Portland DUI Lawyer

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Portland, OR DUI Lawyer

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In case you or a loved one has been arrested for driving while intoxicated (known as DUI or DUII in Oregon), you probably have hundreds of questions running through your head right now. Although you can easily find information that can help you with these question on our site and elsewhere, there’s simply no substitute for consulting with a lawyer who specializes in DUI laws.

Keep in mind that every situation is different, and sometimes, small nuances could significantly change the outcome of your case, for better or for worse. Your best bet is to call us and talk this through.

At Trilogy law, we believe that the right way to provide the best legal representation is through legal specialization. As such, we focus all our time and energy on one area of law – DUI Defense.

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DUI Consequences & Penalties

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Based on Oregon Law, DUI is considered a Class A misdemeanor, except in cases where the offender has previously been convicted of a DUI offense at least three times within 10 years before the date of the 4th subsequent offense. In such a case, the offender is considered to have committed a Class C felony.

Class A misdemeanors are usually punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine not exceeding $6,250, or both. In general, Class C felonies can be punished by jail time not exceeding 5 years, fines not exceeding $125,000 or both. Aside from these probably punishments, the following penalties are mandatory for DUI convictions:

For the first conviction, the minimum fine is $1,000, and the license of the driver is suspended for 90 days.

A second conviction attracts a minimum fine of $1,500 and the driver’s license is suspended for one year, if the second offense was committed within 5 years of the first offence.

A third or subsequent conviction has a minimum fine of $2,000 if the person wasn’t sentenced to a term of imprisonment. In case the third conviction happened within 5 years of the first and second conviction, the driver’s license will be suspended for 3 years.

A fourth subsequent conviction within 10 years of the third conviction will have the driver’s license revoked permanently.

Along with the above penalties applied to DUI offenses in Oregon, when you commit a DUI offense with a minor passenger (under 18 years) present in the motor vehicle, and he or she was no less than three years younger than you as the driver, the fine can go up to $100,000.

Penalties for Commercial Drivers

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Alongside other penalties that might be applicable under Oregon law, a commercial driver will be barred from driving commercial vehicles for up to a year if he/she is convicted of commercial DUI or DUI charges for the first time. However, if the driver was transporting hazardous materials when they were arrested, they get disqualified for at least 3 years. Commercial drivers who commit a second DUI offense or commercial DUI are disqualified from driving commercial vehicles for life.

The DUI Process

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The state of Oregon has fairly harsh DUI costs and penalties, as well as strict DUI laws. As such, it is advisable never to plead guilty to DUI charges before you have consulted a skilled Portland DUI defense attorney who can thoroughly examine the details of your DUI arrest. You may have some preconceived notions regarding your DUI charges which can harm you in the long run.

Step 1

DUI Stop

A DUI stop is made up of three main parts – the initial point of contact between the officer and the driver, any field sobriety tests the driver takes, and any breath, blood, or urine tests the driver takes. Police officers will make their initial observations of the driver’s speech and behavior during the initial point of contact, often making the decision to arrest within the first few minutes. If the officer smells alcohol or believes the driver to be impaired based on their speech or behavior, they will request the driver complete the standardized field sobriety tests. If the driver fails a field sobriety test, or if they pass but the officer still believes they are under the influence, the officer will request a breath, blood, or urine test be performed.

Step 2

Sobriety Tests

After being stopped by police, you may be asked to perform a field sobriety test. These are standardized roadside tests that are designed to show the driver’s balance, coordination, and ability to follow instructions in a stressful situation. These include tests like the “walk and turn” and the “one-leg stand”. Once the driver has been arrested for suspicion of DUI, they will be transported to the police station where a breath, blood, or urine test will be conducted. While there are no driver’s license related consequences in Oregon for refusing to take a field sobriety test, refusal to submit could be used against you in a court of law, if you were given specific warnings by the officer. The Implied Consent Law means that by driving a vehicle in Oregon, you imply consent to a breath, blood, or urine test if one is requested.

Step 3

After The Arrest​

After you have been arrested, two separate processes begin moving forward simultaneously, the Implied Consent Process, and the criminal process. The Implied Consent Process gives the suspect a 10-day window to request a hearing with the DMV challenging the suspension of their license and obtain a hardship permit. There is no downside to request this hearing and we recommend anyone who is arrested for DUI do so, regardless of what attorney they choose. The criminal process starts with the arraignment, where you are formally checked into the legal court system. This can occur as quickly as the day after your arrest, but may take 30 or more days in some cases. You are allowed to have an attorney present at this hearing, but if you are unable to obtain one in time, simply let the judge know you would like a lawyer present with you and ask for an extension.

