud, embezzlement, forgery, identity theft.

Idaho has adopted portions of the model penal code and also has specific criminal statutes that relate to the state. The statutes define the elements of each offense that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The statutes also classify offenses into felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions, with penalties ranging from fines to years in prison.

Idaho Felony Classes and Sentences

Idaho categorizes felonies into these classes with the following potential sentences:

  • Class A Felony: Minimum 3 years, maximum life sentence or death penalty
  • Class B Felony: Minimum 1 year, maximum 25 years
  • Class C Felony: Minimum 1 year, maximum 10 years
  • Class D Felony: Minimum 1 year, maximum 5 years
  • Class E Felony: Minimum 1 year, maximum 3 years

In addition to imprisonment, felonies may carry fines up to $50,000. Specific statutes provide the classification of each felony crime.

Idaho Misdemeanors and Penalties

Idaho categorizes misdemeanors into these classes with the following potential sentences:

  • Class A Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in jail, up to $1,000 fine
  • Class B Misdemeanor: Up to 6 months in jail, up to $1,000 fine
  • Class C Misdemeanor: Up to 90 days in jail, up to $300 fine

Idaho Infraction Penalties

Infractions are punishable by fines but do not carry jail time. Fines can range from $25 up to $300 in most cases.

How a Skilled Idaho Criminal Attorney Defends Your Rights

Facing criminal charges in Idaho can be overwhelming. Prosecutors represent the State of Idaho and work closely with law enforcement to build cases against defendants. As the accused, the deck may seem stacked against you. An experienced Idaho criminal defense lawyer levels the playing field and protects your rights at every stage.

Investigating the Charges and Police Conduct

An effective defense starts with thoroughly examining the charges and conduct of the investigation. Your attorney will:

  • Review charging documents and evidence reports
  • Interview witnesses and investigate the scene
  • Check for illegal searches that violated the 4th Amendment
  • Look for Miranda violations during interrogation
  • Assess if lineups or identification procedures were suggestive
  • Determine if there was entrapment by undercover agents
  • Challenge unreliable informants or witnesses
  • Dispute profiling or selective enforcement by police

Vigorously contesting the grounds for the charges and questioning the investigative methods lays the foundation for getting evidence suppressed or charges dismissed pre-trial.

Negotiating with the Prosecutor

An experienced criminal lawyer will engage the prosecution in negotiations to get charges reduced or dismissed through:

  • Plea bargains to lesser charges
  • Agreements to alternative sentencing programs
  • Stipulations to key facts or dismissal of enhancements
  • Cooperating as an informant or witness in related cases

At a minimum, skilled negotiations can reduce incarceration exposure and mitigate the long-term collateral consequences of a conviction.

Mounting an Effective Criminal Defense at Trial

When plea negotiations reach an impasse, your attorney must fully prepare for trial. This involves:

  • Filing motions to exclude prejudicial evidence or testimony
  • Retaining expert witnesses to rebut the prosecution’s theories
  • Developing a theme and strategy for the defense case
  • Obtaining favorable jury instructions from the judge
  • Conducting effective cross-examination of the state’s witnesses
  • Presenting persuasive opening and closing arguments

At trial, your lawyer’s role is to create reasonable doubt about the prosecution’s version of events. They highlight inconsistencies, challenge assumptions, and provide alternative explanations for the alleged criminal acts. The goal is to undermine the state’s case and give jurors reason to acquit.

Protecting Your Rights at Sentencing

If convicted at trial, the fight continues at sentencing. Your lawyer will:

  • Gather evidence to support mitigating factors
  • Obtain character references and expert evaluations
  • Research comparable cases and sentencing standards
  • Present a persuasive argument for probation and alternative sentencing
  • Challenge aggravating factors and enhancements

An effective sentencing presentation can still minimize incarceration and consequences by emphasizing your rehabilitation potential.

Finding the Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Idaho

To locate the best criminal lawyer in Idaho for your particular case, consider these factors:

  • Experience: Look for an attorney with extensive criminal trial experience and a proven track record of positive case results.
  • Local Knowledge: Find a lawyer intimately familiar with Idaho criminal statutes, courts, prosecutors, and procedures.
  • Resources: Choose a firm with sufficient staff and funds to thoroughly investigate, research, and litigate your defense.
  • Reputation: Select a respected attorney known for ethics, integrity, and passion for defending clients.
  • Specialized Skills: For certain charges, find a lawyer with relevant skills (e.g. DUI, sex crimes, or fraud).
  • Compatibility: Make sure you have a strong rapport with and trust in the attorney.

With your freedom on the line, it is critical to take the time to choose the right criminal defense lawyer in Idaho. Dedicated advocacy from an experienced attorney can make the difference between a guilty verdict and regaining your life.

