Our firm has over 40 years of experience representing clients charged with DUII. We respect your time. Regardless of how or why you are here, our goal is to provide you with good advice and efficient, friendly service. Ultimately, we want to get you back to your normal routine as quickly as possible. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUII please contact our office at 503-224-3100 to schedule an appointment with our helpful and friendly attorneys. We look forward to working with you.
NAVIGATING A DUII CHARGE
You are a few blocks from your house. You and your friends just ended a great night and it was even better for you because you kept winning at 8 ball. The product of your victory was that your friends had to buy the last round of shots. That last shot of Fireball, made your ears buzz and you could feel the warmth in your face, but what a night! You feel like you are the “King of the World!!”. You are so excited about winning that you may have failed to notice that you were still a little buzzed.
As you cross through the intersection, red and blue lights illuminate the inside of your car. Your heart races, you know you weren’t speeding. You had been watching that speedometer religiously, in fact so religiously that you sat a little too long at that last intersection and you didn’t notice that your vehicle was gently gliding in and out of the far lane lines.
The Officer has pulled you over. He asks if you’ve been drinking and you indicate you have had 1 or 2, which in truth was more like 3 or 4, but that was hours ago so those earlier ones shouldn’t count, or so it seems…. He asks you to submit to some field sobriety tests and asks you to “blow” into a Breathalyzer unit. Your mind races as you ask yourself, Should I? Isn’t my right to refuse? Can they make me do this? …..What happens if I refuse? What happens if I fail?
SHOULD I “BLOW”?
Many people think that it is their right to refuse to “blow” into a breathalyzer, however Oregon law requires you to take a blood, breath or urine test if you are arrested for a DUI. Under Oregon’s “Implied Consent” law an officer who has probable cause and believes that you have been driving while under the influence can require you to submit to a chemical test of your blood or breath for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content also referred to BAC. While you do not have to submit to a blood test unless you have been in an accident or have been injured, if you are in an accident and are unconscious at the scene, the officer can request medical staff to perform a blood test to determine your BAC.
Once you refuse an officer cannot make you take the test, but the fact that you refuse can be used against you later in court. At the time of your refusal the officer can take your license and give you a temporary permit which is good for 30 days. If you refuse to take the test, your license can be suspended by DMV for up to a year and you could be required to pay a fine of $500.00 to $1,000.00. These are DMV fines and are in addition to other fees that the court may charge. If this not your first time refusing to submit to a breath test, your license could be suspended by the DMV for up to 3 years.
When you are pulled over, in addition to charging you for DUII, the officer may also give you a ticket for speeding, reckless driving, hit and run, or other applicable crimes or traffic offenses. It is important to pay attention to these other tickets and the appearance dates noted on each ticket as the court date may be different for each ticket. While the DUII may be the most serious charge you are facing, it is equally important to deal with the other tickets. If you ignore the other tickets or forget about them, they can affect the successfulness of Diversion. If you do not pay the fines promptly the amount you are required to pay can increase quickly. Make sure when you are paying fines and fees that the court is applying them to the correct case. Having an attorney assist you with your DUII can lessen the confusion and often an attorney is able to get of all your charges to track together. An attorney can also help to combine all the charges, negotiate reduction in fines and potentially have some charges dismissed or dropped.
If you fail a breathalyzer you have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing. If you refuse the take a breathalyzer you have 10 days from the date of your arrest or citation to request a DMV hearing. You may request a hearing online at https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/pages/driverid/ichearing. If you meet with an attorney prior to the ten day deadline, make sure you are clear as to whether or not the attorney is assisting you with the DMV hearing. To avoid missing the request deadline, make sure you know whether or not they are going to request a hearing on your behalf. It is important to follow up with DMV to make sure that your request for a hearing is received. If your request is not timely received, regardless of attempts to make the request on time, you may be denied the option of have a hearing.
If your license is suspended, you may be eligible to apply and obtain a hardship permit. A hardship permit will allow you to drive while your license is suspended. Your permit will allow you to drive only during very specific times and only to and from very specific places such as your place of employment. If you are caught driving during times not permitted or at places not permitted (Grocery Store) your hardship permit may be revoked and you may face additional charges. If you are in a Diversion program, additional traffic tickets may get you kicked out of the program and you may end up going to jail.
