Information To Know About Driving Under The Influence

A seasoned DUII defense attorney will start preparing a case for trial as soon as he is hired. Investigation, assertion of important pre-trial motions, and preparation for the trial are critically important to a successful DUII defense, and it is your attorney’s job to fulfill these obligations.

Oregon law denies prosecutors the ability to negotiate DUII charges, and in almost every case the driver will have to choose between pleading guilty and going to trial. There are many reasons why, a driver may decide to go to trial even though their case is not strong.

Prosecutors will sometimes dismiss other charges in return for a guilty plea or diversion agreement on the DUII. A person charged with DUII can also expect to be cited for any other offense that may have been committed during the incident. Reckless driving is a common example. Sometimes, a driver will receive minor citations that will require the driver to appear in more than one court.

A typical DUII will include critical scientific evidence. It is important that your DUII defense attorney be able to produce and respond to scientific evidence when necessary. Blood, breath or urine testing; expert testimony; medical evidence relating to the driver’s condition – all of these are common forms of scientific evidence that can be important to the outcome of a DUII case. Your attorney must be able to correctly identify and address issues dealing with scientific evidence.

Selecting the jury for your DUII trial may be the most difficult and important step in the process. People are generally very biased against DUII. Some feel that zero-tolerance is appropriate and will carry that attitude into the jury room. It is imperative that the accused select the best jury possible, and educate them about the case in a way that will work to his or her benefit. Jury selection is a dynamic process, and every jury panel is different. If your case proceeds to trial, you will want to have an experienced DUII trial attorney selecting your jurors.

Sentencing Information

Most DUII convictions are Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $6,250.00. Oregon law was recently amended to create Felony DUII for drivers who have three prior DUII convictions in the preceding 10 years.

All DUII convictions require minimum sentences, including minimum fines and at least two days jail or community service for first offenders. Some judges are reluctant to allow the community service option. Prosecutors request substantially longer jail sentences for repeat offenders and when there are aggravated circumstances.

Probation is imposed after most DUII convictions, and will almost always include a requirement to successfully complete a treatment program. Also, DMV requires completion of a treatment program before they will reinstate a convicted driver’s license. Treatment programs vary in length and cost, depending upon the driver’s income and history of substance abuse. The judge is free to impose just about any reasonable conditions of probation, oftentimes requiring that the driver not consume alcoholic beverages during the term of probation.

Depending on the driver’s history, probation will typically last from 18 months up to five years. Most offenders are placed on bench probation, but repeat DUII offenders may be placed on supervised probation, which is more costly and much more restrictive.

Any DUII conviction will result in a license suspension of at least one year or longer, depending on the driving history. Oregon Law was recently amended to provide permanent revocation of driving privileges to drivers who are convicted of Felony DUII, or who are convicted of their third or subsequent DUII offense. This means a person who has two or more prior DUII convictions in Oregon or any other state, no matter how long ago, will have their driving privileges permanently revoked if they receive a third or greater conviction in an Oregon court. A driver who is permanently revoked can seek reinstatement of driving privileges after 10 years. But, because the law is so new, no driver has yet had the opportunity to ask for reinstatement. A suspension or revocation of driving privileges in one state will usually prevent you from obtaining a driver’s license in any other state.

Oregon DUII Suspensions:

  • A first DUII Conviction will result in a one year suspension of your driver’s license;
  • A second DUII Conviction can result in a suspension of up to three years
  • A third DUII Conviction will result in a permanent revocation of your driving privileges.

DUII DIVERSION:

In general, DUII diversion programs are an option for those who have no prior DUII convictions for 15 years preceding the current arrest. That waiting time was recently increased from 10 years. There are other important limitations on a person’s eligibility to participate in diversion; for instance, a driver is disqualified if the DUII involved an injury accident. Also, in special circumstances a prosecutor might oppose a driver’s application to participate in the diversion program even though that person is otherwise eligible. Sometimes a hearing before the judge is required in order to determine whether a person will be allowed to enroll in the diversion program.

If approved to participate in the diversion program, the driver first has to plead guilty to the DUII charge. If the driver fails to complete the diversion program, the court will terminate the diversion agreement, enter a conviction for DUII, and impose a sentence on the driver’s previous guilty plea.

In Oregon, a diversion program lasts one year, but can be extended for an additional six months under certain circumstances. The Oregon DUII diversion program usually involves five parts:

  1. An evaluation
  2. Attendance of a victim impact panel
  3. Completion of a treatment program
  4. Payment of fees
  5. Compliance with the general obligation to obey all laws and not operate a motor vehicle unless properly licensed and insured.

Other special conditions can be imposed, including a requirement that the driver not consume alcohol during the term of the diversion agreement.

If the driver successfully completes the diversion program, the DUII charge is dismissed. His or her Oregon driving record will show participation in the diversion program, and most insurance companies will treat it the same as a conviction. Still, DUII diversion can be a great benefit for those who are eligible, and in most instances a driver will want to take advantage of the program.

COMPLIANCE TESTING:


Persons convicted of DUII and those who participate in a DUII diversion program are often asked to submit to urine testing to determine whether they have consumed alcohol or drugs in violation of their probation or diversion agreement. Urine testing can and sometimes does result in falsely positive results, particularly when certain new testing methods are used. If you find yourself in this situation, you should consult an experienced DUII attorney immediately.

Police Officer Suspensions:

Almost every DUII arrest will result in a breath or blood test of the driver. If the police suspect drugs are involved, they may request a urine sample. A refusal or failure of a breath or blood test will result in a police officer suspension of your driver’s license. Most often, the suspension does not begin until 30 days after the arrest. The length of the suspension depends on the driver’s prior record and whether the suspension is for a failure, or refusal of the test.

You have a right to appeal the police officer suspension by requesting a DMV hearing.The request for a hearing must be received by DMV within 10 days of the arrest. The police officer is required to give you a written notice of your rights and consequences relating to the suspension, including your right to a hearing.

The DMV hearing has no relationship to the criminal prosecution of the DUII charge, and is a completely separate matter. Because of the 10-day limit for requesting a DMV hearing, the driver will often have to request a DMV hearing even before they appear in court on the DUII charge.

As a general rule, the driver should always request a DMV hearing, if for no other reason than the police officer may not show up for the hearing, and the suspension will then be withdrawn. Mr. Dials has many years experience in handling these types of hearings.