People who knowingly get behind the wheel when they may be intoxicated are often unaware that a DWI stop can lead to other criminal charges. A Portland man was recently arrested when his bumper sticker caught the eye of a sheriff’s deputy. Unfortunately, the DWI stop led to several additional criminal charges beyond a simple DWI.

The defendant’s alleged behavior

At about 11 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2021, a Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy noticed a car bearing a bumper sticker that said “Not drunk, avoiding potholes.” The car appeared to be approaching the deputy’s vehicle at a high rate of speed, and the deputy pulled aside to observe the driver’s behavior.

The suspect driver passed the deputy at speeds clocked at between 80 and 90 mph. The deputy signaled the driver to pull over, but according to the deputy, the driver did not respond. Instead, the driver allowed his car to roll slowly backwards until it struck the deputy’s vehicle. The deputy stated that he could smell alcohol in the car, and he also alleged that he saw a can of beer in the vehicle’s cup holder. When the deputy asked the man why he allowed his car to strike the police vehicle, the man allegedly said “I didn’t known that happened.”

The driver told the deputy that he was carrying a concealed weapon: a loaded Glock pistol. When the deputy confiscated the pistol, he allegedly saw that it did not have a serial number. The deputy searched the suspect’s vehicle, and he found multiple empty beer cans and a baggie of cocaine in the console. A check of police records disclosed that the suspect was a convicted felon and that he was driving on a suspended license. He was given a field sobriety test, and his Blood Alcohol Content registered at 0.22%, more than twice the legal limit. The suspect was then arrested and incarcerated in the Clackamas County Jail. He has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, being a felon in possession of a weapon and possession of cocaine.

What happens now?

The suspect in this case is facing serious criminal charges. If convicted he could face several years of incarceration, a substantial fine and loss or severe restriction of his driving privileges. Anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can evaluate the evidence, suggest helpful legal defenses and, if appropriate, assist in negotiating an acceptable plea agreement.