Although you may realize that drunk driving is actually quite common, most motorists don’t think they will ever find themselves in legal trouble. Unfortunately, you might find out the hard way that this feeling of invincibility is misplaced. If you are arrested on DUII allegations, you’ll probably have a ton of questions running through your mind. It’s no wonder, since DUII laws can be incredibly difficult to understand. We hope today’s post will clear up some of your confusion surrounding DUII arrests and what you should do if you are charged with such a crime.
Do I have to submit to questioning, searches, and field sobriety tests?
If you are pulled over and questioned by an officer for a possible DUII situation, you do have to provide them with your driver’s license, your registration, and your proof of insurance. But there are other things you do not have to legally provide.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to submit to a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test. That said, refusing to take a breath test will result in an automatic one-year suspension. In Oregon, having a .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will result in a DUII arrest. Although you may only receive a 90-day license suspension if your BAC reading is below .08%, that may not be a chance you want to take in this scenario.
In addition to these tests, you can also refuse to answer an officer’s questions (though you should do so with respect) and refuse to submit to a search of your vehicle. You have a right to remain silent and a right to an attorney. Although your inclination may be to help law enforcement and appear cooperative, you should not do so to the degree that it could hurt your case. Remain calm and be firm about not answering any questions without your attorney being present. This is the best way to protect your rights.
If I’m a first-time offender, will I go to jail?
Not necessarily. Although Oregon does take DUII laws seriously, first-time offenders may not serve jail time even if they are eventually convicted. You may be forced to pay steep fines, serve community service, and be put on lengthy probation periods in lieu of jail. As a first-time offender, you may also be eligible for a DUII diversion program, which is typically the most appealing option for those who can take advantage of it. Successful completion of this program will replace the possibility for conviction, which presents a welcome opportunity for many offenders.
Can I still participate in a DUII diversion program if my BAC levels were very high?
Regardless of your BAC level, this reading will not negate your eligibility for a diversion program. That said, there are other factors that can render you ineligible. For instance, if you’ve been previously convicted for a DUII or your offense caused another person to be injured, you won’t be able to partake in this program. If you have a commercial’s driver’s license, you won’t be eligible either. But your BAC level won’t play a part in whether you can participate.
Are DUII attorneys really necessary for my case?
In a word: yes. As we’ve mentioned, DUII law is extremely complex. Even if you have never been arrested before, you’ll need help from an experienced attorney to navigate this process successfully. You cannot rely on your clean record or your limited knowledge of the law to help you. You’ll want someone knowledgeable to protect and fight for your rights along the way, which is why having a DUII lawyer is a necessity.
To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please contact our firm today.