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Why obtain legal counsel after an Oregon DUII arrest?

DUII arrests in Oregon have potentially lasting consequences, which is why it may be of benefit for those facing such charges to obtain legal counsel.

Each year, numerous people across the state of Oregon are arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants, or DUII. In fact, the state's Uniform Crime Report indicates there were 8,759 arrests for this alcohol-related offense in 2014 alone. Some people fail to recognize the potential implications of such charges and forgo hiring a lawyer. However, there are several reasons why those charged with DUII may benefit from obtaining legal representation.

Familiarity with the laws

There is more to a DUII charge than just having a blood alcohol content, or BAC, level of .08 percent or more. These charges may vary based on factors including a driver's prior drunk driving record, whether he or she left the scene of an accident while under the influence and the severity of any injuries that may have resulted from an alcohol-related collision. For example, state law specifies that people be charged with a class C felony instead of a class A misdemeanor if they have been convicted of DUII on three prior occasions within a 10-year period. Attorneys are familiar with the ins and outs of these laws. Therefore, they may help ensure people are not unnecessarily charged with heightened offenses.

Questioning the evidence

Just as they do with other criminal offenses, law enforcement officers gather evidence to justify their arrests and prove that people drove under the influence. This includes making observations regarding how drivers respond to questions and perform on field sobriety tests, as well as obtaining their BAC levels. A number of factors may affect these types of evidence such as medical conditions and fatigue. Attorneys are acquainted with these factors, and therefore know how to call this evidence into question. This may help certain evidence to be overlooked, discredited or thrown out completely.

Dealing with the penalties

If convicted of DUII in Oregon, people may face a range of consequences including jail or prison time, fines, a driver's license suspension, mandatory use of an ignition interlock device, and required participation in counseling or education programs. The penalties levied may differ based on people's compliance with breath tests, the number of prior DUII convictions and whether there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of their arrests, among other factors. For instance, the Oregon Department of Transportation points out that people are subject to a 90-day driver's license suspension if they fail a breath tests. If they refuse such tests, however, they will lose their driving privileges for one year.

Unlike the average person, lawyers understand the mandatory sentencing requirements, as well as the minimums and maximums. Thus, they know when and how to negotiate what penalties people may face. In some cases, this may help obtain reduced consequences for those who are convicted of DUII.

Protecting the future

Drunk driving allegations may have lasting implications for people in Oregon, and elsewhere. Not only might they face criminal penalties, their personal and professional lives may also be affected. In order to help establish a strong defense, people who have been charged with DUII may benefit from obtaining legal counsel. An attorney may help them understand their options and ensure their rights are upheld.