There are many different terms for drunk driving: DUI, DWI, OWI, DUII, and more. Oregon specifically uses the term “driving under the influence of intoxicants” or DUII. This term encompasses more than just driving with a high blood alcohol content level and extends to impairment via drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two.
When police pull someone over for a DUII, it’s often due to the fact that alcohol abuse is so common. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “it is estimated that 67.3% of the population consumes alcohol and that 7.4% of the population meets the criteria for alcohol abuse.” This fact has cops pulling more people over than before. Below we’ve outlined the rights you have during the DUII process—read on for more pertinent information.
What Proves a DUII Conviction?
There are two main components that result in a DUII conviction. The first is that a police officer sees you operating a vehicle on a road or premise open to the public. The second component is that the police officer must show that you were under the influence of an intoxicant. They will try to prove this with a BAC test, field sobriety tests, or with drug recognition exams. However, every citizen has rights when it comes to these three tests which are important to understand.
Refusing Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests typically include walking in a straight line or standing on one leg. If you were to perform these actions, you are consenting to a search. However, you have an absolute right to refuse the tests. Many people do not realize that they have this right since it’s the officer’s job to make it seem required. Refusal is often a good idea as officers do not necessarily design the tests for someone to pass—whether sober or intoxicated. If you refuse, you should expect to hear warnings from the officer(s).
Refusing Breathalyzer Tests
In Oregon, there are separate penalties for failing to or refusing to take a test. If you fail a breathalyzer test, license suspensions last for 90 days, and if you refuse the test this will last for one year. It is technically within your rights to refuse breathalyzer tests, however, refusing one can come with harsher penalties than if you take the test. If you refuse, the state will suspend your license, police will charge you with a “refusing a breath test” fine of $650, and if the case goes to court they can use that refusal as evidence of guilt.
Refusing the Search of Your Car
Frequently when a person is pulled over, the police will ask to search the vehicle. You have the right to refuse a search no matter where you are, especially if they do not have a warrant. Find out more about saying no to a police officer, here.
Another big aspect for anyone pulled over or charged with any crime, in general, is that you have the right to remain silent. Use that. You do not have to answer any questions that an officer asks of you. They can use anything you say against you in court, so it is often better to refrain from speaking. Your Clackamas County DUII attorney will be glad you stayed quiet!