Overindulgence is a common regret after the holiday season; however, some people might be facing serious consequences. Drinking "a few too many," and driving often leads to legal issues. As discussed in our previous blog, DUI/DUII enforcement was stepped up in Oregon through the end of the New Year. You may have close friends or family members who were pulled over by law enforcement officers during over the past few weeks. If they were drinking, then they may have been arrested and charged with a DUI/DUII.
Penalties might surprise you
If a person has never been charged with a DUI before then it will be considered a first-offense. For a first-offense DUI conviction, someone may face both administrative and criminal penalties. Administrative penalties can include:
- Driver's license suspension for one year
- Ignition interlock device required on the vehicle for one year
- Paying for installation of the ignition interlock device
In addition to these administrative penalties, the driver may also face criminal penalties, including:
- Up to one year in jail, or up to 250 hours of community service
- Expensive fines and conviction fees
- Substance abuse treatment programs, including program fees
How are the penalties decided?
Jail time, community service and fees all depend upon multiple factors, and are ultimately decided by a judge. A judge may decide lighter or more severe penalties, depending upon the convicted person's criminal record and courtroom defense. The convicted driver can face thousands of dollars in fees depending upon the their BAC at the time of the arrest. The variety of possible outcomes of a DUI charge dictates the importance of hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney.
An attorney may contest evidence against the defendant or fight for an alternative option, such as Oregon's DUII diversion program. An experienced attorney will know the best legal strategy for the circumstances.
After understanding the consequences of a first-offense DUI, you may choose to change your New Year's resolution. Put a stop to drinking and driving this New Year.