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Idaho Alcohol Laws

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Hard liquor is sold in state stores in Idaho, often called ABC or package stores. It is illegal to consume alcohol on their premises because they have an ‘off-premises’ license, unlike restaurants or bars. Beer and wine are available in convenience stores and groceries. Bars, restaurants, and package stores are open various hours and are not state-regulated as to the times they serve alcohol. They will be affected by their local township or county laws.

Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol

While you can be 19 years of age to handle sales of alcohol or serve it in a restaurant, like all states you must be 21 to consume alcohol.

Open Container Laws

All previously opened containers of alcohol must be carried in the trunk of the vehicle.

BAC Limits

Like most states, Idaho has a BAC (blood-alcohol content) maximum level of .08 percent. Over this amount, the driver is considered ‘per se intoxicated’ and can be arrested and convicted of DUI based on this evidence alone.

To deter underage drivers from drinking, ‘zero tolerance laws’ state that a driver under the age of 21 who is tested with a BAC of .02 percent or above is subject to DUI penalties.

Any driver with a particularly high BAC at the time of arrest – more than .20 percent above the legal limit of .08 percent – will be given harsher punishment by the courts, as will a driver who refuses to comply with chemical testing for intoxication.


A driver suspected of DUI (driving under the influence) must comply with a police officer’s request to perform a breath, blood, or urine test for intoxication. This falls under the ‘implied consent laws,’ which a driver accepted as conditions for driving when s/he signed for a driver’s license. Refusal to comply with testing can mean mandatory driver’s license suspension for up to one year.

Free Online DUI Case EvaluationThe DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) can suspend a driver’s license for the first DUI offense for 90 days; for the second offense, one year; and for the third offense, one year.

It is not a penalty option in Idaho to confiscate a driver’s vehicle upon conviction of DUI or to sentence the driver to alcohol education classes, but the courts could require installation of an ignition interlock device.