Maybe you had too much to drink at happy hour. Perhaps your Saturday night turned into a drinking fest. Or maybe you drove while using prescription drugs. Whatever your situation, if you've been arrested and charged with a drinking or drug-related driving offense, you're probably looking for some answers about what is going to happen in Lane County.
FindLaw has put together some information for you to consider should you or a loved one be facing a driving under the influence (DUI) crime in Eugene.
First, let's have a little vocabulary lesson. Don't worry. This won't be too painful. We've all heard the term driving under the influence or DUI. In Oregon, DUIs are known by a completely different name.
Throughout the state, it's known as Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII).
Here's how you can be charged with drinking and/or using drugs and driving in Eugene:
1. You are driving and your chemical test (breath or blood) result is 0.08% BAC or higher;
2. You are driving and determined to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs/an inhalant.
Law Enforcement and the District Attorney
The law enforcement agencies most responsible for DUII patrols throughout Eugene are the Lane County Sherriff's Office, the Oregon State Police, or the Eugene Police Department. Once you are arrested for DUII, a police officer will write a report and send it to the Lane County District Attorney to file charges. Your case will proceed through the Lane County Circuit Court in Eugene.
Eugene DUIIs are a Two-Part Process
It's important to understand that once you've been arrested for a DUII, you'll have to deal with two separate agencies: the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Lane County criminal courts. Why? Because the DMV will handle your license suspension pursuant to the implied consent laws and the courts will deal with your criminal case.
Possible DUII Criminal Penalties
Sentencing laws are relatively uniform throughout the state of Oregon.
Your DUII penalties can include possible jail time, a huge fine, and other conditions, such as a mandatory driver's license suspension, completion of a Victim Impact Panel, mandatory Alcohol and Drug Assessment (PDF) and completion of all recommended treatment or education classes. Further, you might have to install an Interlock Device (PDF) on any car you own or operate.
Here's a look at a first-time, Class A Misdemeanor DUII penalties. The Court will likely consider the defendant's criminal history, BAC level at the time of the offense, whether the incident involved an accident or injuries, reckless driving, and children in the vehicle in determining how much jail time will be required. Keep in mind, if this is your first time, you may be eligible for a diversion program. ?
First-Time DUII Penalties
Your Oregon License Suspension
Your Eugene driver's license will be suspended by the DMV if you've failed the breath or blood test or if you refused to take the test. Your suspension can be anywhere from ninety (90) days to three years, depending upon your DUII history and whether or not you took the breath test. You may be eligible for a hardship license that will allow you to drive to and from work and other court approved destinations after the minimum suspension period has passed.
If you are arrested for DUII, the officer will immediately take your driver's license from you and give you a 30-day temporary driving permit. After 30 days, the full suspension will be in effect and the temporary driving permit will no longer valid.
This suspension is separate from, and in addition to, any suspension that will be imposed after any DUII conviction. The suspension will still be in place even if you are acquitted of the DUII or the charges are dismissed.
Can I Contest My Driver's License Suspension with the DMV?
Yes, but you have to follow a very specific procedure. You have to inform the DMV in writing within 10 days of your arrest of your intent to contest the suspension. You can request a hearing online, too. You can also call the DMV Hearing phone number at (503) 945-5521 to learn more, but it is important to act promptly.
Under 21 DUII in Oregon
If you are under 21, don't drink or use drugs and drive. Oregon has "zero tolerance" for underage drinking and/or drug use and driving a motor vehicle.
If you are between 18 and 21 years old, you will be facing a possible driver's license suspension and other possible penalties. If you are under 18 years of age and are arrested, you will be subject to charges in juvenile court.
If you BAC is .08 or higher, you may face the same penalties as an adult offender.
A Final Word About Oregon DUII
Remember, it's best to never drink or use drugs and drive. Select a designated driver ahead of time, who will stay sober. You can also ask someone else to give you a ride, call a taxi, or use public transportation. If you need information specific to a particular case, you may wish to consider speaking to a Eugene DUI lawyer.
Contact a qualified attorney.