How Is A DUII Charge Defined In Oregon?

Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicant is defined as Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants Upon Premises or Highway from the influence of alcohol, an inhalant or a controlled substance.

What Happens When Someone Is Pulled Over On Suspicion of DUII Charges?

It might be a traffic stop, or if an officer sees you come out of a bar with your engine off, and you are stumbling, or fumbling, that becomes suspicious. There will be an initial encounter and the officer will make an initial assessment whether there are any indications that alcohol was consumed. They are looking for odor of alcohol, any slow movements, and watery, glassy, or bloodshot eyes. There are some other indicators for different substances. For marijuana, they are looking for the same thing they are looking for bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech, dry mouth, the inability to follow directions or requests. During the time, they ask you for your license and registration, they watch how you respond to those commands.

Are you slow, are you quick, are you fidgety, and are you nervous, they might suspect that you took methamphetamines. Do you appear sweaty, do you appear to be speaking at a rapid pace, does it appear that you are fidgety etc. For different substances, officers are trained to look for whether there is that initial presence of different substances onboard. If they believe just based from the initial contact, they might have a reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence when they first pulled you over. The nature of your driving is a solid indication that you might be under the influence of some chemical. They have probable cause that you pull over, and they can request you to perform roadside sobriety tests.

They can also ask you for consent, “Would you mind stepping out of your vehicle so I can make sure that you’re safe to continue driving”, that is the big trick. You will say, “Sure, okay. “ That is not the case. We are looking for more evidence to prove what initially happened, which is that you are impaired to an acceptable degree and adversely affected by some substances you have consumed. After that, you are asked to make sure you are safe to drive. They will start with some tests. There is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, Vertical Gaze Nystagmus test, and they are checking for clues, which is the onset of nystagmus before 45 degrees. They pass a stimulus back and forth around 12 inches from your face. There are certain signals that they are looking for there, and then they might do the vertical eye test, which is up and down, which law enforcement agencies have been trained to perform, that if your eyes go up and down that is an indication that somebody is above a 0.10% or higher.

It is not scientifically validated, it is not allowed at trial. Therefore, after there is some further indication of impairment, there will be the field sobriety testing. They might do the Walk and Turn where they tell you to either find the line or have you imagine a line where you take nine steps, and do not stop until you have done those nine steps. Then they will ask you to turn around and walk another nine steps. They are looking for any stepping out of line, tripping, or losing your balance, or the inability to count properly. It is very difficult, especially if you are nervous. They have other tests too; they have a One Leg Stand, which is to hold out your leg in front of you, and count without any trouble. If there is any swaying while you are counting, your affirmation of time is another indication of impairment.

They can have you lean back, do the bounce test, and see if there is any particular sway in your standing. Other tests are standardized that they can use to corroborate initially, which is that you are impaired and unable to drive. They will say very encouraging things throughout the testing period. They will say, “Oh yes, you’re doing well” before coming to my office and saying, “Well, he said I did great on this test, you read the report”, no, you did not have this reflected in the report that you are under the influence. At that time, they will place you under arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicants and drive you to the police station.

Depending on what they suspect is in your system, they will either request you take a breathalyzer, or a blood test. In Oregon, there is have a law that says that you impulsively consent to any breath testing and by consenting to these tests when requested by law enforcement, then most likely they have probable cause. So, refusing to do those breath tests can result in a driver’s license suspension at an administrative level. It is an offense in Oregon to refuse the breath testing; it is a violation with fines attached. It is not a misdemeanor, but it is a violation. They will take you back to the station, administer the test unless you refuse, and that is when they will read a list of requirements to make sure you understand what, and why you are consenting to this test, you say yes or you say no.

If you say no, they can get a search warrant from a judge for a blood draw. You need a warrant to do a blood draw. Most blood draws are in a hospital setting. They send it off to the forensic laboratory and wait for those results. While you are in jail, and if you blow over a 0.08% here in Oregon, that is considered legally intoxicated, that is above the legal limit. Even if you would blow at 0.07% depending on the timeframe, they can still charge you with driving under the influence of intoxicants. Even if you blow lower, they can try to charge you with driving under the influence of intoxicants. If they believe you were above a 0.08%, they will try to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were above 0.08% at the time they stopped you.

If the officer smells the odor of marijuana, and alcohol, which caused you to be under the influence, or they found methamphetamines, or paraphernalia in your car that could be considered a combined combination of substances for charging you while driving while under the influence of alcohol. After your investigation, if they believe that there is a controlled substance, and the blood testing machine shows 0.00%, and there is no alcohol in your system, then they will try to look for other avenues to charge you with criminal activity. They will bring in Drug Recognition Experts. They have special training from law enforcement agencies through the training facility here in Oregon. They are just police officers, or deputies who went through special training.

You might have to perform the field sobriety tests all over again, on the jail premises. They even have additional tests that they run, such as, turning off the lights and checking pupil dilation etc., they monitor your vital signs, heart rate, and they take your blood pressure. It is more involved as far as the search of an actual person. If the drug recognition experts believe that you ingested any drugs, they will then ask you to take a urinalysis test, or they can again get a warrant and request a blood test. If you do take the urinalysis test, and that shows the presence of a controlled substance, you are charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants.

After the drug recognition expert completes their evaluation, they will request you to take other test if needed. You remain in jail for a period, so you can sober up, and then released. Often, if there is a driving under the influence of a controlled substance and contraband is also found on the person, remember, marijuana is not necessarily a felony issue no matter the amount confiscated, most things like methamphetamine, ecstasy, heroin those are types of controlled substances, and considered felony charges.

At that point, the state is not necessarily going to have the results of the forensic testing that quickly. Nevertheless, they will hear testimony from any drug recognition expert who says they anticipated this substance, and will show from your results provided. Often that is enough, the basic information, and this is probable cause to establish that the charges are appropriate. That is what happens when suspected of a DUI.

For more information on DUII Charges In Oregon, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (503) 345-7488 today.

Shannon I. Wilson, Esq.

Get your questions answered - Call to schedule an initial strategy session (503) 345-7488.

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