Distracted Driving in Oregon Could Land You in Jail

We tend to hear about the strict penalties for drunk driving offenses in Oregon. But there are other criminal matters that occur behind the wheel that the state takes very seriously. The penalties for distracted driving have become increasingly harsh over the last few years in an effort to prevent accidents and fatalities on Oregon roads.

At any given daylight moment across the country, approximately 660,000 drivers use cell phones or other electronic devices while they drive. It’s been a real problem in Oregon. In June of 2018, traffic deaths increased by 18% from the year prior. At least a portion of those fatalities, said the state’s Department of Transportation, can be attributed to driver inattention.

Although distracted driving can involve a number of behaviors, one of the most common is the use of cell phones and other electronic devices. Texting, calling, navigating, and other activities all require a driver’s attention — which makes it difficult for them to focus completely on the road. Although technology is now an essential part of our lives, Oregon lawmakers have made it clear that these devices should play no part in the driving experience.

And they mean business. The penalties for distracted driving violations actually increased substantially in July 2018. Even if you’re a first-time offender, there’ll be no leniency for you. Being caught violating Oregon’s distracted driving laws for the first time can still result in a fine of up to $1,000. If your first offense involved a crash or you violate the law for a second time, the fine can increase to $2,500. And if you’re a repeat offender, attorneys may need to get involved; you could face both the steeper fine and up to six months in jail.

To some, this may seem like overkill. But state officials are taking these criminal matters seriously for a reason. These behaviors contribute to easily preventable accidents. One decision to check your email at a red light or fiddle with your GPS while in traffic could result in a horrific crash that could change the entire course of your life.

The best way to avoid being fined or even jailed for these criminal matters is simple: don’t engage in these behaviors. If you need to use a GPS, make sure it’s a permanent fixture in your car that you can operate hands-free. Otherwise, all electronic devices should be put away for your entire ride. If you absolutely need to use a device, you can pull off the road and park in a safe spot to do so. All other manipulations of hand-held electronic devices can be considered to be in violation of state laws.

Even if you believe you can get away with sending a quick text in traffic, don’t do it. The potential punishments you’ll face for these criminal matters are steep enough as it is, but the potential safety risk you’ll take by engaging in these behaviors is even more substantial. We all make mistakes, of course. But don’t let your split-second choice to check your phone put your future in jeopardy.

For more information on distracted driving laws or to schedule a consultation with a reputable lawyer, please contact us today.

How to Avoid Being Involved in a Prostitution Sting

In television shows and movies, you may have seen seedy men swept up in police stings involving shady hotels and ladies of the night. Exaggerated versions of events like these might make you believe that they could never happen to you. But the truth is that approximately 80,000 Americans are arrested every year for soliciting sex. And while you might think that an arranged meet-up doesn’t carry a whole lot of risks, nothing could be further from the truth.

Law enforcement officers will frequently use the internet to set up online prostitution stings. They will attempt to lure unsuspecting people into a situation in which they can be arrested for solicitation. It’s important to protect yourself by learning about what can happen during this type of sting and how to avoid situations like these entirely. Otherwise, you may need immediate help from prostitution lawyers after the fact.

What Happens During a Prostitution Sting?

In the digital age, police officers will often utilize online tools to make prostitution arrests. They may create an ad on sites like Craigslist (although the site has forbade adult content), Backpage, or others in the hopes of enticing respondents who don’t realize what they’re getting into. When someone responds to the ad, those responses are recorded (either via screen or via phone); the object here is to get the respondent to agree to exchange money or other items of value for a sex act. When the respondent shows up at the meeting place agreed upon (usually a hotel), they’ll typically be arrested for solicitation — even if they have second thoughts and never knock on the door to the room.

Ways to Avoid Being Arrested in a Prostitution Sting

Prostitution lawyers will be quick to tell you that sex crimes of any kind need to be taken seriously. Those who are arrested for solicitation face not only significant legal troubles, but they may also lose their jobs, their families, and their reputations. Therefore, it’s essential to avoid being involved in these kinds of situations. Here’s how you may be able to avoid being arrested in a prostitution sting:

  • Stay off adult forums or websites dedicated to these kinds of arrangements
  • Don’t say anything potentially incriminating via phone call, text message, email, message board, online chat, or other internet platform
  • Never agree or offer to render payment or exchange of products or services for the performance of a sex act
  • Stick to more harmless websites for dating or companionship
  • Never visit an establishment in the hopes of being able to pay for sexual acts

Of course, many people end up learning their mistakes the hard way. If you have been arrested for solicitation or another related sex crime, it’s important to seek out assistance from reputable prostitution lawyers in your area. For more information, contact our firm today.

