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Often there is nothing to lose by trying an Oregon Driving Under the Influence charge if you are not eligible for Oregon’s diversion program. Consequently, you’ll need to hire a trial lawyer to make sure any plea offers are worthwhile.
Under Oregon law, a prosecutor cannot dismiss a DUII pursuant to negotiations. For instance, a DUII cannot be dismissed in exchange for pleading to a Reckless Driving charge.
In essence, you are negotiating for a recommended jail sentence. However, if there are other Oregon charges, such as Reckless Driving or other minor traffics (Careless Driving, Failure to Maintain a Lane, Speeding, etc.), you could negotiate those away in exchange for a plea of guilty.
Nonetheless, the big ticket item for most people is the DUII conviction itself. The conviction itself is often the worst thing about an Oregon DUII case due to the driver’s license suspension, the effects on employment, and how it ups the ante if you ever get cited for DUII again anytime during the rest of your life.
First DUII Under Oregon Law
1st DUIs are tried often in Oregon (after a prior DUII Diversion). The exposure to you for a conviction after a trial is relatively minor and will happen even if you plead guilty. The mandatory minimum for an Oregon DUII is two days jail or 80 hours community service work and a $1,000 fine (an additional $2,000 if your BAC was 0.15% or higher) AND you have to do the victim impact panel and alcohol treatment as part of probation. Most importantly you have a one-year Oregon Driver’s License suspension.
Second DUII Under Oregon Law
Whether or not you plead guilty or lose at trial, you face the same mandatory minimums as a 1st Oregon DUII. Here too, you are basically negotiating jail time, which would likely be the same or similar regardless if you went to trial or pleaded guilty. Each jurisdiction has a “standard offer” for repeat offenders. The mandatory minimum fine in Oregon is $1,500 (an additional $2,000 if your BAC was 0.15% or higher).
The big hit for most people is the mandatory suspension through the DMV. If it is your 2nd conviction within 5 years, your suspension is for 3 years. However, you are eligible for a hardship permit after 90 days.
Third DUII Under Oregon Law and the Lifetime ODL Revocation
Again, whether or not you plead guilty or lose at trial, you face the same mandatory minimums as a 1st DUII. Here too you are basically negotiating jail time, which would likely be similar regardless if you went to trial or pleaded guilty. Each jurisdiction in Oregon has a “standard offer” for repeat offenders. These offers can vary dramatically between counties and municipal courts. The mandatory minimum fine is $2,000 (an additional $2,000 if your BAC was 0.15% or higher) .
The big hit for most people is the mandatory lifetime license suspension through the Oregon DMV. You are NOT eligible for a hardship permit after a lifetime suspension. However, after ten years, you may petition the DMV for reinstatement under ORS 809.235.
Fourth (Felony) DUII Under Oregon Law
Under ORS 813.010(5)(a), DUII is a Class C Felony if the current offense was committed in a motor vehicle and you have been convicted of DUII at least three times in the 10 years prior to the date of the current DUII. Felony DUII is classified as a category 6 on the sentencing grid, which means prison time if you have certain prior criminal offenses on your record. A Felony DUII is presumptive probation otherwise, unless the prosecutor attempts a departure sentence. Your attorney can give you more details about this.
Trial vs. Plea Agreements
A knowledgeable DUII lawyer, can attempt to negotiate you the most favorable resolution to your case. If you choose to take your case to trial, the officer and prosecutor will emphasize all of the purported signs of impairment. These include the normal signs that we all associate with intoxication (bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, sway, etc.) as well as the results of the field sobriety tests.
Other things emphasized at trial include driving issues. You often hear of a sway within the lane as an indicator (although not a violation of the motor vehicle code) or failure to maintain a lane (crossing over the line). Of course, there could be allegations of more dangerous driving that may or may not have explanations other than alcohol. Finally, the officer will give his or her opinion that you are under the influence of alcohol.
DUIIs are highly technical cases to try for the prosecution which require an experienced DUII trial attorney. Attorney Mike Arnold is a former Eugene city prosecutor and has experience both prosecuting and defending DUII jury trials.
Call/text 541-797-0110 for more information.