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Your Portland DUI Case: The Basics

Portland is home to craft beers, fine whiskey, and wine, which provide ample opportunity to obsess over how the hops/barley/grapes were grown, fermented, and aged. Then there are the geniuses over at Hubres Cafe who managed to combine alcohol with Portland's other obsession in their Spanish coffee. Clearly, extensive research must be conducted to determine how different techniques affect the taste of all these beverages. But once your experiments have concluded be sure you take a cab home or you could find yourself facing DUII charges. Read on for important information on how DUI cases work in Portland.

First, it's best to be clear: driving while intoxicated is almost never advisable because it is very dangerous. More than one-third of fatal traffic accidents in Oregon involve a driver who is intoxicated. Any legal consequence of driving while under the influence of intoxicating drugs will pale in comparison to emotional and physical ramifications of ruining someone else's life.

What is an Oregon DUI or DUII?

In Oregon, DUII stands for "Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants." Other abbreviations include DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), and may refer to similar crimes in other states. Someone is guilty of a DUII in Oregon when:

  1. she operates a vehicle, which includes bicycles;
  2. with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher; or
  3. under the influence of one or more intoxicating substances.

Notice that you could still be guilty of a DUII even if you used a substance other than alcohol. Whether you had a prescription or other right to use the substance does not matter. You could also be convicted of a DUII if your BAC is .08 or higher, regardless of whether your driving is actually impaired.

Portland DUII Stops

DUII stops in Portland, Oregon work much the same and DUI or DWI stops elsewhere. First, the police officer may observe that a someone is driving erratically. Once stopped, the officer can question the driver, perform a field sobriety test, or administer a breathalyzer test. Oregon drivers must submit to chemical drug testing under the state's implied consent laws, which say that drivers consent to drug tests when they obtain their driver's license.

Many states also allow the police to set up checkpoints, during which police question the driver of every car that goes past a roadblock. These checkpoints are not legal in Oregon, but Portland drivers should still watch out for roadblocks if they travel to neighboring states like California or Nevada.

Portland DUII Process

After a police officer arrests a driver for DUII, she will take the driver to the police station for booking. The police will then suspend the driver's license for 30 days.

The case will proceed to an arraignment, where the driver will plead guilty, not guilty, or file a diversion petition. If the driver pleads not guilty, the facts will be examined in a criminal trial; otherwise, the case will proceed straight to sentencing.

Portland DUII Consequences

The consequences for a DUII vary depending on how many prior convictions a driver has within the past 10 years. DWI or DUI convictions in other states also count as prior convictions for this purpose, unless the conviction occurred when the driver was under 21 years of age.

1. First offense:

First time DUII offenders are eligible for a diversion program wherein the DUII case will dismissed if the driver pays a fine to the state, gets evaluated and treated for substance addiction, abstains from recreational use of intoxicants, attends a victim impact panel, installs an ignition interlock device, and attends a class on alcohol use. Dismissal means that the DUII arrest will not show on future court records.

If the driver is not eligible for the diversion program, penalties for a first DUII offense include:

  1. a maximum of 1 year in jail or 80 hours of community service;
  2. $1,000-$6,250 in fines, or up to $10,000 if there was a child present in the automobile.
  3. up to one year suspension of driver's license;
  4. evaluation and treatment of substance addiction;
  5. installation of an ignition interlock device; and
  6. attending a victim's panel.

2. Second offense:

  1. a maximum of 1 year in jail or community service;
  2. $1,500-$6,250 in fines, or up to $10,000 if there was a child present in the automobile.
  3. up to three years suspension of driver's license;
  4. 120 days suspension of vehicle registration;
  5. evaluation and treatment of substance addiction;
  6. installation of an ignition interlock device; and
  7. attending a victim's panel.

3. Third offense:

  1. Considered a class C felony;
  2. a maximum of 5 years in jail;
  3. $2,000-$6,250 in fines, or up to $10,000 if there was a child present in the automobile.
  4. possible permanent suspension of driver's license;
  5. 120 days suspension of vehicle registration;
  6. evaluation and treatment of substance addiction;
  7. installation of an ignition interlock device; and
  8. attending a victim's panel.

For more information, see FindLaw's sections on DUI/DWI and criminal procedure.

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