If you have a job with normal set hours, that is not easily accessible by public transportation or is a very long distance from your home to your place of employment, a hardship permit can usually be obtained without issue. If you travel during the day or for work as a salesperson, delivery driver, or if you are not employed, obtaining a hardship permit is can be more difficult and the court may not be granted your request.
If this is your first DUII offense, you may be eligible to participate in a program called “Diversion”. Diversion requires you to complete a drug and alcohol assessment, attend a victim’s impact panel, and complete certain drug and alcohol treatment. If you successfully do this, the DUI will be dismissed and will not go on your record.
ENHANCED PROVISIONS =$$$
If your blood alcohol levels were higher than 0.14% the fines you are required to pay may double. The doubling of the fine is referred to as “Enhanced” provisions. BAC levels higher that 0.16% (double the permissible blood alcohol limit) will almost always result in enhanced provision. The enhanced provisions are enforced because it is believed that if someone has a higher concentration of alcohol in their blood, there is a correlation with the the seriousness or the potential for serious and deadly related consequence.
If you are allowed to drive and are in a Diversion program you will be required to install an interlock device on your car. An interlock device requires you to blow into the device prior to starting your vehicle. If you are not intoxicated you will be allowed to start your vehicle. If you are intoxicated or alcohol is detected, your vehicle will not start, the failure will be recorded. If you have been consuming alcohol, your Diversion may be revoked as Diversion requirements state that you may not consume alcohol while in the Diversion program, this would include medication that contains alcohol such as cold and cough syrup.
There is an initial installation fee for the interlock device as well as a monthly fee. It is also important to remember that the interlock devices can be very sensitive. Some interlock devices detect alcohol even if you have not blown into the device. If the interlock device detects alcohol in error you will need to acquire a urine analysis or blood test to prove that you have not consumed alcohol. Those test results should be given to your attorney and/or submitted to the court as soon as possible.
We have discovered that certain air fresheners can set off the device, specifically Febreeze air freshener’s or canned air cleaning products such as DustOff. We recommend avoiding using these products, vent clips or liquid type air freshener while an interlock device is installed on your vehicle.
NOT ELIGIBLE FOR DIVERSION / ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
If Diversion is not available and you take your case to trial and lose, you could face up to a year in jail and be required to pay a minimum fine of up to $1,000.00.
Even if you are not eligible for Diversion an attorney may be able to negotiate a lower fine and possibly other alternatives to jail time.
DO NOT LOSE HOPE- OPTIONS ARE STILL AVAILABLE
If this is not your first DUII or if you have completed a Diversion program in the past 10 years, Diversion will not be an option for you. There are still options available for you that could avoid jail time. In some circumstances, clients can enter into a plea the required more intense treatment as well as community service, but that still avoid jail time.
PUNISHMENT AND FINES
A first offense for DUII is a class A misdemeanor. The maximum fines for a class A Misdemeanor are $6,250.00 and the maximum jail time is 1 year.
A second or third DUII offense occurring within 10 year of the first offense may be classified as a Class C Felony. A Class C Felony is punishable with up to 5 years.
The maximum fine that the court may impose on a person convicted of DUII is $10,000.00. A third DUII may also result in a permanent loss of your driving privileges or a suspension of us to 10 years.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
YOU SHOULD NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE. The consequence may not only be deadly to you but also to others.
- If you are caught driving under the influence, refusing a breathalyzer or field sobriety test could result in up to a year- long suspension of your driver’s license.
- If you have previously refused a breathalyzer test, you could have your license suspended for up to 3 years.
- If you fail or refuse a breath test, you have 10 days to request a DMV hearing.
- If your blood alcohol concentration(BAC) is higher than 0.14% you could face higher fines and penalties
- If this is not your first DUII or you have completed a Diversion program in the past 10 years, you are likely not eligible to participate in the Diversion program.
- Don’t lose hope there are still options available that can help you avoid jail time and that may reduce your fines.