How Will the Authorities in Oregon Prove I Was Under the Influence?

A man driving a car with a bottle of beer in his hand.
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As is the case across the country, Oregon has strict laws against driving under the influence of intoxicants. Impaired driving is dangerous and often deadly, so this comes as no surprise. If the police charged you with a DUI, you may be wondering about the evidence they will use against you. Given how much society detests drunk driving, the courts are usually eager to punish drivers. The prosecutors are therefore likely to try to use all available evidence against you. You will need an experienced attorney to help you fight the charges.

The state will have to prove that:

  • You were driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more, or
  • You were under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, a controlled substance or an inhalant

In the second case, the state needs to show that physical or mental faculties were affected to a perceptible degree as a result of drug and/or alcohol use. It’s usually easier to prove that a driver’s BAC was above the legal limit than to prove they were impaired without test results. However, drivers do get arrested for driving under the influence even with a BAC that’s below the legal limit. Officers use several types of evidence to inform DUI charges.

What’s Considered Evidence of Impairment

Even before the officer pulled you over, they were taking note of any indicators of impairment. They no doubt observed your driving behavior. As they asked for your license and registration, they also considered your appearance, the way you spoke, and whether you smelled of alcohol. These observations can be used against you along with direct evidence. This includes video footage, eyewitness accounts, and the results of field sobriety and chemical tests. 

As soon as possible after you’ve been charged, you need to contact a Portland DUI lawyer. They will review the evidence against you and determine if any of it should be suppressed. If there is any evidence that it was planted, illegally obtained or tampered with, your attorney will seek to have it thrown out.  Let’s look at the various types of evidence in more detail.

The Way You Drove

The police may have pulled you over because you were speeding, driving erratically, or traveling in the wrong lane. Driving behavior is usually the reason why motorists get stopped in the first place. If you broke a traffic law, or worse, caused an accident, this will be used against you. 

The Way You Spoke and What You Said

Officers tend to begin firing questions when they pull you over. They’ll be listening for slurred speech, confusion or even an admission that you were drinking. The less you say, the better it will be for you.

Your Chemical Test Results

If the officer has reason to believe you’re impaired, they will arrest you on suspicion of DUII and ask you to take a breath test. Under Oregon’s implied consent laws, motorists are required to submit to breath, blood, or urine tests. If you refuse, your license will be suspended. Typically, if an officer believes you’re under the influence of alcohol, they will request a breath test. Blood tests are normally reserved for people who are receiving medical care after a car accident. Meanwhile, officers usually request urine tests if they believe a motorist is under the influence of a drug and:

  • A breath test reveals your BAC was less than .08%, or
  • You were involved in an accident involving injuries or property damage

Your Field Sobriety Test Results

Oregon uses the usual standardized field sobriety tests: the one-leg stand, the horizontal gaze nystagmus, and the walk-and-turn. You have the legal right to refuse these tests. Field sobriety tests are known to be unreliable and they are pretty much designed to make people fail. Regardless of what the officer tells you, you don’t have to take the test. If you did agree to the tests, the results could affect your case.

Contact the Trilogy Law Group Today to Discuss Your DUI Case 

If you are facing charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, you need to take it seriously. You could be facing jail time, heavy fines, license suspension, and community service. You could also have to place an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Then there are the social and professional repercussions to consider. If you want to beat the charges and avoid all the penalties associated with a DUII, you need to hire a Portland DUI attorney. At the Trilogy Law Group, we’ll study all the evidence against you and give you an expert legal opinion on your options. Contact us today.

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