1. DUI: An Overview
If you’ve been accused of a DUI, you’re certainly not alone, and it doesn’ t mean you’re a terrible human being. But it does mean you’re in a dangerous situation that you want to get through with as little pain as possible.
Call it DUI, DUII, DWI, or drunk driving; this is one of the most common misdemeanor offenses in Oregon courts. Almost everyone drinks; almost everyone drives – sometimes, putting those two together can be disastrous.
It is perfectly fine for a person to drink and drive; it only becomes a problem when a person’s drinking interferes with their driving – when they become “under the influence.” Different people require different amounts of alcohol to become under the influence, so there is no easy way to say how much alcohol a person can drink and still be safe.
The government decided to make a hard and fast rule. In Oregon, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or higher, you are legally “under the influence.” Your BAC can be determined via a breath test, a blood test, or even a urine test.
What you might not know is that you can be accused – and convicted – of DUI even when your BAC is below .08%! If you blew a .04 or a .05, the government may accuse you of drunk driving, and you can still be convicted if the government can prove that your driving had been actually impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.
Most people facing their first DUI will be eligible to go into a diversion program (see below) but many DUI cases should be fought in trial. Portland Defender clients always have an attorney who is willing go to trial – an attorney who is not afraid to take a case to a jury.
2. What will DUI defense cost?
Portland Defender represents clients in DUI cases for a flat-fee that depends upon the complexity of the case. Some DUI cases can be resolved for as little as $2,500. Cases that are more complicated will involve a higher flat fee. Portland Defender knows that sometimes people have special financial situations – in such cases, you can work out a payment plan that fits your budget.
Most people are eligible to be placed on what is called “DUI diversion” for a first DUI, and sometimes even for a second or third DUI. With diversion, a person is taken off the traditional punishment track and into a program designed to give them counseling to ensure that they have no future drinking-and-driving problems. In the diversion program, you will attend a group meeting where you will hear from people who have been the victims of drunk drivers. You will be evaluated for your alcohol/drug use, go to treatment classes, and pay some various fees. You will also agree to obey all laws, and no longer drink at all if you are going to drive.
Agreeing to the diversion program means you are pleading guilty to the DUI, but if you complete all of the program requirements and stay out of trouble, the entire case against you will be dismissed! This is much better than having a DUI stay on your record.
4. Fighting Your DUI
First, you will go to an arraignment, your initial court hearing. This is when you plead guilty or not guilty. At arraignment, you have not even seen the evidence against you yet, so it’s a good time to plead “not guilty.” If you later want to choose the diversion program, you can change your plea at that time.
Portland Defender clients have a big advantage, because they have an attorney to help them evaluate the government’s evidence against them. Some of the evidence is very simple, and some of it is scientific and complicated. There may have been problems with the way the police officer performed various tests against you. The police officer may have violated your rights when they pulled you over, or when they forced you to take a breath test. The possibilities are endless, but when you hire Portland Defender, you have an experienced mind working on your case.
After we have the chance to evaluate the evidence in your case, you’ll get our best advice on what to do. If you want to take your case to trial, Portland Defender will stand up for you every step of the way.
5. DUI Consequences
In Oregon, a typical DUI is a misdemeanor. Although a judge has some discretion regarding your sentence, there is a fairly standard sentence:
- You will likely be put on probation, which essentially means you must completely stay out of trouble for a few years.
- Just as with the diversion program, if you are convicted of DUI, you must participate in a victim impact panel, and go through a substance abuse evaluation and treatment.
- Typically, you will also be sentenced to a few days in jail or a few dozen hours of community service. There will be various fines and fees that you will have to pay.
- You will also lose your license for one year. If this is your second DUI within five years, you will lose your license for three years. A third-time DUI will result in a lifetime revocation, with the possibility of regaining your license after 10 years.
Portland Defender can help you with your DUI case! Call us at (503) 592-0606 for a free initial consultation, or use the contact form on the top-right.