It is a criminal offense to drive drunk or under the influence of intoxicating drugs in Oregon. While the state offers rehabilitation programs aimed at first-time offenders, the penalties for repeated DUI offenses can be severe and usually involve jail time and steep fines. Oregon DUI laws also do not allow you to plead to lesser charges. The state automatically assumes that you consent to breath or blood testing whenever you drive a vehicle.
If you have been charged with driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs, this is what you can expect to happen.
Oregon DUI Laws
What Is the Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit?
Under Oregon DUI laws, the blood alcohol concentration limit (BAC) is 0.08%. If you are a truck driver, then the BAC limit is 0.04%.
What Happens if I Get Pulled Over?
If a police officer suspects that you are driving drunk or under the influence of drugs, then you may be pulled over and asked for your license and registration. The officer might ask you a series of questions before deciding to administer a BAC test.
Can I Refuse the BAC Test?
Oregon has a “by consent” law. This means that it’s assumed that you automatically consent to having a BAC test performed if you are stopped by police under suspicion of DUI.
What Happens if I Refuse It?
You cannot be forced to take a BAC test. However, if you refuse, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for a length of time between one and three years. It depends on whether it’s your first DUI or not. There are fines associated with refusal as well. It starts with a fine between $500 and $1,000 for the first refusal you make. To get your license reinstated, you may need to pay an administrative fee of $75.
Can I Plead “Wet Reckless”?
You cannot plead “wet reckless” under Oregon DUI laws, as the state has introduced legislation against this. You may be able to negotiate for reduced penalties depending on your circumstances. However, you will not be able to reduce the charges.
What Are the Penalties I Should Expect?
The criminal penalties set out in Oregon DUI laws usually involve a combination of jail or prison time, fines, and suspension or permanent revocation of your driver’s license. The state also requires many people charged with DUI to take part in programs to address what the court may see as a problem with alcohol or drugs.
In addition to the charges, you will also face penalties from the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. This usually involves having your license confiscated. They can also penalize you for refusing to take a BAC test, separate from the charges you will face in court.
First Offense DUI
The penalties for a first offense DUI are two days to one year in jail. Alternatively, you could face 80 hours of court-ordered community service. It depends on whether you have any other criminal offenses on your record. You will also have to pay a fine. It starts at $1,000 and goes up to as much as $10,000 if a person under the age of 18 is in the vehicle with you when you are stopped. You will lose your license for up to one year unless you are successfully granted a hardship permit. You will also need to take part in a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation program. Drivers may have the chance to take part in the state’s Diversion Program. This could see the charge dismissed if you successfully complete it.
Second Offense DUI
Under Oregon DUI laws, a second offense carries a penalty of up to one year in jail. There’s also a minimum fine of $1,500 and a maximum fine of $10,000 (if you have a minor with you in the car), and license suspension for one year. If you are granted a hardship permit, you may be ordered to install an interlock ignition device in your car for up to two years. This means that you will need to pass a BAC test in order to start the vehicle. You will also need to successfully complete a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.
Third Offense DUI
If you are charged with a third offense under Oregon DUI laws, and the latest charge is within ten years of your first two offenses, you will be charged with a felony. The penalties could result in up to five years in prison, a minimum fine of $2,000 and a maximum fine of $10,000 if a minor was also in the car with you at the time. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could lose your license permanently. You will also need to take part in a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation program. If you are allowed to drive, you will need to have an ignition interlock device fitted to your car for at least three years.
Fourth Offense DUI
A fourth offense DUI in Oregon within the space of ten years will result in severe penalties. It is considered a felony, similar to a third offense. You could face fines of up to $125,000. You could also spend up to five years in prison, and could lose your driver’s license for life if you are convicted. The court may order you to take part in a rehab program.
Oregon DUI laws are some of the strictest in the country. While there is a large push towards rehabilitation for first-time offenders, the state and administrative penalties can be severe for anyone who is charged with repeat DUIs. While you can refuse a BAC test at the scene, you will incur fines and the life-disrupting loss of your license.
What do you think about the laws against drunk and intoxicated driving in Oregon? Are they too harsh, or are they an effective deterrent against drunk driving? Why not leave your comments and let others know what you think?
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