3 Mistakes to Avoid While in a DUI Diversion Program

Although fewer than 4,000 people are arrested for drunk driving on a daily basis, that doesn’t mean you’re invincible. If you choose to drink and drive, chances are that you will eventually pay the price in one way or another. Those who are arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol for the first time may be eligible for what’s known as a DUII diversion program.

Diversion programs essentially allow a first-time DUI offender to plead guilty or no contest to their crime without having to serve time in jail. Instead, individuals have to successfully complete the DUI diversion program requirements; if they do, the charges against them will be dismissed or even expunged.

That sounds simple enough, but DUI diversion program requirements can be restrictive. Completion of this program is not easy or inexpensive. And unfortunately, participants may make mistakes while they’re in the program that can jeopardize their eligibility to partake. This may mean that the individual has to face the original consequences of their crime. If you are facing DUII charges and are determined to take part in a diversion program, you’ll want to avoid the following mistakes.

  1. Not Taking DUI Diversion Program Requirements Seriously: Each state maintains its own set of DUI diversion program requirements. But the universal aspect to these programs it that participants must complete the requirements in order to have the charges against them dismissed. If you don’t follow the rules, your eligibility to be part of the program can be revoked. Failing to stay sober or not paying the fee for one of the program requirements can cause this to occur. It’s important that when you agree to participate in a diversion program that you are well aware of the requirements you need to complete and that you’re dedicated to finishing the program successfully. Otherwise, you could face much harsher punishments for your crime.
  2. Not Asking For an Extension: Typically, DUI diversion program requirements need to be completed within a certain time frame. However, certain exceptions may be made if a diversion program participant requests an extension within the last 30 days of their program. If the individual in question is very likely to complete the program if given the extra time, the court may choose to extend the limit so that they can successfully do so. To ensure that these measures are performed as directed, it’s best to have help from DUII attorneys.
  3. Automatically Opting to Participate: This is a tricky one. On the surface, a DUII diversion program sounds like the best option for anyone who is eligible. In many cases, that’s true. It can allow you to eliminate the possibility of serving time in jail and having to endure the future consequences of being convicted of this crime. However, there may be other options available to you that can lessen the burden caused by diversion programs. Your lawyer may not even recommend that you participate in a diversion program if it’s clear that you won’t be able to follow the rules and complete the program in its entirety. Consulting at-length with your DUII attorney is the way to determine whether or not a diversion program will represent the best course of action for you and your family.

If you’ve recently been arrested for a DUII and have questions about your diversion program eligibility, we’re here to help. Contact our offices today for further information.

5 Common Obstacles to Recovering from Addiction

Quick Facts

According to the 2017 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, among those with a substance use disorder:

  • 75.2% struggle with alcohol use
  • 36.4% struggle with illicit drug use
  • 11.5% struggle with illicit drugs and alcohol use
  • 3.4% had both a substance use disorder and a mental illness

Despite the above findings, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that “Rates of alcohol use disorder have declined in all age groups relative to 2015.” But why don’t more addicts seek help? What’s holding them back? There are so many barriers that stand in an addicts way, and we can’t help our loved ones if we can’t understand what may be stopping them from seeking help. While you might feel inclined to judge, you must not. Instead, you must emphasize—recovering from addiction is easier said than done. Many addicts face the following five obstacles.

Common Obstacles to Recovering from Addiction

  • Denial

SAMHSA also reports that 17.1 million addicts needed treatment but refused it because they felt they did not need help. Despite hardships addicts face, they do not see—or do not care to see—a problem.

  • Fear

The fear an addict feels is often twofold. On one hand they fear going to rehab. On the other hand, they fear what recovery means. A lifetime process, recovering from addiction is not quick—and it is by no means easy. It takes commitment day in, day out. Checking into a rehab center takes courage, motivation, and determination. Detox can be physically uncomfortable, and therapy unearths painful memories and emotions that have been shoved down for years.

  • Shame

There is a real stigma surrounding addiction. A lot of substance abusers do not want others to know that they are struggling. Shame is often the most overwhelming and painful feeling—making it an immense barrier to recovering from addiction. Addiction does not discriminate, and seeking help is a sign of immense strength.

  • Time

Addiction does not develop overnight, and neither will recovery. We must stand by the side of the addict in your lives and let them know that the time is necessary, regardless of how long it will take.

  • Cost

The cost of help is yet another obstacle to recovery. Many rehab facilities accept a wide range of insurance and are more than willing to work with clients who do not have any health insurance whatsoever. Affordable help is always available, whether it is Minneapolis rehab facility, a Portland DUII law firm, or a recovery hotline.

