If you have been arrested for DUI,
you don't just have options.
You have rights. And you have defenses.
If you're looking for a DUI defense attorney, chances are you or someone you care for has just been through an ordeal. It's understandable if you're embarrassed, angry or confused.
Take heart. Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. Don't give up.
This information has been posted to help you understand what you need to do next.
Take your time. Do not enter DUI diversion at your first court appearance.
You may have heard that you will be eligible for "diversion" if this is your first DUI offense. At your first court appearance, a judge may tell you that you have the "opportunity" to enter diversion, and that your case will be dismissed if you complete the diversion program. All you will have to do to get into diversion is plead guilty to the crime of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant.
You may be willing at this point to say you're guilty so that you can get into diversion, thinking this will let you "just get it over with." Unfortunately, there's no easy way out. Your guilty plea and your entry into diversion will only start a new round of problems.
Despite what you may have been told, diversion will not take your DUI off of your criminal record or your driving record. Although your case will be dismissed at the end of a year if you successfully complete diversion, the record of your arrest, your guilty plea and your entry into the diversion program will stay on your criminal record forever. Many employers, professional licensing authorities and the military will consider your diversion to be a conviction. Your decision to enter diversion will follow you for the rest of your life.
There are alternatives to DUI diversion.
Although diversion or a guilty plea are options, they aren't the first options you should consider. Keep in mind, the law allows you at least 30 days from your first court appearance to make up your mind about what you will do about the charge that the Government has filed against you.
Before you plead guilty or agree to enter diversion, talk to an attorney. Any judge will tell you that an attorney has the skills, knowledge and experience to help you decide on the best course of action for you. Any judge will tell you that an attorney may be able to tell you about legal defenses and problems with the Government's case of which you would probably not be aware. There is no danger of a more severe punishment if you tell a judge that you need time to talk with a lawyer.
And, no matter how bad the facts look to you at this point, your case could be defensible if you have an attorney with the qualifications to look carefully at police reports and videos, to file motions and to cross-examine the police officer who investigated you.
Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription medications are expensive, permanent and severe.
If you have been arrested or the police have cited you for the crime of DUI, there will be costly, harsh and long-lasting consequences if you're convicted. If you're convicted of DUI in Oregon, you will be sentenced to jail time. The court will order you to pay a fine and you will be placed on probation. Professional licensing agencies, the military and employers may deny or terminate jobs. Your insurance company will certainly increase the premiums you will have to pay. You may be denied entry into foreign countries, including Canada. There are likely to be other, collateral consequences, such as revocation of security clearances and reductions in credit ratings. If you are convicted of DUII, the court will suspend your driver’s license for at least a year. Even if you enter diversion, you will have a criminal record forever.
The DMV can suspend your driver's license and make you wait for a hardship permit.
If you gave the police a breath sample, and their machine estimated your blood alcohol content to be above .08 percent, you were probably given a notice that the Oregon DMV will be suspending your license for at least 90 days. If you refused to submit to a request that you give the police a sample of your breath, blood or urine, you were probably given a notice that your license will be suspended for at least a year. Depending on your circumstances, the suspension could be for a longer period of time, from three years to life. You will not be eligible for a hardship permit until the end of a waiting period.
Unless you request a DMV "implied consent" hearing within 10 days of your arrest or citation for DUII, you will lose your right to challenge the proposed driver's license suspension. If you call this law office, an attorney will help you file the correct paperwork to ensure not only that a hearing is scheduled but also that the police produce all of their evidence at your hearing. There is no cost or obligation for this service.
The DMV license suspension process is separate from and unrelated to any proceedings filed in Circuit Court. The DMV proceeding and the court case are two distinct and different matters.
You may have given the police evidence that the prosecutor will use against you.
If a police officer stopped you and requested that you submit to an eye test, or asked you to walk an imaginary line or stand on one foot, your performance on these tests will almost certainly be used against you, not only at a hearing to suspend your driver's license, but also in court, where a prosecutor will try to have you convicted of a crime.
