Penalties for Drunk Driving

Posted on June 15, 2022Comments Off on Penalties for Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is no joke in Deschutes County and the State of Oregon. Engaging in drunk driving can get you seriously penalized with a long-term impact. Oregon officially describes drunk driving as driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII).

You are guilty of DUII if you drive a vehicle while having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% and higher. Motorists can also get a DUII conviction if a chemical test proves their BAC is above the legal limit within two hours after driving. The law stipulates that having such a level of BAC can have an adverse consequence on a motorist’s physical or mental state.

Oregon DUII laws are strict and do not offer offenders the chance to get a plea bargain. Therefore, drunk drivers do not have the privilege to plead not guilty or no contest, unlike in most states. Defenders found guilty will face punishments accordingly. Repeat offenders of DUII usually have it worse as they will face more punishment than first-time offenders. 

If you get a DUII conviction due to drunk driving in Deschutes County, you can expect the following punishments:

  • Community Service: The court can order community service as a minimal punishment for DUII offenders. Offenders will carry out community service work for the number of hours ordered by the judge.
  • Fines: A drunk driving conviction can cost you financially. The court may penalize you by imposing fines of no less than $1000. Some aggravations can cost you more, like having an underage passenger at the time of the offense or if you have prior DUII convictions. 
  • Imprisonment: This may be the most severe punishment for getting a DUII in Deschutes County. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, a drunk driving offense can result in a jail term. The duration of the jail sentence depends on how fatal the incident is. 
  • Driver’s License Suspension: Getting a DUII can get your license suspended. The Department of Transportation is responsible for ensuring that offenders comply with this. Note that permanent suspension of a license is possible for serious offenses. 
  • Ignition Interlock Device: The Department of Transportation can order the installation of an ignition interlock device in the vehicle of the offender. The essence of this device is to prevent inebriated motorists from the roads. 

Penalties for a First DUII Offense

Getting a first DUII conviction comes with little penalties compared to repeat offenses. A first-time offender can expect a jail term with a minimum of two days to a maximum of a year. Alternatively, the court can order community service of up to 80 hours. 

An offender may also pay a minimum fine of $1000 which will increase to $2000 if the blood alcohol content was .15% or more when the incident occurred. Driving a vehicle that has a minor passenger while intoxicated is punishable by a $10,000 fine. 

Convicted offenders will also get a license suspension of a year, which can be followed by a year of using the ignition interlock device. The judge has the discretion to order more punishment upon considering aggravating factors. Conviction of a first-time drunk driving offense in Deschutes County is a misdemeanor. 

If eligible, offenders may complete the DUII Diversion Program and avoid getting a criminal conviction on their records. The program lasts for a year and participants must steer clear of intoxicants.

Penalties for a Second DUII Offense

If you get your second drunk driving conviction in Deschutes County, Oregon Vehicle Code imposes stricter penalties than a first offense. Offenders can face a jail term between two days to a year or get community service amounting to 80 hours. While the minimum fine you may get is $1500, the judge has the discretion to increase it. If the defendant’s blood alcohol content is .15% or more, it will attract a minimum fine of $2000. 

The Department of Transportation (DOT) can also suspend the driving privileges of second-time offenders for three years and require the use of the ignition interlock device for a two-year period.

Penalties for a Third DUII Offense

Drunk driving offenders that pick up a third conviction within ten years of their previous two convictions can be a lot of trouble. The law does not hold back on punishing such offenders. A third DUII conviction is a Class C felony in the state. 

If you are found culpable of this, the court can sentence you to jail for up to five years, with a mandatory minimum of 90 days. You can also get a minimum fine of $2000 which will spike up to $10,000 if there was a child passenger during the incident. 

Oregon Department of Transportation can permanently suspend your driver’s license for a third DUII offense. However, you may file a petition in court to get your license back after ten years. If the DOT reinstates your driving privileges, they can impose the use of the ignition interlock device for two to five years. 

Penalties for Refusing a Chemical Test

In Deschutes County, motorists cannot refuse a chemical test to check the alcohol content level in their blood. Oregon Statues impose an implied consent for such tests on all motorists, making it an offense if they are not compliant with the law. Refusal to take the test will result in the suspension of driving privileges. 

Offenders will bag a year of suspension for a first offense of refusal to take the test. Subsequent refusal incidents will cost them three years of suspension of driving privileges in the state.

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