If you get pulled over by the police on suspicion of drunk driving, you’ll likely have lots of questions. This is likely to be the case especially if it’s your first time. When the officer is standing in front of you and holding a breathalyzer machine, you may be nervous and unsure of your rights. One of the questions you may have is whether you have the right to refuse testing. The officer is likely to make it seem that you have no choice. You do, but there are consequences. These matters can be quite complicated so should seek advice from a Portland DUI attorney before. Let’s look at some of the things you need to be aware of.
Your Rights When You Get Arrested for A DUI in Oregon
You have the right to a reasonable opportunity to speak to a lawyer before you take a breath test. The lawyer’s advice will vary depending on a number of factors. These include whether you had anything to drink, how much you had to drink, and your criminal history.
If you are denied an opportunity to contact an attorney after you asked to do so, the test results can’t be used in court or in the administrative hearing. However, if you refuse to take the test after you have consulted with an attorney, that refusal can be used against you in either setting.
If you can’t reach an attorney, there are a few things you need to keep in mind as you make your decision. Generally, if you have no prior convictions and you know you haven’t been drinking, it’s safe to take the test. However, if you’ve been convicted of a DUI before or you’ve had a few drinks, it’s probably best to refuse.
Penalties Associated with Refusal
What you need to keep in mind is Oregon’s implied consent law. Simply by driving on the state’s roads, you agree to take a breath test if police arrest you on probable cause of DUII. Therefore, even though you technically have the right to refuse a test, you will face legal, financial, and administrative consequences. Whether you refuse the breath test, or you fail it, the officer will take your driver’s license. In its place, they will provide you with a temporary one.
The Motor Vehicles Division will suspend your driving privileges for 30 days unless you request a hearing and fight the suspension. You must do so within ten days of your arrest. If you contact a DUI lawyer in Portland, they will make the request on your behalf. They can also advise and represent you during the proceedings. The outcome of the administrative hearing will not affect your criminal case. The reverse also applies since the two cases are independent of each other.
It is important to know that if you refuse to take a breath test, you could have to pay is $650 fine. Your driver’s license could also be suspended for up to a year. If you have a previous DUI on your criminal record, the suspension could be even longer.
DUII Penalties in Oregon
Most drivers want to avoid a conviction if they can. That’s because the penalties associated with driving under the influence can be wide-ranging. First offenders usually face:
- Up to 1 year in jail or 80 hours of community service
- A fine of at least $1,000 if their BAC is less than .15
- A fine of at least $2,000 if their BAC is .15 or more
- A fine of up to $10,000 if a minor was in the vehicle
- A one-year driver’s license suspension
- Installation of an ignition interlock device for one year.
- Participation in a drug or alcohol program
- Participation in a Victim Impact Panel
Get the Legal Help You Need from the Trilogy Law Group
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants in Portland, you need to seek legal attention as soon as possible. If you contact us immediately, we will advise you on whether you should take the breath test. However, if you’ve already made your decision, we can still help you to fight the charges or get the minimum punishment. What you need to do is contact us to schedule a consultation. That way we can review the evidence in your case and build the strongest possible defense. Our Portland DUI attorneys are experienced, and we will do everything we can to help you secure the best outcome. Contact us today and let us get started on your case.