A focused photograph of a person sitting at a bar with a blurred background, emphasizing a pair of glasses and a wedding ring placed on the wooden surface next to a half-filled glass of beer.

There are certain cases where a person charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) is going to get the book thrown at them if they are convicted — maximum jail time, enhanced fines, and no opportunity to participate in the state’s diversion program — even if you are a first time offender. 

People often describe these cases as “aggravated DUIIs” even though that term does not appear anywhere in Oregon’s drunk driving statute. What does appear, if you read the law closely, is a description of certain DUII offenses that come with enhanced penalties. 

If the facts in your DUII case suggest you may receive additional punishment if convicted,  it is imperative that you work with an experienced Oregon DUII defense attorney to fight the charges. Attorney Michael R. Hughes is a seasoned criminal defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of Oregon’s DUII laws. He has extensive experience defending Oregon residents and tourists against both alcohol and drug DUIIs — including those that are considered aggravated DUIIs. 

What counts as an aggravated DUII under Oregon law? 

To understand what an “aggravated” DUII is, you first have to know what a regular DUII is. 

Under 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.

(d) Within two hours after driving a vehicle, and without consuming alcohol in the intervening time period, 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.

So, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at least 0.08 at the time you are pulled over, or within two hours of the time you were pulled over, the state assumes you were driving under the influence of intoxicants. 

But you can also be charged with DUII no matter what your BAC is if law enforcement officials believe you have been drinking or using another intoxicant, OR drinking and using another intoxicant, AND your physical or mental facilities are adversely affected to a noticeable or perceptible degree. In these cases the police typically try to back up their suspicion with breath, blood, or urine testing. 

The statute then starts talking about penalties. Anyone charged with a DUII must pay at least a $1,000 fine and may be sentenced to:

  • Jail time
  • Probation
  • Community service; and
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol evaluation and treatment.

The court may also:

  • Take away your license.
  • Order you not to drink alcohol, or use or possess drugs.
  • Charge you court costs and fees on top of the mandatory fine.
  • Install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. 
  • Require you to attend a victim impact panel where you hear from the families of those who were killed by impaired drivers. 

Those are all penalties that can be imposed in a regular DUII case. If your case is aggravated, it gets worse. 

If you keep reading ORS 813.010 you will eventually get to sections (6) and (7), which is where the first so-called aggravated DUIIs are mentioned. 

ORS 813.010(6)(d)(A) and (B) increases the minimum fine courts must impose in a DUII case from $1,000 to $2,000 if you have a BAC of 0.15 or more at the time you are pulled over, or within two hours of the time you were pulled over. 

$2,000 MINIMUM

There no mention of what the maximum fine in a DUII case is until you get to ORS 813.010(7), which says that $10,000 is the maximum fine a court may impose if there was a passenger in the motor vehicle who was under 18 years of age and was at least three years younger than the person driving the motor vehicle.

Those are the first two examples of aggravated DUII:

  • Driving with an extremely high BAC
  • Driving under the influence with minors in the vehicle

What other aggravated DUIIs are there? 

There are a couple other aggravated DUIIs hidden further down in the drunk driving statute in the section on Oregon’s Diversion Program. 

The diversion program is a way for first time offenders to avoid all charges, penalties, jail time, fines, and suspensions by taking a class/going through a treatment plan designed to identify what caused you to be arrested for DUII, and help you avoid that behavior in the future. 

ORS 813.215(1)(j) prohibits drivers who would otherwise be eligible for the program from participating in it if their offense involved an accident resulting in:

      (A) Death of any person; or

      (B) Physical injury… to any person other than the defendant.

These are the two other examples of aggravated DUII found in Oregon’s impaired driving statute. 

A Different Kind Of Attorney

Every DUII is a serious offense that may dramatically alter the course of your life. But there are certain DUII charges that are more serious than others. 

If you are involved in an aggravated DUII case where:

  • Your BAC was 0.15 percent or more;
  • You had a passenger in the vehicle who was younger than 18; or
  • You caused an accident resulting in bodily injury or death.

You should contact Attorney Michael R. Hughes to discuss your case. Based on the circumstances of your individual case, Attorney Hughes will let you know what the worst-case scenario may be if you are convicted, and explain your options. From there, you can decide what to do next. For most people, the best option is to work with Hughes to fight the charges.

Please contact Attorney Michael R. Hughes to discuss your case.