Oregon DUI laws have made arrests for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) is a serious offense in Oregon, with penalties that carry significant civil and criminal charges and have the potential to damage your finances, your freedom, and your future.
What is Driving Under the Influence?
Driving under the influence means operating a motor vehicle while you are impaired by drugs or alcohol. The level of impairment must make it impossible for the driver to operate the vehicle safely. In many states, this limit is known to be when your BAC level is above .08%.
Oregon DUI laws are very strict. Usually, in Oregon, when someone gets multiple DUIs, it is indicative of alcoholism or a drug addiction. If you have gotten more than one DUI, this might also be the case for you.
Legal Definition of Driving Under the Influence and Law
The legal definition of a DUI is the act of operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol or other drugs. Alcohol is the culprit in most of these cases. Although drugged driving does occur. A DUI is a criminal charge.
You may receive a DUI when your blood alcohol level is above the legal limit for your state. When BAC levels are really high, the penalties can be quite severe in some cases.
Driving Under the Influence in Oregon
In Oregon, DUIs occur all the time. When you get a driver’s license, you automatically agree to sobriety tests at any time. Refusing to take a sobriety test can carry hefty penalties. It can be used as evidence against you in court. You may even get your license suspended, or face other fines or charges. You could even have to spend time in jail.
DUIIs in Oregon are also important to understand. This means driving under the influence of intoxicants. If your BAC level is .08% or higher, you will get a DUII. If you are under 21, any amount of alcohol in your system means failing a sobriety test. If you are a CDL driver, your legal limit is .04%.
General DUI Information and Statistics
What you might not know about driving under the influence is:
- It doesn’t matter what type of drugs or alcohol you consume. If you use too much, you are impaired.
- Only time is going to make you more sober. Nothing else will.
- A drunk driver will drive under the influence an average of about 80 times before they’re arrested.
- Every 51 minutes, someone in the U.S. is killed because of a drunk driving crash.
- This means that each day, 27 people lose their lives.
- Someone is injured in a drunk driving accident every 120 seconds.
The drunk driving problem in the United States is serious. According to the CDC:
- In 2015, 10,265 people died in crashes that involved alcohol.
- This accounted for almost one-third of all traffic related deaths.
- 16% of the traffic related deaths involving children in that year also involved alcohol.
- Close to 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in 2015.
- Drugs (not including alcohol) are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle accidents.
- 13% of nighttime and weekend drivers have used marijuana recently.
- Marijuana users are 25% more likely to be involved in a crash than those who don’t use it.
Do these statistics surprise you? Clearly, Oregon’s DUII laws are necessary. There have simply been far too many deaths in the State of Oregon. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize just how dangerous drinking or drugging and driving really is.
Oregon DUI Statistics
The CDC tells us that in Oregon:
- Between 2003 and 2012, there were 1,232 fatal crashes involving a drunk driver.
- 4% of adults report having driven after drinking too much.
- 3% of deaths involving drunk driving crashes involved people between the ages of 0 and 20.
- 2% of these individuals were between the ages of 21 and 34.
- Most of these deaths were males.
The good news is that in the State of Oregon, motorists drive drunk at a rate that is lower than the national average:
- Just 4% of Oregon drivers self-report that they have driven after drinking too much within the past 30 days, compared to 1.9% of all U.S drivers.
- The death rate for people killed because of drunk driving in Oregon is likewise significantly lower than that of the nation as a whole –2 people per 100,000 population, compared to 3.3 in the entire U.S.
No doubt this is in part due to both Oregon’s anti-impaired driving awareness campaign and the state’s harsh DUI penalties. Together, they seem to be effective prevention and deterrent measures.
“If (people) want to smoke marijuana or (drink) alcohol, or any other kind of drug – if they choose to do that, just do it at home. But don’t drive a vehicle and kill an innocent person.”
~ Gresham, Oregon, resident Aida Rose, nine months after her daughter was killed by an impaired driver high on legal marijuana
Impaired and Drunk Driving in Oregon Continues to Be a Problem
The bad news is that impaired and drunk driving still continues – between 2003 and 2012, over 1200Oregonians were killed because of alcohol-related driving accidents. How bad is the ongoing problem of impaired driving?
- During the first six months following the legalization of marijuana in Oregon, DUII arrests went up by 7%.
- Marijuana DUII arrests skyrocketed by 163% during the same period.
- DUII arrests where marijuana was determined to be a “contributing factor” likewise shot up by 111%.
The State of Oregon is SERIOUS About Stopping Drunk and Impaired Driving
State law enforcement agencies and policymakers have taken notice of the uptick in impaired driving, and him taking appropriate measures. The Oregon State Police recently purchased a mass spectrometer that will make it easier to detect drugs in bodily fluids. For the first time, OSP analyst will even be able to detect synthetic cannabinoids from so-called designer drugs such as Spice. Robert Jones, the Portland Forensic Lab Supervisor, says, “It’s a tool that is extremely sensitive, and it’s going to increase our ability to detect drugs at very low levels – and a larger variety of drugs.”
At the same time, lawmakers are considering other measures for Oregon DUI laws, such as:
- Setting driving limits for marijuana THC levels
- Following the example of Washington State and implementing laws that would facilitate the ability of law enforcement officers to take blood samples as implied consent when it comes to driving on state roadways
What Happens if You Get a DUI?
When a DUI is suspected in Oregon, the police are allowed to pull you over to investigate. You may be showing signs of impairment, such as swerving. Or, you may have committed a traffic violation. As long as the police have reasonable cause to pull you over, they can certainly do so.
