If you have been arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (“DUII” or “drunk driving”), it is important that you contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. If you failed or refused a breath test following your arrest, under Oregon’s Implied Consent law you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days following the date of your arrest, or your driver license will automatically be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This is true even if you are never ultimately convicted in court of DUII. On the other hand, we may be able to preserve your driving privileges by proving that you were not properly under arrest at the time that the test was given, or that the test was not administered properly.
It is important that you have quality representation in your court case. The penalties for a DUII conviction are severe. For a first offense, the mandatory minimum sentence is 48 hours in jail plus probation, a fine and a license suspension. While on probation, you will also be required to complete alcohol treatment before you can get your license back. If you already have had two drunk driving convictions in the last 10 years, you may be charged with a felony, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days incarceration, and could result in prison time.
Often, you may be charged with other crimes along with drunk driving, such as Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment, Assault, Criminal Mischief, or Failing To Perform the Duties of a Driver (Hit and Run). Whether these charges will be brought depend on the circumstances of your case. You may not know whether you will be charged with additional crimes until the date of your first appearance in court. You will need an experienced trial attorney to represent you through this process.
If this is your first DUII case within the past 15 years, and you meet certain other requirements, you may be eligible for “diversion.” When you enter diversion, you agree to abide by certain conditions, including paying a diversion fee, undergoing an alcohol evaluation and completing a recommended treatment program, agreeing not to drink during the diversion period, installing an “ignition interlock device” in your vehicle, and attending a “victim impact panel.” If you do all of these things, and are not arrested on any new charges involving alcohol and driving, your case will be dismissed after one year. While this process is expensive (you have to pay for the alcohol treatment and the interlock device), you have the advantage of no jail time, and no conviction will appear on your record if you are successful. Contact us and we will help you determine whether this might be right for you.