If you’re an Oregon driver, you’ve probably heard the term “implied consent” in relation to chemical testing. However, you may not be sure about exactly what it means if the police pull you over. If you want to be ready the next time you get behind the wheel, this article is for you.
Oregon has an implied consent law. By virtue of operating a vehicle, a driver gives consent to a chemical test of their breath, blood and/or urine. However, it doesn’t mean that police officers can randomly pull you and ask for a breath test. They must have reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving under the influence of intoxicants. You must also be under arrest.
If an officer has reason to believe you’re under the influence of alcohol, they will likely request a breath test. Blood tests are more likely to be used on an individual who is receiving medical care after an accident. Officers request urine tests if they believe the driver is under the influence of a controlled substance, cannabis or an inhalant and:
- The person was in an accident involving property damage or injury; or
- A breath test revealed a blood alcohol content of less than .08 percent
The police officer must be certified in recognizing drug-impaired driving. In addition, the driver must have privacy when giving the sample.
Despite the implied consent law, you have the option of refusing a test. However, as any DUI attorney in Portland will explain, there will be consequences.
Consequences of Refusing a Chemical Test in Oregon
Before requesting any kind of sample, the arresting officer must advise you of your rights. They must also inform you of the consequences of refusing or failing a chemical test. Refusing to submit to testing is a traffic violation so you will likely have to pay a fine. The fine can range from $500 to $1,000.
The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles will also suspend your license for a year. The suspension can be increased to three years if you are currently participating in a DUI diversion program. It can also be increased if within the last five years you:
- Were convicted of a DUII
- Took part in a diversion program or a similar drug/alcohol program
- Had your driving privileges suspended in relation to the implied consent law
If you can produce medical documentation showing that it’s impossible for you to provide a urine sample, you can keep your license. Otherwise, your license suspension for refusing a urine test will be consecutive to any other suspension imposed.
If you refuse to take a test, the arresting officer will take your license right away. In exchange, they will give you a temporary 30-day permit. Your license will be automatically suspended after 30 days. You have the right to request a DMV hearing to determine whether the request was valid. However, you must request the hearing in writing within ten days.
Even if the court doesn’t find you guilty of a DUI, the suspension will remain in place if it’s valid. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may be able to apply for a hardship permit. This will allow you to drive to work, doctor’s appointments and/or drug or alcohol treatment.
Another thing you should know is that your refusal may also be used as evidence against you in court. The prosecutor may suggest that you didn’t want to take a test because you knew you would fail. This means you can be found guilty of DUII even without results from a breath, blood or urine test.
Deciding Whether to Submit to a Chemical Test
The penalties for refusing a test are harsher than those for a failed test. If possible, you should speak to a lawyer before you make your decision. Under state laws, officers are supposed to give you a reasonable opportunity to talk to an attorney. However, accommodating your request shouldn’t interfere with the officer’s ability to perform their duties. This means you aren’t guaranteed to get that opportunity.
There are circumstances in which the police can obtain tests without your consent. If you are unable to give consent, they can take the sample if they have probable cause. They can also conduct tests without consent if they get a search warrant from a judge. Consenting is often the best choice.
Contact the Trilogy Law Group to Discuss Your Case
Implied consent laws in Oregon can be complicated. Given the serious penalties associated with a DUI conviction, you need to work with a Portland DUI Lawyer. If you’ve been arrested, contact the Trilogy Law Group as soon as possible. We’ll help you to achieve the best outcome.