No one wants to get arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants. They certainly don’t want to have a DUI conviction on their record. If you have been charged with DUI in Oregon, you may be wondering if you can get the charge dismissed. Maybe you don’t think your driving was impaired or you believe the officer was wrong to pull you over. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to beat the charge under certain circumstances. Let’s look at some of the ways in which a Portland DUII lawyer may be able to assist. Each case has unique attributes, but we’ll discuss some of the common reasons cases are dismissed.
Invalid Traffic Stops
To pull you over, an officer needs to have reasonable suspicion that you committed or were about to commit a crime. This crime can be a minor traffic offense including speeding, having a broken taillight or driving erratically. If there was no reason for stopping you, any evidence obtained as a result of the stop can be suppressed. This includes anything you said to the officer and the results of field sobriety and chemical tests. This is supported by the Fourth Amendment, which governs search and seizure.
Problems with the Field Sobriety Tests
Another way to get a DUII dismissed is to challenge the field sobriety tests. Officers often use three standardized tests to determine if a driver is too impaired to safely operate a vehicle. These are the one-leg stand, the walk and turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. These tests are relatively accurate, but they are certainly not fool-proof. They are subject to human error and indicators may be misinterpreted. Your attorney will consider whether:
- The officer didn’t explain the tests properly
- The tests were administered on an uneven payment or in poorly lit conditions.
- You were wearing improper footwear
Where the HGN test is concerned, involuntary eye movement may be due to medications or medical conditions rather than alcohol. Your Portland DUI lawyer may be able to challenge the accuracy of these tests either before or during trial.
Issues with the Chemical Test Results
You can also challenge the accuracy of breath, urine and blood tests. Your DUII attorney may question whether a trained professional drew your blood or if they carried out the draw properly. If the sample was contaminated or stored incorrectly. They may also contest whether the Breathalyzer device was properly calibrated and maintained. If something went wrong, your test results may be thrown out and the case against you dismissed. At the very least, the prosecution would have a much weaker case against you.
The Fact That You Weren’t Driving
This is a less technical defense but there are situations in which it applies. If the prosecution can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were the driver, they won’t have case. This may happen if you were involved in a solo vehicle accident and you were carrying passengers. By the time the police arrive on the scene, they may not be sure who was driving. If the car wasn’t registered to you and you didn’t admit you were driving, they may not have a solid case. This defense may also apply if an officer found you intoxicated in a parked car. The burden would be on the prosecutor to prove you were driving and you were intoxicated at the time of driving.
You’re A Suitable Candidate for Diversion
If none of the above defenses apply to your case, there is something else your lawyer may try. If you are a first-time offender who meets the criteria, you may be eligible for Oregon’s DUII Diversion Program. Upon completing the program, the charge will be dismissed and no conviction will be recorded against you. You will have to enter a plea of no-contest and do everything the court requires for a year. This includes:
- Undergoing a substance abuse evaluation
- Getting substance abuse treatment if required
- Going before a victim impact panel
- Paying court fees
- Installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
- Not using drugs or alcohol for a year
An Experienced Attorney Can Help Get Your DUI Charge Dismissed
If you want the best chance of getting your DUI charge dismissed, you need a skilled attorney on your side. A dismissal is never guaranteed. However, an experienced DUI lawyer in Portland will evaluate your case and look at all the options. Call our team today to get expert advice and representation.