Criminal Law

Competent Criminal Attorney You Can Rely On

Our attorneys have extensive experience with criminal cases.

DUI

Businessman in court with handcuffs on

Our firm has significant experience in criminal law, handling a wide variety of criminal matters including major cases in Federal Courts. Our experience has extended to everything from the prosecution and defense of homicides, to traffic tickets and everything in between. Paul Ziel and Alan Johnston are members of CJA (Criminal Justice Act), meant to handle only the most serious criminal cases in the Federal Courts. Mr. Ziel and Mr. Johnston have handled criminal cases that have gone through the extensive appeals process, going as high as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Simply put, there isn’t much we at MZJ haven’t seen in regards to Criminal Law. You can rest assured knowing that by retaining an MZJ Attorney, your rights will be preserved to the fullest extend possible.

DUI Defense

Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most common criminal charges that people face in Eastern Idaho. The most common DUI occurs when a person is operating a motor vehicle while having a blood content (BAC) of .08 or higher. However, a person can also be charged for DUI in Idaho if he or she is found to be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, a combination of alcohol and drugs, or any other intoxicating substance. If a person is driving a commercial vehicle, he or she can be charged if his or her BAC is .04 or higher. If a person is under 21 years of age, he or she can be charged with DUI if his or her BAC is .02 or higher. A person who has a BAC of .20 or higher can be convicted of an excessive DUI.

If a person has three DUI driving charges within the past ten years, or two excessive DUI charges, he or she can be charged with a felony. A person who causes a crash due to driving while under the influence, also may be charged with a felony depending on the circumstances.

If a person refuses to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test when a law enforcement officer suspects him or her of driving under the influence, his or her driver’s license may be suspended for up to one year. If a person agrees to submit to BAC testing and his or her level is over the legal limit, his or her license will be suspended for 90 days.

What Are the Different DUI Charges and What Are the Penalties of Each Type of Charge?

Idaho law has multiple DUI charges on the books and different penalty structures for each charge.

Summary of DUI charges

First Offense DUI

  • A person who has been charged with DUI for the first time or charged for the first time in more than 10 years after having been convicted. The general penalties and consequences include the following:
  • Maximum of six months in jail
  • Maximum of $1,000.00 fine
  • Driver’s license suspension of up to six months
  • SR-22 high-risk insurance
  • Up to two years of probation, which often includes taking drug and / or alcohol evaluations and following the recommendations of those evaluations and community service

Second Offense DUI

  • A person who has been charged with DUI for the second time within a 10-year period. The general penalties and consequences include the following:
  • Maximum of 12 months in jail with a minimum of 10 days, and 48 hours of the 10 days must be consecutive
    Maximum of $2,000.00 fine
  • Mandatory driver’s license suspension of one year
    SR-22 high-risk insurance
  • Maximum of two years of probation, which often includes taking drug and / or alcohol evaluations and following the recommendations of those evaluations

Excessive DUI

  • Maximum of 12 months in jail with a minimum of 10 days, and 48 hours of the 10 days must be consecutive
  • Maximum of $2,000.00 fine
  • Mandatory driver’s license suspension of one year
  • SR-22 high-risk insurance
  • Maximum of two years of probation, which often includes taking drug and / or alcohol evaluations and following the recommendations of those evaluations

Felony DUI

  • Maximum of 10 years in prison
  • Minimum of 30 days in jail with the first 48 hours being consecutive
  • $5,000.00 fine
  • Mandatory one-year driver’s license suspension with no exceptions for things such as work privileges
  • Mandatory SR-22 high-risk insurance and probation of up to 10 years, which often includes drug court
 
 

Crimes in Idaho are generally broken down into three categories

General Felony Defense

Felony offenses are defined as crimes with possible prison sentences of more than one year and large fines. Common examples of felony crimes include grand theft, burglary, felony drug possession charges, violent crime, and substantial property damage.

If you’re facing felony charges, Murray, Ziel, & Johnston, PLLC can help. In every case, we carefully review all of the prosecuting attorney’s materials, including police reports, video and audio recordings, and physical evidence. Upon completing a full review, we analyze your case for possible constitutional violations and aggressively fight to get evidence excluded if your constitutional rights were violated. We counsel with you regarding your options and the risks and rewards of each course of action.

A person charged with a felony generally has the right to a preliminary hearing within 14-21 days of being charged and we can help you to prepare for that hearing. In cases where it is appropriate to have trial, we work tirelessly to ensure that we give you the best possible chance of acquittal. In cases where it is appropriate to make plea agreements, we work hard to mitigate your consequences. We understand stigma, burden, heartache, and stress of being charged with a crime and will be with you from start to finish.

General Misdemeanor Defense

Misdemeanor offenses are defined as crimes with a maximum penalty of one year in local county jail, typically no more than $1000.00 fine (there are some exceptions to this fine amount), and a maximum of two years’ probation. Common examples of misdemeanor crimes include driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without privileges, battery, petit theft, possession of marijuana, disturbing the peace, and trespassing.

If you’re facing misdemeanor charges, Murray, Ziel, & Johnston can help. In every case, we carefully review all of the prosecuting attorney’s materials, including police reports, video and audio recordings, and physical evidence. Upon completing a full review, we analyze your case for possible constitutional violations and aggressively fight to get evidence excluded if your constitutional rights were violated. We counsel with you regarding your options and the risks and rewards of each course of action. In cases where it is appropriate to have trial, we work tirelessly to ensure that we give you the best possible chance of acquittal. In cases where it is appropriate to make plea agreements, we work hard to mitigate your consequences. We understand stigma, burden, heartache, and stress of being charged with a crime and will be with you from start to finish.

Juvenile Defense

Juvenile defense is a unique area of law in Idaho. Children under the age of 18 are treated differently in Idaho’s criminal justice system than regular offenders. Accordingly, a child charged with a juvenile offense should be represented by someone who is well-versed in Idaho’s juvenile system. Mr. Ziel prosecuted juvenile cases for over three years and each of the attorneys at Murray, Ziel, & Johnston have the knowledge and experience to help properly defend your child if he or she has been charged with a juvenile offense.

White-Collar Defense

White-collar crime is generally characterized as crimes committed in a business or a government setting. White-collar crime often involves crimes such as embezzlement, fraud, or misuse of computers. White-collar crimes are typically very serious felonies which carry punishments of multiple years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.

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