The Consequences of Receiving a DUII in Oregon

A DUII charge in Oregon leads to several devastating consequences. Depending on the number of related convictions you have had in the past, penalties can range from license suspension to hefty fines and lengthy jail sentences. Find out about the potential consequences you could face if you were to be convicted of a DUII charge.

How Can Someone Get a DUII in Oregon?

In Oregon, it is illegal for motorists with a Class C permit to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more. For individuals with a commercial driver’s license, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .04% or more. A person can be arrested for DUII when they are under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, controlled substances, and/or inhalants. According to the state’s DUII laws, a person who is “under the influence” is someone whose physical and mental abilities are impaired to a point where it is noticeable or perceptible.

Attempted DUII Convictions

In Oregon, it is possible for a motorist to commit an attempted DUII. A person with a BAC that is at or above .08% (or if they are under the influence of a controlled substance) can be convicted of an attempted DUII when they purposely take steps toward driving a vehicle.

It is also possible for a person to receive a DUII while operating a vehicle that is not a car, truck, or motorcycle. Oregon DUII laws define boats, bicycles, mopeds, scooters, and motorized wheelchairs as vehicles. Devices that are exclusively powered by humans—other than bicycles—are not bound by Oregon’s DUII laws.

DUII Penalties in Oregon

An individual who has a DUII charge can expect jailtime and expensive fines. They should also expect to have their license suspended. On top of everything, individuals charged with a DUIII will also have to use an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). These penalties get more and more severe depending on the offender’s prior convictions and how close together the previous charges occurred.

Consequences of a DUII Arrest

The first step in the DUII process is undergoing a lawful arrest. When a person is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or an illegal substance, they will typically face administrative penalties. These penalties are often regarding their driver’s license. Administrative consequences will stand even if the motorist isn’t convicted in a criminal court.

Consequences of a DUII Conviction

If a motorist is convicted of a DUII, criminal penalties will be added on top of any license-related consequences. These penalties intensify depending on the number of previous DUII offenses the person has.

1st DUII Offense

In addition to administrative penalties, the first-time DUII offender will face between 48 hours to one year in jail. A person may be mandated to complete 80 hours of community service instead. Fines range from $1,000 to $6,250. If the offender’s blood alcohol content is .15% or more, fines may start at $2,000. If the passenger is younger than 18 years of age and is at least 3 years younger than the driver, the offender may face fines as high as $10,000. First-time offenders will have their license suspended for one year and will require an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicle for one year.

2nd DUII Offense

A person’s second DUII offense will cost them anywhere from $1,500 (or $2,000 if the motorist’s BAC is .15% or more) to $6,250. Fines can climb as high as $10,000 if the passenger is under 18 years of age and is at least 3 years younger than the driver. A second-time offender can face anywhere from 48 hours (or 80 hours of community service) to 1 year in jail. A person with a second DUII offense can expect their license to be suspended for 3 years, and they can also expect to have to use an IID in their vehicle for 2 years.

3rd DUII Offense

On a motorist’s third DUII offense, penalties will increase substantially. A third-time offender could face 90 days (if convicted of DUII at least twice in the past 10 years) to 5 years in jail. Fines begin at $2,000 if the driver is not facing imprisonment, and they can reach as high as $125,000 if the driver is convicted of a class C felony. A third-time offender’s license will be suspended permanently. However, after 10 years, the offender may petition the court to restore their license. IID use will be mandatory for 2 to 5 years—but this depends on the timing of prior convictions.

Penalties for Refusing a Chemical Test in Oregon

When a person is lawfully arrested for a DUII conviction, Oregon’s implied consent laws require all motorists to cooperate with a breath, blood, or urine test. If a driver refuses to take a chemical test, their license will be suspended for the following lengths of time:

  • 1st offense: 1 year
  • 2nd offense: 2 years
  • 3rd offense: 3 years

The penalties for a second or third offense test refusal or failed test apply if within the past 5 years the motorist has:

  • A DUII conviction
  • Participated in a diversion or comparable alcohol/drug program
  • A suspended license due to an implied consent violation

Further Consequences of Receiving a DUII in Oregon

In addition to jail time, expensive fees, mandated Ignition Interlock Devices, and a suspended license, a motorist can face several other penalties if they are convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants. These penalties include the following:

  • Completing a $150 screening assessment that determines the type of program the individual must complete
  • Successfully completing a substance abuse treatment program
  • Attending a mandated Victim Impact Panel (VIP); fees range from $5 to $50
  • Potentially serving a probation period, which vary in type and length but typically don’t exceed 5 years

If you face a DUII conviction in Clackamas County, Oregon, you may find yourself tangled up in complicated DUII and implied consent laws. You may benefit from the advice of a skilled Clackamas County DUII lawyer who can help you navigate the process.