By WILLIAM FRANCIS
The experience is humiliating, terrifying and unforgettable.
When you were arrested or cited for DUI, you realized immediately that you could be sentenced to time in jail, ordered to pay stiff fines and surrender your driver's license. Then there was more fear and worry. You could lose your job. You could lose your right to travel. You could lose your good reputation.
It's natural to want to turn back the clock. It's common to be angry. It's easy to become confused, frustrated and scared.
If you're in this situation, talk with an attorney who specializes in DUI and other major traffic crimes. A DUI expert can help you understand what's going on.
A competent DUI attorney can look at the facts of your case and see defenses where you thought there were none. For example, a DUI defense attorney will want to know if the police made a lawful stop, or if the police made contact with you improperly or unlawfully.
A police officer may have asked questions and requested that you submit to field sobriety tests. These tests are extremely unreliable and are designed to make you look guilty of DUI.
You may have been asked to blow into a machine. You should know that breath test results can be challenged in court. In Oregon, the state's breath testing machine is the "Intoxilizer 8000." This machine is not the most reliable indicator of a person's blood alcohol content -- and juries are not required to accept the results from this device.
By WILLIAM FRANCIS
If you have been arrested or cited for DUI, here’s what to do next.
First, find out if you still have time to file a request for a hearing on any proposed DMV license suspension.
To challenge a proposed suspension, you have to file a hearing request within 10 days of a DUI arrest or citation. There are no exceptions to this filing deadline. You can call the Francis Law Office for help with your hearing request.
If a police officer gave you paperwork telling you that your license is suspended, you probably should challenge the suspension. This does not commit you to any particular course of action, but it preserves your options.
Even if you don’t request a DMV hearing, you will have to appear in court on the DUI charge. This is a criminal matter, and it’s separate from the DMV case.
A judge will encourage you to enter a plea of not guilty at your first appearance. This is because the judge will want you to talk to an attorney before making any decisions.
Oregon is particularly strict in its DUI laws. Drivers and DUI attorneys from other states frequently comment that Oregon has some of the toughest DUI laws anywhere.
Diversion may be the best move for some persons. It may be the worst move for others. For example, Diversion may not be a good idea for someone with a professional license or a security clearance. It may not be the best option for a person who wants to keep a job, rent a car or travel outside of the United States. Diversion is always the worst choice when you compare it to having a case dismissed.
If diversion is offered, you generally have 30 days from your first court appearance to decide on whether or not you want to enter the program. This allows time to confer with an Attorney, review your police reports and consider your options.
Despite what some people say, you can’t get a DUI diversion order or a DUI conviction off your record. The record of your arrest – and your guilty plea – will be public forever unless your case is dismissed or you are acquitted after a trial. There is no expungement process for a DUI in Oregon.