The crime of DUII in Oregon
A driver can be charged with DUI in Oregon for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. This can mean either that you have a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater or that your mental and physical capabilities are adversely affected by alcohol or a controlled substance.
It is also possible for a driver to be charged with DUI, arrested and convicted, even with a BAC of less than .08. In some Oregon counties, its common to see somebody that blew .06 or .07 still get charged with a DUII. One reason is that a lot of people think that .08 is actually too high of a standard for determining when a person is adversely affected by alcohol. People experience the effects of alcohol differently. For example someone might be totally unaffected by alcohol and have BAC of .09 or even .1. Some people might be seriously affected when they’re blood-alcohol level is .05 or 06.
Another reason is that some prosecutors in Oregon are more aggressive about DUII charges. What it means on the street is if you get pulled over and show signs of impairment, you may end up being charged with DUI regardless of your blood alcohol content level.
Charged With DUI – Felony or Misdemeanor?
The crime of DUII in Oregon is a class A misdemeanor. It’s punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $6250 in fines. A DUII becomes a felony only upon a person’s third conviction where the two previous convictions occurred within the past 10 years.
I’ve been charged with DUII. Is my life over?
The short answer is no. The first thing to understand is that it’s an incredibly common charge in Oregon. People from all walks of life get charged with DUI – doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians, even judges themselves. It’s not a crime that affects certain types of people more than others. It’s the same generally all across the board. This means that most employers are fairly understanding of a person’s first DUI and it will not result in termination of employment. If you are required to drive for your job, a DUII will likely have a great effect on you than someone who doesn’t need to drive for work because there are often restrictions on driving following a DUII; either a license suspension or a requirement to install an ignition interlock device.
What are the different types of sanctions when charged with DUII in Oregon?
There are two tracks that people are headed down when they get a DUI. One track is the criminal track which is the process that goes through a criminal court in Oregon. It could be a circuit court, or it could be a municipal or city court.
The second track is the one which goes through the Oregon DMV, which is a state agency. Accompanying the criminal charge, many people have either failed a breath test or refused a breath test. Either one of those things is an independent violation of a statute called the implied consent law.
The implied consent law says that if you are a licensed driver in Oregon you consent to having your breath tested if a police officer has probable cause to believe that you have committed a DUII. That violation in and of itself is not a crime and is not punishable by jail time. It’s only punishable with license suspension and fines.
The most important thing to remember is that the DMV track, has a very short timeline. You only have 10 days after an arrest to request a DMV hearing if you’ve failed or refused a breath test. Otherwise the suspension goes into effect automatically and there’s no other way to challenge that. Beyond 10 days after an arrest, it’s oftentimes too late to do anything about the suspension.
The criminal track usually has a slightly longer timeline. This is largely due to the fact that the arresting officer issues a citation, which needs to be reviewed by an attorney in either the District Attorney’s Office or City Attorney’s Office. Usually that process of getting the citation from the officer, to the District Attorney or City Attorney for them to make a charging decision, can take anywhere from two days to 10 days. But it’s not unusual to see an arraignment or court appearance on a DUI scheduled as many as 30 days out.
Why The LeSueur Law Firm?
A lot of people tell me things like, “I’ve got a clean record” or, “I’ve never been arrested before”. That’s true of most people I talk to. This is the first bad thing that’s ever happen to them, but they don’t know how common this is. They don’t understand how the laws are structured to help them get their lives back together after this is happened.
Fortunately we are experts in this area of Criminal Defense Law. We know how to navigate the system to get you the most favorable outcome from your DUII case. If you have been arrested and charged with DUII in the greater Portland area, please call us for a free consultation and get an experienced DUII trial lawyer in your corner.