An alcohol DUII is a serious offense, and a conviction can result in fines, jail time, and the loss of driving privileges. It is important to put up a strong defense to minimize the impact an alcohol DUII charge has on your life.
Attorney Michael R. Hughes is an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly defends Oregonians accused of driving under the influence of alcohol.
What Is an Alcohol DUII?
DUII or driving under the influence of intoxicants — alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two — is illegal in all 50 states. Other states call it driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating under the influence (OUI), operating while intoxicated (OWI), or driving while ability impaired (DWAI), but they all refer to the same general action.
ORS 813.010(1) A person commits the offense of driving while under the influence of intoxicants if the person drives a vehicle while the person:
(a) Has 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the blood of the person as shown by chemical analysis of the breath or blood of the person made under ORS 813.100, 813.140 or 813.150;
(b) Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, cannabis, a controlled substance or an inhalant; or
(c) Is under the influence of any combination of intoxicating liquor, cannabis, a controlled substance and an inhalant.
Part (a) is straightforward. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at least 0.08, the state assumes you are driving under the influence of intoxicants. This is sometimes referred to as “per se” impairment.
Parts (b) and (c) are a bit more nebulous. If you submit to testing, and your BAC comes back less than 0.08, you might still be charged with DUII. If law enforcement officials believe you have been drinking, OR drinking and using another intoxicant, AND your physical or mental facilities are adversely affected to a noticeable or perceptible degree they can still charge you. This is much more subjective since law enforcement officers can have different opinions about a particular driver’s impairment.
Getting charged with a DUII has serious consequences. You can face large fines, jail time, and the loss of your license.
Generally, the penalties grow harsher depending on the perceived seriousness of the offense. For example, if you injure another driver, or damage a bunch of property, you will face stiffer penalties. You will also be punished more harshly if you are a repeat offender.
A DUII convocation also carries a social stigma that can follow you around the rest of your life. It may impact your ability to pass a background check, which can limit your employment and volunteer opportunities, and housing options.
Attorney Michael R. Hughes will work hard to minimize the impact an alcohol DUII charge has on your life. He has extensive criminal defense experience and understands the latest science on impairment. If he is unable to get the charge dropped, he can work to get you into Oregon’s DUII Diversion Program so the impact of the charge will not be as severe.
If you have been ticketed for alcohol DUII, Attorney Michael R. Hughes can help you put forward a strong defense. Attorney Hughes will start by conducting an extensive investigation that reveals what the police and prosecutors say you did, and what evidence they are relying on.
In most alcohol DUII cases, the key evidence is BAC test results. Many states, including Oregon, have an “implied consent law” which requires drivers who law enforcement officers suspect are impaired to submit to blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing or forfeit their license.
BAC is measured by breath, blood, or urine testing. The tests are accurate if done correctly, but mistakes are often made. Attorney Hughes knows what testing mistakes and weaknesses to look for, and how to show that certain results should be thrown out.
If a DUII charge stems from a law enforcement officer’s belief that you were driving under the influence of an intoxicant rather than BAC test results, Attorney Hughes can attack the subjective nature of such a charge. Even with specialized training, law enforcement officers are often wrong about driver impairment. The results of roadside sobriety tests, like the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, walk & turn test, or the one-leg stand test, are notoriously inaccurate and are rarely solid proof of impairment.
Attorney Hughes will also review the evidence relied on for the traffic stop that resulted in your alcohol DUII charge. If the cops should not have pulled you over in the first place or violated your Constitutional rights in some way during the stop, your charge may be thrown out.
DUII Diversion Program
If your alcohol DUII case is not dropped, it may be possible to lessen its impact on your life by enrolling in Oregon’s DUII Diversion Program. The program is designed to identify what caused you to be arrested for DUII, and help you avoid that behavior in the future.
If you successfully complete the course, you will be excused from all charges, penalties, jail time, fines, and suspensions.
To qualify for Oregon’s DUII Diversion Program you must:
- Have no previous DUI offenses, including felonies and out-of-state charges, within the past 15 years
- Have not been involved in a previous diversion course within the past 15 years
- Have no criminal charges in the past 15 years, including murder, assault, etc.
- Not have been in possession of a Commercial Drivers License on the date of the charged DUI offense
- Not have been party to the injury or death of an individual on the date of the charged DUI offense
- To complete the program one must pay all court fees, take part in a DUI victim’s impact panel, complete a urine test, complete a drug and/or alcohol assessment, pay for an ignition interlock device, and pay for any remaining treatment course as ordered by the court.
An Attorney Who Understands Your Side
Attorney Michael Hughes is an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can help defend you against alcohol DUII charges. Please reach out today to schedule an initial consultation if you are in need of legal counsel.
Hughes Law handles cannabis criminal defense cases throughout all of Oregon.