If you were asked to blow into a machine, the result of a breath test will be used as evidence of your guilt. If you refused to give a breath sample, you can be charged with an additional, separate offense. Even if your breath sample showed an estimated blood-alcohol level of less than .08 percent, the Government will try to use this evidence to convict you.
If you were asked to provide a blood or urine sample, it is highly probable that you are being charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance or a prescription medication. In a case involving controlled substances or prescription medications, the Government will likely call a laboratory scientist to prove its case.
Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with other crimes as well, such as Assault, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment or Criminal Mischief.
It may be possible to have your DUI charge dismissed before your case goes to trial.
You need to remember that you have rights, and you have defenses. For example, a defendant has the right to demand that criminal charges be dismissed if evidence was unlawfully obtained.
The courts will order that a case be dismissed if the stop of a vehicle by the police violated a defendant's constitutional rights to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. Other, common reasons for dismissal arise from the failure of a police officer to stop asking questions when a citizen invokes the right to speak with an attorney. The police may have failed to follow national standards in administering field sobriety tests. A chemical test may be ruled inadmissible because of a problem with laboratory equipment or procedures.
In any investigation, police will make mistakes. A competent and diligent defense attorney will require the prosecutor to produce all of the Government's proof, and will challenge the Government's case in court if there is a fight over any point of fact or law.
A defense attorney also can challenge a proposed DMV license suspension. At an "implied consent" hearing a defense attorney will have the chance to question police officers under oath, shortly after an arrest. If there’s a police video, it can be subpoenaed so that you and your attorney can review it at your implied consent hearing.
An experienced and highly-trained DUII specialist will know how – and when – to make the legal motions that force the district attorney to reveal the flaws in the Government's case and may be able to persuade the prosecutor or a judge that the case should be dismissed.
Choose an attorney who is in demand.
Specialized DUII lawyers take cases to trial statewide. Not every community has an established, private law firm with an attorney available who has the knowledge, skills and experience to take a DUII case to trial before a jury. William Francis regularly represents clients from Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, Roseburg and Bend.
Recently, William Francis has represented clients at hearings and in trials in Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Douglas, Deschutes, Curry, Coos and Lane Counties.
You need a DUI specialist.
Find an attorney who specializes in representing persons who are accused by police, prosecutors and Oregon administrative agencies of major offenses.
William Francis has been a trial lawyer since 1994. He has represented hundreds of clients charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses. He has extensive education, skills and experience in defending persons accused of major traffic crimes, including driving under the influence of a prescription medication, a controlled substance or alcohol (DUI or DUII).
In March 2014, William Francis completed an advanced legal education program, Mastering Scientific Evidence, sponsored by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, convening in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense, convening at Harvard Law School, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He completed police certification training advanced in drug recognition (DRE) protocols in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2013, and he completed specialized police training in DUI – DUII Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing in Los Angeles, California, in 2011.
You need a fighter.
While a lawyer can't guarantee success in every case, a competent criminal defense attorney will be able to promise that, by the time a case is over, the prosecutor and the police will know they've been in a fight.
Click here to look at a partial list of recent DUII cases where the clients of this law firm have prevailed.
You need help now.
This law firm offers free consultations
and immediate legal aid throughout Southern Oregon. When you call this office, someone -- a real person -- will take your call. Immediately. Your questions will be answered courteously and promptly. You will be connected to an attorney without delay.
Call this office for immediate assistance in Medford and all of Southern Oregon, including Ashland, Gold Beach, Grants Pass, Roseburg and Klamath Falls.
Your defense attorney will demand to see the evidence.
Your defense attorney will demand that the Government's attorneys provide:
• Information on any witness the Government plans to call to testify against you, and any evidence the witness will offer.
• Records that could prove that the equipment used for any forensic test was not functioning properly, or that the person conducting the test was not properly certified.
• Any evidence in the Government’s possession that would show that the police made mistakes and that you cannot be found guilty.