Multiple Charges: A DUII and an Accident That Caused An Injury To Another Person or Damage To Property
Interviewer: What happens in the case of a DUII where someone is harmed or injured as a result of the DUII?
John Reade: If someone other than the driver is injured as a result of a driving under the influence the driver is usually charged with multiple additional crimes. Typically, that would include assault in the fourth degree, which is physically injuring someone else, or a more serious assault, such as assault in the third degree. If their driving was very bad and there were passengers in the car, they may be charged with reckless driving or recklessly endangering another person. In addition, if their driving was bad and property was damage the person is usually also charged with criminal mischief (i.e. damaging property).
Typically when there is an accident that involves an injury to someone other than the driver accused of driving under the influence, there are usually multiple charges that come out of that incident, as opposed to just a charge of driving under the influence.
Oregon Drivers less than 21 Years of Age Are Not Permitted to Drive with Alcohol in Their Systems
Interviewer: What rules apply to minors that are driving?
John Reade: A minor is not allowed to have any alcohol in their system while they are driving; that would be anyone under the age of 21 years old in Oregon.
Presumption of Being under the Influence: The Legal Limit in Oregon Is .08%
Interviewer: What is the legal limit in Oregon?
John Reade: The legal limit in Oregon is .08%. What that means is, if a person blows .08% or higher, the prosecutor can get a jury instruction that basically tells the jury if the person blew .08% or higher on a breath test, you can presume that the person was under the influence based upon the breath test result.
A Breath Test Result below the Legal Limit May Still Result in a DUII Charge
Interviewer: What if someone had a breath test less than .08%, could they still be arrested and charged?
John Reade: A person still could be arrested and charged with driving under the influence, even though the breath test result was less than .08%. A prosecutor will typically argue, even though the breath test was lower .08%, everything else that the officer observed indicated that the person was under the influence (i.e. that the person’s mental and/or physical faculties were affected a noticeable or perceptible degree).
The other indicators would typically be: Their speech was slurred, their eyes were watery and their breath smelled of alcohol, and they had balance problems, etc.
About 25% of DUII Arrests Are Attributed to Drugs as Opposed to Alcohol
Interviewer: What percentage of DUII cases are alcohol related, as opposed to illegal drugs or medications?
John Reade: I would say about 75% alcohol, and about 25% other substances, such as prescription or non-prescription medication or drugs.
Interviewer: Do people realize that they could be prosecuted for driving under the influence prescription or legal drugs?
John Reade: I think most people are under the impression that as long as they are taking a prescription medication, they would not be driving under the influence or could not be charged with driving under the influence, but that is not accurate.
Interviewer: Are penalties harsher for a DUII that involves medications or drugs? Do the penalties differ?
John Reade: No, the penalties are substantially the same.
An Individual with Drug-Related DUII Charge May Also Be Eligible for a Diversion Program
Interviewer: Are there any diversion program or alternatives programs available to people, rather than jail?
John Reade: A person charged with driving under the influence involving a drug(s) can elect a driving under the influence diversion program, if they are eligible. A driving under the influence diversion may be an alternative to either pleading guilty and being sentenced, or taking the driving under the influence charge to trial before a judge or a jury.