Oregon First Time DUII Attorney

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.

Sometimes, Oregon’s criminal justice system gives first-time offenders a slap on the wrist and sends them on their way, hoping that the shock of getting arrested will scare them straight. But not in drunk or drugged driving cases. 

If you are convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) in the state of Oregon, you must pay a large fine. You may lose your license, serve jail time, or endure other limitations on your personal freedom. With so much at stake, it is crucial that you have a dedicated advocate in your corner who knows the ins and outs of Oregon’s DUII law. 

Based on the circumstances of your case, Attorney Hughes will let you know what the worst-case scenario maybe 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. 

What Is A DUII? 

Whether you 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), operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two, is a serious offense. 

In Oregon, drunk or drugged driving is formally known as driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII), and there are four different ways you can get charged with it.

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.

Let’s break this down, starting with parts (a) and (d). 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. 

Parts (b) and (c) are less straightforward. 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, you can be charged with DUII no matter what your BAC is. 

Whether you are charged with a DUII because your BAC was over .08 or an officer simply believed you were under the influence and tried to back that suspicion up with field sobriety or urine testing, Attorney Hughes can help you fight to clear your good name. 

Oregon Imposes Serious Consequences for First-Time DUII Convictions 

Challenging a DUII charge is critical, even if this is the first time you have ever been accused of a crime. Oregon courts do not go lightly on first-time offenders. In fact, Oregon state law requires the court to fine first-time offenders at least $1,000. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. 

If you are convicted of a first-time DUII, you may also be sentenced to:

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

The court may also:

  • Order you not to drink alcohol or use or possess drugs.
  • Take away your license.
  • 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. 

There are also a handful of circumstances where Oregon state law encourages judges to impose more severe penalties than they would in a typical DUII case — even if you are a first-time offender. If you:

  • Cause an accident resulting in bodily injury or death;
  • Damage public or private property;
  • Had a passenger in the vehicle who was younger than 18 AND at least three years younger than the driver or 
  • Had a BAC over 0.15 you may face additional penalties. 

These cases are commonly referred to as aggravated DUIIs, though that exact term does not appear in the statutes. Under these circumstances, the judges can impose larger fines and may prohibit a driver from participating in the state’s diversion program. 

DUII Diversion Program

Oregon’s DUII Diversion Program is a popular option for first-time offenders. If you 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 prior diversion course within the past 15 years
  • Have no criminal charges in the past 15 years, including murder, assault, etc.
  • Not have owned 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.

The program is a multi-month commitment designed to identify what caused you to be arrested for DUII and help you avoid that behavior in the future. 

An Attorney Who Understands Your Side

Attorney Michael R. Hughes is an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly defends tourists and Oregonians accused of driving under the influence. He can help you decide if going through Oregon’s DUII Diversion Program is the right option or if you should attempt to fight the charges against you. Please contact him today to schedule an initial consultation.