Drunk driving charges in Oregon are strict and can result in heavy fines, license revocation and possible jail time. Under state DUI laws, an individual can be arrested for a DUI not only for being under the influence of an alcoholic substance, but also a controlled substance or an inhalant if it causes the driver to be significantly impaired.
While driving with a blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.08% or higher is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense, if the individual has had three DUI convictions within 10 years, they may face felony charges that include prison time, permanent license revocation and heavy fines. There are enhanced penalties for aggravated BAC limit, sometimes called “super DUI”, of 0.15% or higher. Oregon also has a strict zero tolerance BAC limit of 0.00%.
Implied consent laws
When a driver is initially pulled over for a minor traffic violation or unusual driving behavior, the officer does not yet have any evidence to back up his suspicion that the suspect is impaired. Everything that happens from that point on, from the officer’s observation of slurred speech or bloodshot eyes to the results of field sobriety tests or a portable breath test (PBT), can be used to support charges of a DUI.
Under implied consent laws, driving is considered a privilege, not a right, and a driver’s license is a permit that allows an individual to drive on a public road. In exchange for this permission, the driver implicitly agrees to abide by traffic laws, and to submit to a chemical or blood test if law enforcement suspects that they are driving while impaired.
Many people believe that they should refuse to take any tests in order to prevent the police officer from gathering this evidence. Although they may have a stronger case without the evidence, the penalties for breaking implied consent laws are severe as well.
In Oregon, refusal to submit to a chemical, blood or breath test will result in an individual’s driving privileges being subject to suspension, which includes confiscation of their license and a presumptive fine of $650.
Not only can a conviction for drunk driving mean jail time, driving restrictions will hamper an individual’s ability keep a job, run errands or take care of family. It can also stay on a person’s record for a long time, which may prevent them from pursuing future employment opportunities. It is important to have skilled legal representation on your side to help you mount an effective defense that will protect your rights and minimize the damage done to your life.