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Portland Criminal Law Blog

Drunk driving charges as an older adult

Sometimes, people think of teenagers or young adults when they hear about drunk driving. From crazy frat parties to peer pressure among high schoolers, there are many reasons why some people associate drunk driving with young drivers. With that being said, it is crucial to keep in mind that drivers of any age may be charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. For example, an older adult may be charged with DUI, and there are a number of unique considerations for people who are going through this.

As an older adult, you may have many different challenges in front of you and stressors to work through. Perhaps you are in the middle of a tough divorce, or maybe you have anxiety over retirement. Or, maybe you are trying to get back into the workforce after a number of years. Either way, our law office realizes that drunk driving charges can make life even harder, and it is vital for you to approach your case correctly. There are many different factors that may need to be taken into consideration, including those which are related to an older age. Some of these factors could impact your ability to secure a favorable end result in court.

Wrongfully accused? You might be able to file an appeal.

Most people understand there are consequences for their actions. You probably know that if you break the law, you will likely have penalties.

However, do you ever think about what happens when someone suffers a penalty for an action they did not take? And whether there should be penalties for a punishment which was unmerited?

Is there any benefit to accepting a plea deal?

If you have been convicted of a crime in Oregon and are facing serious charges that could potentially result in your imprisonment for a significant length of time, you may be trying to do anything you can to lessen the consequences you are facing. In your efforts to put yourself in the best possible position, you have been looking into the possibility of accepting a plea bargain. 

Plea deals are surrounded by controversy but can provide you with valuable benefits if you are allowed the chance to accept such an agreement. Often, accepting a plea deal means you are agreeing to plead guilty to a portion of the charges you are facing under the agreement that prosecutors will lessen or drop other charges. A successful outcome may mean you will not face as serious of consequences or as long of a prison sentence in exchange for accepting the deal. 

Oregon bill seeks to lower DUII limit

People in Oregon know that the state takes a pretty hard stance against drivers who are arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants. While it is important to protect people from unnecessary accidents, it is equally important to respect and protect the rights of drivers. Interestingly, even though the law states that a person can be deemed legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, a driver in Oregon may actually be charged with a DUII offense if their BAC exceeds even only 0.05 percent.

This year started off with Utah being the first state in the country to officially lower its drunk driving threshold from 0.08 to 0.05 percent in all cases. Now, Oregon Live reports that the same change is being sought in Oregon.

Should you trust a designated driver?

If you are like a number of other Oregon citizens, you may unwind by going out for drinks with friends or attending a party. You may even plan ahead by designating a driver to stay sober throughout the evening, so that he or she may drive the others safely home. Yet, even though you may trust that the designated driver is sober and able to drive safe, you might be mistaken. A report released in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that up to 40 percent of designated drivers have consumed alcohol during the evening and may not be as sober as you think.

Researchers in the study looked at bar patrons over a period of three months. They targeted designated drivers and gave them a breath test to determine the drivers’ blood alcohol content level. Surprisingly, 40 percent of designated drivers had consumed alcohol to some degree and 18 percent had a BAC level of 0.05 percent or higher. Although the legal limit in most U.S. states is 0.08 percent, a 0.05 percent BAC can cause serious driving impairments.

Driving while slightly impaired

When many people think about alcohol and driving, they may envision someone who is over the legal limit and has consumed a number of drinks. However, it is important to keep in mind that many people drive while they are slightly impaired. Even though they may not be excessively over the legal limit, there are a number of potential risks associated with this behavior. From unexpected drunk driving charges to other consequences, there are many reasons why driving after only having one or two drinks can be concerning as well.

People may find themselves behind the wheel while they are minimally impaired for a number of reasons. For example, someone may be enjoying a drink after work and this may be interrupted by an unexpected responsibility, such as picking up a friend or family member who needs a ride. Or, someone may have a beer during their lunch break, and they may drive back to work believing that they are not impaired at all and that doing so is completely responsible.

How is a drunk driving conviction treated in Oregon?

Oregon State is one that cracks down hard on people who are convicted of driving while under the influence. Today, David J. Celuch takes a look at the different ways that having a DUI conviction could impact your life in both the short and long term.

Like many states, there are tiers that deal with the level of severity of a conviction, along with how many convictions a person has had in the past. For first-time offenders, the penalty can still be harsh as you will still have to pay any fines or fees associated with the incident. However, you may be able to apply for a diversion program. If you successfully complete it, you will be able to have the charges dropped. If you are unsuccessful, however, the sentencing will proceed.

The lifelong cost of a conviction

A criminal conviction comes with a higher cost than many people realize. There are the obvious penalties like potential prison time and hefty fines.

Convictions also carry a stigma that can last years or even your entire lifetime. Here are a few effects of that extra cost:

What are common mistakes you should avoid during an appeal?

If you want to appeal your conviction, you will need the right lawyer. In fact, you might not realize that it could be a mistake to hire your original trial lawyer for an appeals case. These cases require a different approach to the court system. You will need a lawyer trained in this specific area if you want to improve your chances to win an appeal.

Oregon man receives 10-year reduction on original sentence

When someone receives a criminal conviction in Oregon, the sentence originally ordered by the judge is not necessarily the number of years that the defendant will serve in prison. There are a number of factors that may affect the outcome in the meantime, including situations that allow the defendant to seek post-conviction relief. For example, the court system may allow a defendant to seek relief when there is relevant evidence that the court did not include during the original trial.

According to the Seattle Times, an Oregon resident sought post-conviction relief through a request for a retrial after he was found guilty for rape in 2012. His original sentence was for 25 years in prison. However, there may have been evidence which could have changed the outcome of his trial. A fact-finding hearing was ordered by the Oregon Supreme Court, which would bring the evidence before a judge to determine whether it would make a difference in the case.

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