Understanding The DUI Process Beyond The Initial Arrest With The Help Of The Law Offices of Erik Nicholson.
The real costs to those arrested for DUI are not just the fines, court ordered alcohol classes, and jail sentences, but the costs incurred before the first court appearance. Those arrested for DUI face a miserable night in jail, lost wages from missed work, administrative license suspensions, vehicle impound fees, stress, and wasted time. While Erik cannot fix all of these problems, he evaluates your unique situation and develops a plan to make the process go as quickly and easily as possible on your terms. Having a professional team on your side to help you navigate the entire legal process will help you remain informed with a better chance of a positive outcome.
People are most often pulled over for minor traffic infractions such as speeding, swerving, wide turns, or driving without headlights. Law enforcement in Washington and Clackamas County will also approach cars that are pulled over on the side of the road or even come to your house if someone called 911 about your driving.
The first question law enforcement will ask if you have been drinking. Any odor of alcohol or admission to even a single drink will give the officer grounds to start a DUII investigation and ask you to perform very challenging “field sobriety tests” (SFST). If you are unable to pass the SFST, you might be facing a DUII arrest. It’s important to get in touch with an experienced DUII attorney as soon as possible to help you build your case.
After the DUII Arrest
When you are arrested for a DUII you will have TWO DIFFERENT cases to fight. The first is the DMV action to suspend your license (implied consent suspension) and the second is the criminal charge in the local Court. These two cases are completely independent of each other, the outcome of one doesn’t affect the outcome of the other. For both cases, having legal representation can be a major determining factor in having a favorable outcome.
If you are arrested or a suspected DUII (driving under the influence of intoxicants – alcohol or drugs) you will typically be asked to take a breath, blood, or urine tests (sometimes a combination of these tests). Oregon’s “implied consent” law requires that you submit to these tests if properly requested by law enforcement. An officer must have probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence before he or she may lawfully arrest you and request such tests.
- Breath Test: This is the default test required for most people following a DUI arrest. This test consists of two breath samples into a machine called the Intoxilyzer 8000.
- Urine Test: You are required to give a urine sample when your BAC (blood alcohol content) is below .08 AND the officer suspects you are under the influence of something other than alcohol OR if you have been involved in an auto accident resulting in injury or property damage.
- Blood Test: You are required to give a blood sample when you have been in an auto accident and require immediate medical attention.
- Warrant Blood Draw: Many jurisdictions now have a judge on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you refuse a breath test the police will request the judge to approve search warrant for a forced blood draw.
DUI Test Failure
You are considered to have a failed a breath or blood test if your test results show a .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) or above. If operating a commercial vehicle you are considered to have failed a breath or blood test if your results show a .04 or above.
If you failed a breath test or refused a breath, blood or urine test, the DMV will automatically suspend your driver license anywhere from 90 days to three full years depending on the situation and your history. If you hold a commercial driver license, your commercial license could be revoked for life, which will have negative repercussions if you depend on your commercial license for your livelihood.
If your test results show a .07 or below, or .03 or below while driving a commercial vehicle, the DMV will not suspend your license, but you may still face a license suspension from the court if your case is charged.
An officer is generally required to inform you that if you refuse a chemical test your license will be suspended. The suspension period for a test refusal is significantly longer than for test failure. You may also face an additional “refusal” violation (similar to a speeding ticket with a very high additional fine). Erik Nicholson is often able to get additional violations such as this dismissed.
Timing of License Suspension
If you do not request a DMV (implied consent) hearing within 10 days of your arrest, your license will be suspended. If you hold a valid Oregon Driver license, your license will be suspended at 12:01 a.m. on the 30th day following your arrest (29 days and 1 minute after your arrest).
Typically, the arresting officer will seize your license. The yellow or white “Implied Consent Combined Report” given to you at the time of your arrest will serve as your temporary driver license until the suspension goes into effect. The length of the suspension will depend upon the circumstances of your arrest, as well as your criminal and driving history. Erik Nicholson can quickly analyze what you may be facing.
If you possess an out-of-state driver license, the arresting officer should not confiscate your license, however, they frequently do anyway. Out of state drivers are not eligible to use the “Implied Consent Combined Report” for a temporary license from Oregon, but if you are otherwise valid to drive, you may continue to drive until 12:01 a.m. on the 30th day following your arrest (29 days and 1 minute after your arrest). Navigating license suspension can be confusing and overwhelming. Stay informed about the regulations and your specific circumstances with the help of an attorney who has experience in dealing with license suspensions and other DMV repercussions.
Fighting the DMV Suspension
The Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings conducts the DMV “implied consent” hearings. At the hearing, an administrative law judge (ALJ) will listen to testimony and take evidence presented by the parties (typically the arresting officer, you, and your defense attorney). The ALJ will determine whether all the legal requirements have been met in order to suspend your license. A seasoned defense attorney will challenge each and every possible element using the facts of your arrest and established case law to argue that the suspension should be ruled invalid.
Your defense attorney can challenge: (1) whether you were validly under arrest when the officer requested the test; (2) whether the police had reasonable grounds to believe, at the time the request was made, that you were driving under the influence of intoxicants; (3) whether you refused the test or tested above the legal limit; (4) whether you were properly advised of your rights by the arresting officer; (5) whether you were given proper written notice of the pending suspension; (6) whether the officer who administered the test was properly trained and certified to conduct the test; & (7) whether the methods, procedures and equipment used complied with Oregon State Law.
Erik Nicholson will make hearing request and fight the DMV suspension as part of his work on your DUI case.
Get expert legal advice
Erik Nicholson has been a defense attorney for 14 years, handling thousands of criminal cases. With his expertise, Erik can help you navigate the challenges that may arise after a DUII arrest.