In states like Oregon, the act of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants is more serious than simply drunk driving. It actually extends to driving after consuming either alcohol or drugs including illegal substances, controlled medications, and over-the-counter medicines that can cause intoxication. You can avoid getting a charge of DUII on your driving and arrest record by learning what DUII is and how Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants is dealt with by the legal system in these states.
What is DUII?
DUII is also known as Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. Intoxicants refers to both alcoholic beverages as well as drugs like codeine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, cough syrup, and others.
States with DUII laws set the legal blood alcohol content limit at 0.08 percent. They define vehicles covered under DUII laws as cars, trucks, motor boats, and in some instances bicycles and motorized carts.
Further, people who are pulled over on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants technically do not have the legal right to refuse DUII field sobriety testing including a breathalyzer test. They live in states that not only have DUII laws but also implied consent laws. Implied consent means that your consent for testing for alcohol or drug use is implied in exchange for the privilege of having a state-issued driver’s license.
If you refuse a breathalyzer or field sobriety test, you can still be arrested on suspicion of DUII. You also could have your license suspended for several months or up to a year if not more even if you are found not to be Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.
Given how serious a charge of DUII is, you may want to know what kinds of punishments come with it. The DUII punishments you face in court will depend on a number of different factors including whether or not it is your first offense or if you are a repeat DUII offender.
How is a DUII Punished?
A DUII can bring with it a host of different legal consequences, all of which can be difficult and expensive with which to cope. A first-time DUII charge as well as a second charge within the last five years of your first, if applicable, of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants can lead to a jail sentence of two days to one year. You also may be sentenced to 80 hours of community service and be made to pay a fine totaling $1000 to $6250.
If your BAC level is greater than 0.15 percent, the fines could increase to $2000 to $10,000. You also could lose your license for one year and be required to have an ignition interlock device, or IID, installed on your car.
A third conviction for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants can result in a jail sentence of 90 days to five years. Your fines can total anywhere from $2000 to $125,000, and you will be charged with a Class C felony. Your license may be suspended for up to 10 years. You also will be required to have an IID on your car for two to five years after you serve your jail sentence.
Along with paying fines, serving time in jail, and having your license suspended, you also will be ordered to pay court costs and any reinstatement fees that come with having your license reinstated. You will also need to pay for your own screening for admission into a court-approved drug or alcohol program. That screening fee can cost $150. You also will be made to pay anywhere from $5 to $50 toward the state’s victims’ compensation fund.
For repeat DUII offenders, probation is also an optional punishment that the court may impose on you. During your probationary period, you will not be allowed to commit any DUII offenses. If you are caught Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, you could go back to jail and have to serve a longer prison sentence. The probationary period should not exceed five years.
Unlike states with DUI laws, DUII states like Oregon with Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants laws do not allow for plea bargaining. However, courts in the state do allow some defendants, most notably those who are first-time offenders, to take part in a diversionary program. The program involves going to and successfully completing rehab. After you complete the diversionary program, your DUII conviction could be expunged from your record.
Avoiding a DUII
Avoiding a DUII in the first place is relatively simple if you just use common sense when drinking alcohol in public or using prescription or over-the-counter medicines. It helps if you know your limit of how much alcohol you can safely drink. If you are not sure, you can use online BAC charts or even purchase a breathalyzer test that you can attach to your smartphone or key chain. It gives you an accurate reading of your BAC, which can then help you avoid Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.
To avoid a DUII with medication, you should follow the directions as outlined by your pharmacist or the medication packaging carefully. You should avoid taking too much or taking the medication with alcohol. Both of these missteps can result in you being charged with a DUII.
If you do plan on going out for a night of drinking with friends, you can also avoid a DUII by eating food or drinking a lot of water with your alcoholic beverages. Food and water both slow down the pace at which your body absorbs the alcohol. Your BAC will stay lower than if you were to drink on an empty stomach.
Finally, if you are charged with a DUII, you should know what precautions to take to avoid serious legal ramifications on your life. You should hire a skilled DUII lawyer who has experience defending clients like you. Your lawyer can make sure your arrest was lawful and that you were genuinely above the legal BAC limit at the time of your arrest.
Your lawyer may also be able to help you take part in the diversionary program offered by the court. Instead of going to jail, you would go to a rehab facility to complete drug and alcohol counseling. Once you finished the program, you could have the DUII charge and conviction expunged from your record, making it invisible to most entities that perform a background check on you.
You should ideally hire a lawyer before your first court appearance, which will probably be your arraignment hearing after your arrest. Your lawyer can appear at the arraignment with you and possibly help you get bail or bond to get out of jail until your court date. At the next court date, your lawyer may argue for a lesser punishment especially if you are a first-time offender or if you did not harm anyone or anything while you were Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.
A DUII is a serious charge that can have devastating consequences on your life if you are convicted of it. You can easily avoid a DUII charge by knowing your limit of alcohol and by using medications safely. You may also be able to avoid harsh legal penalties that come with a DUII conviction by hiring a skilled lawyer to defend you.