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What are Idaho Traffic Court Records?
Idaho traffic court records contain the official documents and proceedings of traffic court cases filed in the State of Idaho. They include records generated from the point of a citation for an offense to the eventual conclusion of the case.
Are Idaho Traffic Court Records Public Records?
Yes, traffic court records are considered to be public records. Records produced in courts of public record are deemed to be public records, accessible to every member of the public under the Freedom of Information Act.
Getting a Traffic Ticket in Idaho
A traffic ticket, or Uniform Citation, is a document issued as a summons for traffic violations by law enforcement officers in the state of Idaho. It is the officer's attestation of the events of the incident as observed by the officer. The citation will be completed by the officer before being issued to the defendant. The citation will contain the full name of the defendant and indicate if the citation is for an infraction or a misdemeanor. It will contain the full address of the defendant and other relevant bio-data such as sex, race, date of birth, social security number, etc. The driver's license number and other pertinent information will be recorded on the ticket as well as the details of the vehicle involved in the incident. The location, time and date of the incident will be recorded. In the violations section, the officer will indicate the charges being brought against the defendant along with the code section that was violated. The summons will indicate the court which has jurisdiction over the case with its address and provide a date and time for the court appearance. A court appearance is mandatory if the offense was indicated to be a misdemeanor. The defendant must sign the citation. This serves as a promise to appear and is not seen as an admission of guilt. The officer will sign and date the ticket before issuing it to the defendant. Compliance and penalty instructions are noted on the reverse of the ticket as well as contact information for the assigned court.
Traffic offenses in Idaho are either civil infractions or misdemeanors. Civil infractions are not viewed as crimes and offer no possibility of jail time. They have state-mandated fixed penalties established by the Idaho State Supreme Court, so fines and court costs for civil infraction are uniform throughout Idaho. Misdemeanors are viewed as crimes and carry the possibility of jail time, in addition to fines and charges. Contact the designated court if the citation issued by the law enforcement officer does not have the total fine amount.
Idaho uses a points-based system for keeping track of driver records. Convictions for traffic violations will be reported to the Idaho Department of Transportation. The Idaho Department of Transportation (IDT) will send a warning letter to any driver who earns 8-11 points in 12 months, 14-17 points in 24 months or 20-23 points in 36 months. The IDT will issue a 30-day license suspension if a driver earns 12-17 points in 12 months, a 60-day suspension if the driver earns 18-23 points in 24 months and a 6-month suspension if a driver earns 24 points and more in 36 months.
Traffic offenses are generally classified as Moving or Non-Moving violations. Moving violations are violations committed when a vehicle is in motion, such as DUI Non-moving violations are violations committed when a vehicle is not moving such as parking violations. Non-moving violations can also be committed by vehicles in motion such as failure to wear a seatbelt, but such violations do not lead to demerit points on the driver’s record.
What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in Idaho?
When you get a traffic ticket in Idaho, the course of response will depend on if the citation as for an infraction or a misdemeanor. If the violator is cited for a civil infraction, the violator can choose to
- Pay the Ticket
- Contest the Charges
If the defendant chooses to pay the ticket, it will be recorded as a guilty plea and will appear reported to the Idaho Department of Transportation (IDT) as a conviction, and result in demerit points being assessed to the defendant’s driving record. Payment for the ticket can be made online, by mail, or in person. There is no general website for online payments so the defendant will need to verify if the court offers the option to make online payments. If the court does then payment can be made on the court website. The defendant will require the citation number and a major credit card. Payments by mail can be made by sending a money order or check for the total amount along with a copy of the citation (or citation number) to the designated court. Payments can also be made in person by visiting the office of the court clerk with the violator’s copy of the citation and making the payment.
If the defendant chooses to contest the charges, the court must be informed of the decision. This can be done either by informing the court beforehand by contacting the court's clerk (information for contacting the court will be included on the reverse side of the citation) or by appearing in court on the assigned date and entering the plea. If the defendant contacts the court beforehand, a court official will schedule a date for the arraignment. The arraignment is the day on which the defendant enters the not guilty plea. A trial date will be scheduled thereafter. After the trial, the judge will render a verdict. If the defendant is found guilty, then they are liable for all fines, demerit points and any additional penalties rendered by the court. If the defendant is found not guilty, then the charges will be dismissed and the defendant will be exempt from all fines and demerit points, but may still be liable for court fees.
If the ticket was issued for a misdemeanor, the offender will be required to appear in court on the date indicated on the citation. During the court appearance, the defendant can choose to plead guilty and pay the fine or plead not guilty and contest the charges. If the defendant pleads guilty, all fines and any additional fees must be paid to the court. The defendant will also have demerit points assessed on their driving record by the IDT. If the defendant chooses to plead not guilty, a date will be scheduled for the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge will enter a verdict. If a guilty verdict is rendered, the defendant will be liable for all fines and penalties accruable from the charge. If a Not guilty verdict is rendered, the defendant will be exempt from all fines and demerit points. Court costs may still apply.
Failure to respond to a citation and to appear for any court date can lead to a license suspension and the issuance of a warrant of arrest against the defendant. If the defendant will be unable to make any court appearance, prior notice should be given to the court and the date should be rescheduled.
How Do I Find Idaho Traffic Court Records?
Idaho traffic court records can be located using the Idaho Courts website or if it is known, the individual court website. Either of these websites will have a search option to locate court records. Records can also be obtained by physically visiting the courthouse where the case was filed and filing a request in person.
Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels
What Information is Required to Obtain Idaho Traffic Court Records?
To obtain Idaho traffic court records, the requester will need to provide the full name of the defendant on record, when filing the request for the records. The requestor may also be asked to provide other information such as the case number of the record. Before receiving the record the requestor will need to provide a valid, state-approved form of identification and pay any applicable fees.
Are all Traffic Violations handled the same way in Idaho?
The processes for the handling of traffic violations in the state of Idaho are similar for all violations of the same type. This is to say that all offenses which are designated as infractions will be handled in the same manner and all misdemeanor-designated offenses will be handled similarly. Fines and penalties will vary by nature of the offense and, in some cases, by location.
Can Idaho Traffic Records be sealed or expunged?
Idaho law severely limits the expungement of adult criminal records and, as such, most convictions cannot be expunged. This includes misdemeanor traffic offenses. It is possible to apply for the expungement of arrest records if the defendant was arrested but not charged or if the defendant was acquitted.
How Does One End Up in an Idaho Traffic court?
In Idaho one ends up in traffic court when one is cited for a traffic violation by a law enforcement officer and the offense cited for is a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors require the defendant to make a court appearance to respond to the charge. One could also end up in an Idaho traffic court if cited for a civil infraction and the defendant chooses to reject the charges and contest the ticket.
Which Courts in Idaho have jurisdiction to hear traffic violation matters?
In Idaho, traffic violations are handled by the Magistrate division of the District Court which has jurisdiction over the location where the offense was allegedly committed.