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Helpful information for Oregon drivers facing a first-time DUI charge

From the moment you see those blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror, your first-offense DUI case can be a confusing, frightening and harrowing experience. It can be easy for just about anyone to wind up facing drunk driving charges after having just a few too many cocktails.

While no one wants to face a DUI charge, knowing a little more about what to expect can help you navigate the process more smoothly and secure better results. With the right knowledge and the right legal help, you can make your first-offense DUI less painful than you might imagine.

Diversion program may be one option to avoid the worst legal repercussions

The first stage in a DUI case is typically a roadside arrest. After being pulled over, under Oregon's implied consent law, you are required to submit to a chemical breath, blood or urine test to gauge the level of alcohol in your system. You may decline to submit to a chemical test, but if you do so, your license will automatically be suspended for a period of one to three years. Ideally, before submitting to a chemical test, you would contact an Oregon DUI defense attorney for advice on what to do; the police must give you the opportunity to call a lawyer before taking the chemical test if you ask for it.

For most first-time DUI arrestees, however, it simply does not cross their minds to contact a lawyer from the scene of the arrest. Still, it is important to call a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss legal options that could help your avoid the worst consequences of a DUI conviction.

If you are convicted on a first-time DUI charge in Oregon, you could face a fine of $1,000 or more, a two day jail sentence, community service and the required installation of an ignition interlock on your vehicle. However, in lieu of these consequences, many eligible first-time offenders opt for a DUI diversion program. Under Oregon's DUI diversion program, you will undergo an alcohol evaluation, complete a treatment program, pay a $490 court fee and take part in a victim's impact panel. After one year, upon successful completion of the program, your DUI case will be dismissed.

Oregon's DUI diversion program is no walk in the park, and your license will likely still be administratively suspended for some period of time. But, it is a far cry better than the costly and long-lasting consequences of a DUI conviction.

Call an Oregon DUI defense lawyer for help with your case

An Oregon defense attorney can advise you on the best legal options given the unique circumstances of your arrest, and can help get you into a DUI diversion program. In some cases, your lawyer may even be able to get evidence against you thrown out, resulting in charges being dropped completely.

If you have been arrested or charged for a first-time DUI, it is important that you do not attempt to make it through this unknown territory on your own; you need legal assistance from someone experienced in navigating the nuanced DUI diversion system. Get in touch with an Oregon DUI defense attorney today to explore the legal strategies that might be best for you.