When people hear about driving under the influence of intoxicants, they often think about drunk driving. However, alcohol isn’t the only intoxicant covered under Oregon’s laws. It is also illegal to drive when impaired by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. If you noticeably lack the usual mental and physical control because of an intoxicant, you can be found guilty. You may be wasted, buzzed or just sleepy because of the controlled substance you used. The drug you used could be illegal or legal, as in the case of prescribed medication. Under the law, you would be charged with driving while impaired by intoxicants, or DUII in Portland.
Anytime you get arrested and charged with DUII in Portland, you need to seek legal advice from a DUII defense attorney in Oregon. This is the only way you can fight the charge or at least get the most favorable outcome possible. The penalties for DUII can be harsh even for first-time offenders so you need to have strong legal representation. This article will discuss some of the basic things you need to know about a drug-related DUII charge.
How Police and Prosecutors Will Determine if You Were Impaired
Police officers can only pull you over if they have probable cause. Maybe you ran a red light or you were driving erratically. When they pull you over, they will look for signs of intoxication in the way you look, speak or smell. They may also ask you if you were drinking or using drugs. They will use all this information to form an opinion on whether you are under the influence.
You are not obligated to tell the police anything beyond basic facts like your name and address. You should also present your license and registration when requested. However, as any Portland DUI lawyer will tell you, giving additional information can be self-incriminating.
You may be asked to perform a field sobriety test. Technically, you have the right to refuse this test, but your refusal may be used against you in court. If the officer has reason to believe you’re intoxicated, they can place you under arrest. Then, they will likely ask you to take a chemical test. Breath tests are used to detect whether a driver has been drinking. However, urine tests are used if officers believe the driver is under the influence of a controlled substance, marijuana or an inhalant.
Urine tests are requested if:
- A breath test shows a blood alcohol content that’s below the legal limit
- The driver was involved in an accident that led to property damage or injury
You may assume that refusing a chemical test will allow you to fight a DUII charge. However, it’s not that simple. If you refuse, you will face penalties including a suspended driver’s license and a traffic violation fine. The prosecution will also use your refusal against you in court.
Consequences if Found Guilty of DUII in Portland
Driving under the influence of any intoxicant can result in serious penalties. The specific penalties you will face depend on the circumstances surrounding your case and whether you committed previous offenses. For first time offenders, the minimum fine is $1,000. You’ll have to spend at least 48 hours in jail or perform 80 hours of community service. The maximum fine is $6,250 and you could spend up to a year in county jail. Your license will also be suspended for a year on top of any other suspension you already have.
The judge can also order:
- Fees and assessments in excess of $400
- Participation in a victim impact panel
- Repayment of court-appointed attorney fees
In addition to criminal and administrative penalties, there are also social and professional repercussions to a DUII conviction. Given the dangers of impaired driving, there is a stigma attached to DUI convicts. You may lose your professional license, your reputation, and your social standing. The financial costs can also be a lot to handle. That’s why it’s so important that you hire an experienced attorney to handle your case.
Contact the Trilogy Law Group Today
You need an attorney who will do everything possible to keep your record clean. In some situations, the state doesn’t have enough proof to continue with the case. In others, Portland DUI attorneys may be able to identify technical or procedural errors that weaken the prosecution’s case. Many first-time offenders are eligible for the state’s diversion program. Under this program, you can avoid conviction if you agree not to contest your case. You would have to participate in substance abuse evaluation and treatment, pay fines and stay sober for a year.
If you’ve been charged with a DUII in Portland, contact the Trilogy Law Group today to schedule a consultation. We’ll evaluate your case and come up with the best strategy for representing you.