Leading Idaho Criminal Defense Firms

Here are some of the top-rated criminal defense firms and attorneys in Idaho:

Boise Defense Attorneys

  • Alan Trimming
  • August Cahill
  • David Leroy
  • Jonathan Loschi
  • Mark Manweiler

Payette Defense Lawyers

  • Aaron Bazzoli
  • Michael Jacques
  • Tyler Powers

Pocatello Criminal Attorneys

  • Brian Tanner
  • Joe Hurley
  • Nick Wollen
  • Ron Kerl
  • Tom Dominick

Idaho Falls Defense Team

  • BJ Driscoll
  • Brandie Rouse
  • Greg Fuller
  • John Thomas
  • Marty Raap

Coeur d’Alene Criminal Lawyers

  • Brad Chapman
  • Fred Loats
  • Jay Logsdon
  • John Redal
  • Scott Poorman

This list provides a starting point, but take time to research reviews, experience, and qualifications as you choose your Idaho criminal defense attorney. Your freedom depends on making the right choice.

Common Criminal Charges in Idaho

To understand what you may be up against, here are some of the most frequently prosecuted criminal offenses in Idaho and potential defenses:

Drug Crimes

Idaho strictly enforces drug possession laws. Common charges include:

  • Possession of Marijuana – Idaho Code § 37-2732(c)
  • Possession of Paraphernalia – § 37-2734A
  • Possession of Controlled Substances – § 37-2732
  • Trafficking – § 37-2732B
  • Manufacturing – § 37-2732

Defenses: Illegal search, mere presence near drugs, entrapment, misidentified substance, lack of knowledge or intent.

Property Crimes

Theft, burglary, and destruction of property are common property offenses. Charges include:

  • Petit Theft – § 18-2407
  • Grand Theft – § 18-2403
  • Burglary – § 18-1401
  • Malicious Injury to Property – § 18-7001

Defenses: Mistake of fact, rightful ownership, false accusations, lack of felony damage.

DUI Charges

Idaho has strict DUI laws with severe penalties for elevated BAC levels. Charges include:

  • Driving Under the Influence – § 18-8004
  • Excessive DUI – § 18-8004C
  • Aggravated DUI – § 18-8006

Defenses: Illegal traffic stop, inaccurate breathalyzer, rising BAC, medical conditions.

Assault and Battery

Violent crimes are aggressively prosecuted. Charges include:

  • Aggravated Assault – § 18-901
  • Aggravated Battery – § 18-907
  • Domestic Battery – § 18-918
  • Attempted Strangulation – § 18-923

Defenses: Self-defense, false allegations, misidentification of attacker, lack of intent.

Sex Crimes

Sex offenses call for severe penalties and registration requirements. Charges include:

  • Rape – § 18-6101
  • Sexual Abuse of a Child – § 18-1506
  • Lewd Conduct with Minor – § 18-1508
  • Enticing of Children – § 18-1509

Defenses: False accusations, mistaken age, consent, lack of sexual intent.

An experienced Idaho criminal defense attorney can carefully examine the evidence and build a defense to defeat these and other criminal charges.

The Criminal Process in Idaho

Understanding the key steps in the criminal justice process will help you know what to expect and assert your rights:

1. Arrest and Charging

The process starts with an arrest by police and a decision by prosecutors to file formal charges. At this stage, your lawyer can argue against charging or for release without bail.

2. Arraignment

At your arraignment hearing, you are formally advised of the charges and enter an initial plea. Your attorney may be able to negotiate an immediate dismissal or reduction of charges.

3. Pretrial Proceedings

Extensive pretrial litigation occurs, including motions to suppress evidence, hearings to challenge probable cause, and attempts to negotiate a favorable plea bargain.

4. Trial

If no plea deal is reached, the case proceeds to trial. Your lawyer must be prepared to cross-examine witnesses, present evidence, and argue before the jury.

5. Sentencing

If convicted at trial, the court imposes sentencing after reviewing arguments, evidence, and impact statements. Your lawyer will advocate for the lowest possible sentence.

6. Appeal

You have the right to appeal convictions based on legal errors that occurred during the case. Your attorney handles the complex appeal process.

At every stage, an Idaho criminal defense lawyer protects your rights while seeking the best possible outcome given the circumstances.

Idaho Laws and Resources

For more detailed information on Idaho criminal laws and procedures, consult these primary sources:

An experienced Idaho criminal lawyer utilizes these resources to build the strongest case for their clients. The laws, while complex, contain many opportunities for defense if used strategically.


Facing criminal prosecution in Idaho can be daunting, with your reputation, freedom, and future at stake. These high stakes make it essential that you retain an accomplished Idaho criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. The top lawyers in the state have the skills and determination to thoroughly investigate your case, identify weaknesses, negotiate with prosecutors, and defend you in court. Leveraging the experience of a seasoned criminal defense professional can help you avoid harsh penalties so you can get your life back.