If you believe that the police did not have reasonable cause to pull you over, you can take action. You can ask for a motion to suppress. This might result in your case being thrown out.
The stop begins with asking you for your license and registration. During this time, the officer is assessing the situation. He or she is looking for signs of intoxication. The officer might ask you if you have had anything to drink or if you’ve used drugs. Depending on your answer and the officer’s findings, more investigation might be warranted.
This is the point when a field sobriety test is usually conducted. These tests can look very different, depending on the officer, and what is being looked for. They are excellent indicators into whether or not you are under the influence.
If you are found to be under the influence, you will be asked for a portable breath test. Depending on the results, and on the officer’s suspicions, you may be arrested.
What Happens If You Get a DUII in Oregon?
There are two parts to a DUII arrest/conviction in Oregon – the civil charge, which affects your ability to drive in the state, and the criminal charge, which will determine your fine, your jail time, and any other imposed penalties. In the State of Oregon, a person can be arrested for a DUII if they drive a motor vehicle and:
- Fail a chemical analysis of their breath or blood by registering .08% or greater Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
- Are “under the influence” of intoxicating liquor, any controlled substance (including legal ones), or an inhalant, or any combination thereof
Part One – Civil Penalties
According to the Oregon DUI laws, a person’s right to drive in Oregon can be suspended if they are arrested for a DUII or they refuse to chemical test of their breath, blood, or urine. The length of the suspension depends upon whether the test was failed or refused and whether or not there was a previous DUII conviction or diversion within the previous five years.
Some people can apply for a “Hardship” license that will allow them to operate a motor vehicle to get to and from work and regular medical appointments ONLY, but even then, there is a waiting period before it is granted. Suspension penalties are as follows:
- Test refusal – one-year suspension, 90 day waiting period for hardship
- Test refusal with previous DUII event – three-year suspension, three-year waiting period
- Test failure – 90 day suspension, 30 day waiting period
- Test failure with previous DUII event – one-year suspension, one-year waiting period
- Urine test refusal – one-year suspension, 180 days waiting period
- Urine test refusal with previous DUII event – three-year suspension, two-year waiting period
A DUII CONVICTION in Oregon carries the following suspension penalties:
- First conviction – one-year suspension, no waiting for hardship license with a judge’s signature
- Second conviction within five years – three-year suspension, 90 day waiting period –IF you complete a 180-day treatment program
- Third conviction or a Felony DUII conviction – lifetime REVOCATION of all driving privileges, not eligible for a hardship. In certain instances, a person can apply for reinstatement after a 10-year waiting period.
- After suspension, a person wishing to have their license reinstated after a DUII conviction must:
- Install an Ignition Interlock Device on their vehicle for one year
- Provide proof of a completed alcohol/drug treatment program
- File an SR-22 and keep it on file for three years
- Pay a $75 reinstatement fee
Part Two – Criminal Penalties
Under Oregon law, a DUII is a misdemeanor, unless the person has two or more prior DUII convictions within the previous 10 years, in which case it becomes a FELONY. Possible penalties for a DUII conviction in Oregon include:
- First conviction –
- Probation – 18 to 36 months
- Jail time – 2 to 10 days
- Fine – $1000-$2000
- Second conviction –
- Probation – 24 to 36 months
- Jail time – 8 to more than 30 days
- Fine – $1500-$3500
- Third or greater conviction with no more than one conviction within the past 10 years AND no felony DUII convictions–
- Probation – more than 36 months
- Jail time – 30 to 180 days
- Fine – $2000-$4000
- Third or greater conviction with two or more prior convictions within the past 10 years or a prior felony DUII conviction –
- Felony conviction
- Probation – 36 to 60 months
- Jail time – at least 90 days, possible prison time
- Fine – $2000-$4000
In addition, for any DUII conviction, the judge can also order:
- Drug/alcohol treatment
- Victims impact panel class
- That the person be barred from possessing or consuming alcohol
- That the person be barred from entering bars or taverns
In other states, it is common for defendants in DUI cases to plea bargain in order to face reduced charges such as reckless or negligent driving. Under Oregon law, this practice is PROHIBITED. There is no opportunity to plead guilty to lesser charges in DUII cases. In the current Oregon DUI laws, when a person is arrested, charged, and/or convicted of and impaired driving offense – and particularly when there is a repeated pattern of such incidents – that is usually an indication of a serious substance abuse disorder. The person may not be able to control their consumption of drugs and/or alcohol.
Have You Gotten a DUI or a DUII in Oregon?
If you have gotten a DUI or a DUII in Oregon, it’s possible that it’s time for you to ask for help. You may need to recover from alcoholism or addiction. This is certainly not a problem that you want to ignore.
It may seem easier for you to just wait out your sentence so that life can get back to normal. However, the chances are pretty good that you’ve been using for quite some time. This might even be your second or third arrest or conviction.
If your life or that of someone you care about has become unmanageable due to a substance abuse problem, contact Northpoint Recovery in Boise, Idaho, today. WITHOUT help, the disease will only progress and the consequences will only worsen. WITH help, a return to sobriety, sanity, and manageability is possible.
Right now, you may be feeling surprised about the fact that you may need treatment. You never thought you had a problem with drugs or alcohol. This is actually quite typical among those who do have problems with substances. The tendency is to think that they have everything under control. The reality is that they don’t.
There’s no reason for you to continue on in any type of healthy pattern of addiction. Whether your case is severe or mild, it can help to talk to someone who can give you more answers.
Do you have a question about Oregon DUII laws, or DUI laws? We’d love to hear from you and get you some answers.