Sadly, thousands of people die in car crashes and countless more are injured each year. There can be a variety of reasons for car accidents — weather, distracted driving, a car malfunction, but far too often, it’s the result of someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In fact, every two minutes, someone is injured because of a drunk driving crash. And while drunk drivers are often treated like villains in our society, it’s easy to make a one-time mistake that could ruin your life for years to come.
So what happens if you’re one of these drivers and you get stopped by a police officer? You might wonder how serious a DUI actually is. You might panic. You might not know what to do. However, everyone who drinks — even just social drinking — should know what to do when you are pulled over after a night of drinking.
What to Do If You’re Pulled Over for a DUI
First of all, always pull over right away. You can’t delay the inevitable, but you can make it worse.
Find a safe place to pull over as carefully as possible. You don’t want the police to add an extra line about erratic or irresponsible driving to the report, which could be used in court. Try and stay calm and rational; don’t make any sudden movements. Be polite and answer their questions, but try not to give too much information or give any information that might incriminate you. It can be terribly nerve wracking to be pulled over by the police, but you don’t want to get yourself in further trouble.
If you think you may be over the legal limit, do not try to lie or fight the situation, as this usually just makes the entire process much worse for everyone. In general, you should say as little as possible.
Lastly, you should get in touch with a DUI lawyer immediately.
What to Know About Oregon’s DUI Laws
Oregon has a DUII instead of a DUI (driving under the influence of intoxicants), but it means the same thing — don’t drink and drive. The state also operates under an implied consent law, meaning that if you’re behind the wheel of a car, you’ve already given consent to comply with any breath, blood, or urine tests that a police officer requires you to take. If you do not take these tests, that refusal is admissible in court. You’re almost certain to have your driver’s license suspended after a refusal, too.
If you’re over 21 and your blood alcohol content is greater than .08, you’ll be receiving a DUII. If you’re under 21, any trace of alcohol in your blood will result in a DUII. However, being suspended from driving for failing the implied consent test is different than the suspension you’ll receive if you have a DUII.
In either case, your driving privileges can be revoked for anywhere from 90 days to three years. If convicted with a DUII, you’ll be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. It basically acts as a personal breathalyzer that you need to breathe into in order to start your car.
If this is your first offense, you may be eligible to enter the Oregon DUII Diversion Program. You do need to plead guilty or no contest to the DUII charge, but the case will be dismissed after a year if the driver completes the program. You’ll need to file a court petition for diversion (this comes with an almost $500 filing fee) no later than 30 days after receiving the DUII.
Why You Should Hire a DUI Lawyer
A good DUI lawyer can hopefully help minimize DUI penalties and in some cases, they may be able to work your criminal charge down to a misdemeanor. At best, they can net you less jail time and a lower fine. You should also hire a local lawyer, as local DUI lawyers know the ins and outs of the court system in your area. A DUI attorney in Oregon City will know the nuances of the local court system, which could work to your advantage. They can assist with legal paperwork, advising what kind of case to make, and can also challenge breathalyzer, urine, or blood tests if they were administered in the field.
Knowing what to do if you get pulled over for a DUI is important, as is having a good DUI lawyer to get in touch with. Don’t get caught unprepared.