DUII Attorney in Portland
Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) is a common charge in Oregon. A police officer’s subjective belief gives him the authority to investigate someone he has pulled over for a traffic violation for a DUII, and arrest that person if he believes there is probable cause that the person has been affected by the consumption or use of intoxicants. This includes alcohol, drugs, or even prescription medications.
A DUII arrest is many people’s first exposure to the criminal justice system. It is not uncommon for a police officer to arrest someone who is not under the influence of intoxicants – someone who has only had a social drink or two and is unimpaired and perfectly able to drive a motor vehicle. Since a DUII investigation requires subjecting a person to testing that he is not familiar with, it can be a very anxiety-ridden and scary process.
A DUII arrest has two components. The first component is a proposed license suspension by the Department of Motor Vehicles under the Implied Consent statute. The second component is the criminal charge of DUII. These are two completely different and separate matters.
Implied Consent Suspension. Usually a person who is pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence is requested to participate in a series of field sobriety tests and then, after the arrest, is requested to take a breath test. If a person refuses the breath test, there is an enhanced license suspension on the part of the Department of Motor Vehicles. If the person takes the breath test and fails, (blows an .08 BAC or above) then there is an administrative license suspension of between 90 days and 3 years, depending upon a person’s history, beginning on the 30th day after arrest. A person has 10 days from the date of the arrest to request an Implied Consent Hearing to contest the proposed suspension of their driver’s license. That hearing has to be held within 30 days of the date of arrest, before the proposed suspension goes into effect. It is important that a person request a hearing within 10 days of the arrest or they will lose their right to contest the proposed suspension of their license.
Criminal Charges for DUII. A criminal conviction for DUII carries up to a one year jail sentence and a $6,250.00 fine. There is also the potential for a driver’s license suspension, based upon a person’s criminal history, ranging from one year to a lifetime revocation. In certain cases, if a person has the requisite number of previous convictions for DUII, they can be charged with a Felony DUII and face a substantial prison sentence.
There are options for first-time offenders, including the possibility of Diversion which is a program designed to provide a person with no driving criminal history the opportunity to go through a treatment program and, upon successful completion, to have the criminal DUII dismissed with prejudice.
I have represented hundreds of people charged with DUII at all levels, and will be glad to talk to you about your options.