Step 4

Resolution

In Oregon, DUI cases are generally resolved by 3 methods – diversion, negotiations, and trial. Diversion programs throughout the state are designed to allow those who have not been involved in a DUI for the prior 15 years to avoid a DUI conviction by meeting specific requirements. Unfortunately, they also require that you give up your right to challenge a DUI case and if the diversion conditions are not met, you will be automatically convicted. Most cases are resolved through negotiations between the defense attorney and the prosecutor, however Oregon law prevents prosecutors from dismissing or decreasing DUI charges, so the negotiations center around what the punishment will be. Because DUI is a criminal charge, you are entitled to a jury trial. In the right situations, taking your case to trial can be extremely effective and you can count on our lawyers to provide the best defense possible.

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A man asleep on the wheel after being drunk.

What’s the Difference Between DUI and DUII in Oregon?

If you were pulled over while you were driving in Oregon, it’s likely that you won’t be charged with a DUI. This is because intoxicated driving is referred to as DUII, not DUI or DWI as with most other states. DUII is an acronym for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, which is a different designation from other states where it’s simply referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving under the influence (DUI) or even driving while impaired.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Fight a DUI or DUII Charge?

You might be asking yourself, “Why would I really need a DUI attorney?” and “How much will it cost me to hire a DUI lawyer?” While you can legally represent yourself in a court of law, it’s generally not a good idea. You can opt to hire the experienced DUI lawyers at Trilogy Law Group, hire a professional from a different firm, or apply for a court-appointed lawyer incase you qualify financially. All in all, who you choose to represent you is up to you; but don’t go to court without someone who understands your case and knows what they are doing to represent you.

Frequently Asked Questions

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According to the Implied Consent Law, failing a blood or breath test has the following repercussions for people of 21 years or older:

When you’re arrested for DUII and the results of your breath test show the blood alcohol level to be below .08%, the DMV license suspension under the Implied Consent won’t be applicable. However, if you are under 21, you will be suspended by the DMV based on the Implied Consent law in case the breath tests show any amount of alcohol in your blood.

Based on the criminal law, there’s no age difference in how Oregon law defines a DUI offense. As such, the minimum BAC for the person, the minimum sentencing consequences if convicted for a DUI, and a person’s eligibility to Diversion are all the same no matter the age of the person. With this in mind, note that there are some counties that may treat people under the age of 18 as juveniles and not adults. In such a case, they might be able to escape some of the minimum sentencing requirements.

No! Many judges actually won’t accept guilty pleas to DUI charges during arraignments, since they know that you probably haven’t been able to get the official police reports for your case, and that you have not had enough time to discuss your case with a lawyer meaningfully. Without trying to be overly dramatic or frightening, DUII offences in Oregon are either a Class C Felony or a Class A Misdemeanor – being convicted in either charge likely means probation, jail time, license suspension, or significant court fines.

Try to do everything to ensure that you’re making an educated decision before telling the court that you’re guilty of the crime. Get in touch with Trilogy Law Group for a free initial consultation at (503) 212-0081.

  • Non-commercial drivers of ages 21 and above are considered drunk in case their blood alcohol level reaches 0.08 and above.
  • Commercial vehicle drivers are considered legally drunk if their blood alcohol level is 0.04 percent or higher. School bus drivers are commercial drivers in Oregon.
  • Any driver under the age of 21 is considered legally drunk if there’s any amount of alcohol in their blood.

In Oregon, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08 or higher, though you can still get arrested and convicted of DWI with a BAC of below .08. In fact, we regularly represent clients who have blown a .06, .07, and even a .05 BAC. The standards the police use when making arrests, and a case with the prosecutor is whether “the person’s physical or mental faculties are negatively affected to a noticeable degree by the intoxicant”. As such, you can be arrested if the officer believes that you aren’t as sharp physically or mentally, as you would have been if you hadn’t used the intoxicant, including alcohol, street drugs, or even prescription medication.

Although most of the DUI’s in Oregon are based on alcohol, there’s a rising number of arrests based on a person being under the influence of a drug, such as marijuana or prescription medications. Unlike the .08 BAC standard used for alcohol DWI’s, there’s no specific line in the sand to establish whether you’re under the influence of a drug or not. The police typically have specially trained officers to conduct Drug Recognition Examination Protocol (DRE), which is a test used to determine a person’s sobriety in case drug use is suspected.

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