Oregon DUII Information & Oregon DUII Law
Being arrested for DUII in Oregon is a humiliating and terrifying experience. Often, there are other charges which only serve to make the matter worse and perhaps the biggest fear of all is, “What’s going to happen to me?”
First, you are not alone. Unlike any other crime, DUII cuts across all lines of social strata to include representatives from every walk of life. Doctors and lawyers, police officers, ministers, priests, rabbis, soccer moms and celebrities have all made the same mistake you made, so don’t beat yourself up over this.
The second thing you can take comfort in is that I will be with you every step of the way. Over the years and the hundreds of DUII clients I have helped, there are a few questions common to every case. Hopefully I can answer some of them for you here.
1. What happens now?
After your arrest and release, you are usually given a date to return to court. This is called an arraignment. If you were held overnight in jail, you probably were arraigned the morning of your release.
2. What is an arraignment?
The citation you received from the police officer is nothing more than a description of what that officer believes you did wrong. The officer’s opinion, however, is not important. What is important is the charge or charges the District Attorney decides to bring against you. In making that decision the District Attorney will have reviewed the police report, assumed that it reflects an accurate description of what happened, and then decided what crime or crimes the state can expect to prove against you based on the report. Sometimes the D.A. adds crimes that the police officer didn’t think of. Sometimes the D.A. takes out certain crimes that the officer shouldn’t have charged. Sometimes the D.A. feels that the totality of the evidence against you is so flimsy that he decides to throw the whole case out. That’s called a “no complaint” and it basically means the entire episode is over and you will face no further consequences.
However, if the D.A. decides to charge you with DUII and/or other crimes, they will be listed on a form called a District Attorney’s Information.This will be read in court and handed to you at your arraignment, which is a proceeding where you are officially charged.
3. What happens next?
At the arraignment, a plea must be entered in response to the charges brought by the D.A.. Regardless of whether you believe yourself to be utterly innocent or completely guilty, an initial plea of “Not Guilty” is always entered, either by me, by you, or by the judge. This is because the court cannot accept any other response to the charges unless the judge is satisfied that such a plea was made “voluntarily and intelligently,” and the court assumes that you cannot make an “intelligent” decision without having first seen the police reports and consulted with a lawyer.
For that reason, only a “not guilty” plea will be accepted at arraignment, at which time you will be given a date to return – either with an attorney you have hired, or with a court-appointed attorney if you do not have the means to hire an attorney.
4. Will I have to go to trial?
That depends on your circumstances and the evidence we review together. If this is your first DUI arrest, (or if you haven’t had one for 15 years prior), you do not hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), and if you did not injure anyone in a crash associated with the DUII, you will be eligible to enter the Diversion Program.
99% of all clients in this situation choose Diversion as the best resolution for their case. However, if you do not qualify for any of the reasons above, or you’re convinced that a jury would not convict you based on the State’s evidence, we start preparing for trial.
5. What are the advantages of the Diversion Program?
The biggest advantage of the Diversion Program is that you will not have a criminal conviction on your record. True, a Judgment of Diversion will go on your record, and it will likely affect your auto insurance, but if asked the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime,” you will be able to answer truthfully, “No.” Also, there will be no further jail time involved and the fine for entry into Diversion is also much less than for a conviction of DUII.
6. What’s required in the Diversion Program?
- A $490 fine paid to the court (you can arrange for a payment program if necessary).
- A $150 fee for an assessment and interview with an Alcohol Evaluator.
- A $50 fee for the two-hour “Victim’s Panel” which is usually held at a local hospital and involves some painful discussions with victims of DUII crashes.
- Completion of all treatments, classes and requirements prescribed by the alcohol evaluator.
- Approximately $75 for the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in your car (I have a special hand-out for this).
- A one-year probation period during which: you complete all the above, you are charged with no subsequent crimes, and you refrain from consuming any alcohol except for religious purposes.
The process is begun on the date we return to court (after the arraignment) and it starts with our changing your plea from “Not Guilty” to “Guilty.” That new plea is held suspended for the Diversion year. If you complete all the requirements, it will be tossed out at the end of the Diversion year and a Judgment of Diversion will be entered into the record. If, for some reason, you do not complete all the requirements of Diversion, the court will set a hearing to determine whether you should be kicked out of the program. If you are, they will automatically enter your “Guilty” plea into the record.
I know that I’ve given you a lot of information to digest, and there are always variations in what I’ve described depending on the circumstances of your own unique case and the county where you have been charged. I also know that you have questions about how this affects your license and driving privileges. That information will be sent to you on separate sheets.
For now, what you really need to know is that you can call me at any time with any question you might have, and I will be there for you every step of the way.
For more information, to schedule a lecture or to reach Adam Greenman, contact his office at (503) 227-3800.