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DUII/DWI Defense

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Experienced DUII/DWI Lawyer in Southern Oregon

Matt is an experienced DUII/DWI defense lawyer, representing clients facing criminal charges for driving under the influence of intoxicants throughout Southern Oregon. 

Whether you are facing a first-time DUII charge, have one or more prior misdemeanor drunk-driving convictions, or have been charged with a DUII crime resulting in injury, felony DUII, or manslaughter, your case deserves to be thoroughly defended through attention to detail, creative critical thinking, and close client collaboration.

Matt has tried and won numerous DUII trials in Southern Oregon including cases where his clients have had blood alcohol contents in excess of the legal limit of 0.08%.  His experience includes trying alcohol and controlled substance DUIIs.  Matt is familiar with the DUII and drug recognition expert training manuals that law enforcement will rely on as the State of Oregon seeks to convict you of DUII, and he will use this knowledge to uncover flaws in the State’s case.  

Our Services

  • Providing counsel to individuals under criminal investigation including counsel on the advisability of participating in standardized field sobriety tests and the “breath test”
  • Attending all court appearances
  • Attending all administrative proceedings relating to the suspension or revocation of an individuals’ driving privileges
  • Drafting, filing, and arguing pre-trial motions with the court
  • Negotiating plea arrangements with the district attorneys
  • Trial advocacy

Five Frequently Asked Questions

What is the "legal alcohol limit" in Oregon?

In Oregon, you are presumed to be impaired if your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or above.  However, you may be charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants even if your blood alcohol content is lower.  The State can prosecute you for DUII/DWI if there is probable cause to believe you were driving impaired of a drug or alcohol.  If you are arrested for DUII/DWI it is critical that you contact an experienced attorney like Matt that can help you navigate the complexities of your case – especially if you are facing a complex DUII/DUI involving controlled substances or a combination of controlled substances and alcohol.

How long will my license be suspended if I am convicted of a DUII in Oregon?

When an individual is charged with a DUII/DWI charge, he or she might be looking at multiple license suspensions so the answer to this question is complex. 

Administrative License Suspension. Under Oregon’s Implied Consent Statutes, when a person is arrested for DUII/DWI, the reality is, he or she could first have his or her license administratively suspended if he or she blows into the Intoxilyzer 8000 (the breath test machine at the police station or sobering center) and his or her blood alcohol content is revealed to be over 0.08%.  This administrative license suspension is typically only for 90 days.  If a person refuses to submit a breath sample on the Intoxilyzer 8000, his or her license will be administratively suspended for one year.  A person facing a DUII/DWI charge can challenge all administrative license suspensions, but the timeline for doing so is extremely short: 10 days from the date of arrest.

Criminal License Suspension.  Separately, if a person is convicted of the crime of DUII/DWI, his or her driver’s license will be criminally suspended or revoked by the sentencing judge.  This is a separate license suspension.  Everyone convicted of an Oregon DUII faces a license suspension. The criminal suspension periods vary based on the number the the accused’s prior offenses:

  • First Offense: One year suspension.
  • Second Offense: Three year suspension.
  • Third Offense: Permanent revocation with the potential to petition the court to restore driving privileges after ten years.

It is critical that you contact strong DUII/DWI defense attorney like Matt a soon as possible after you are arrested for DUII/DUI as your license is likely on the line.

What are the penalties for an Oregon DUII/DWI conviction?

Each Southern Oregon county is different how it “typically” sentences a person convicted of DUII/DWI.  In Jackson County, for example, the Jackson County District Attorney regularly seeks a ten day jail sentence for first-time offenders when diversion is not available. An experienced Southern Oregon lawyer will know what the standard sentence is in each county.   

Statutorily, there are mandatory minimum jail sentences and fines for DUII convictions in Oregon, which is why it is important to partner with a skilled defense attorney from the start of your case. The penalties increase depending on the number of prior convictions the offender has and how close in time the convictions occurred and include:

  • First Offense: 48 hours (or 80 of hours community service) to one year of jail time, and fines of $1,000 ($2,000 if BAC is .15% or more) to $6,250.
  • Second Offense: 48 hours (or 80 hours of community service) to one year of jail time, and fines of $1,500 ($2,000 if BAC is .15% or more) to $6,250.
  • Third Offense: 90 days (if convicted of DUII at least 2 times in the past 10 years) to five years of jail time, and fines of $2,000 (if the person is not sentenced to a term of imprisonment) to $125,000 (if convicted of a class C felony).

If your Oregon DUII/DWI charge involved injuries or fatalities, the penalties will increase exorbitantly. Matt will outline your charges and provide a complete assessment of the penalties involved so we can pursue the best outcome for your unique legal circumstances.

What is diversion?

Diversion is a program that is available to first-time offenders that do not have a commercial driver’s license.  A person may take advantage of diversion multiple times in his or her life, but not more than once within a fifteen year window of time.  The program allows a person facing a DUII/DWI to avoid a criminal conviction by taking early accountability and engaging in alcohol treatment.  Because a person that successfully completes diversion avoids a criminal conviction, the person can avoid the criminal license suspension that is imposed by a criminal conviction for DUII/DWI.  There are multiple program requirements that must be met for a person to be diverted.  The requirements are summarized below:

Pay Your Court Fees. You must pay a total of $490 to the court supervising your diversion within one year.

Evaluation And Treatment. You must complete a drug and alcohol evaluation.  In Jackson County, Oregon, Jackson County Community Justice (the county’s parole and probation office) will conduct the evaluation. The evaluation costs $150 and must be paid in full before you can begin treatment. You will then be referred to a drug and alcohol treatment agency after your evaluation is complete. Your treatment will likely last a minimum of 12 weeks.  During this time, you must remain clean from alcohol and all drugs (including marijuana) during the treatment period. You must provide UA’s to the treatment provider. If you provide a positive UA you must start the treatment over. Your treatment will likely cost a minimum of $750. This will be determined by the treatment agency. It may cost you more if you are required to start over or if you complete residential treatment first. Most agencies require that you attend classes a minimum of two times per week. You may be required to pay the treatment agency in full before they verify your completion. Some treatment agencies provide a “sliding scale” payment plan based on your income. Most treatment agencies accept a monthly payment plan.  Most, if not all, treatment providers will accept health insurance.  Most people who fail diversion fail because they didn’t complete the treatment program.

Attend the Victim Impact Panel. This is a one-time appearance; it lasts two hours. It costs $50. Bring identification. No reservation is required.

Install the Ignition Interlock Device. If you want to drive during your diversion and your license is not otherwise suspended, you must install an Ignition Interlock Device. If you are caught driving without the Interlock Device, your diversion may be terminated.

Should I consent to submit to the standardized field sobriety tests?

In Oregon, and around the country, the standardized field sobriety tests (the “FSTs”) include three tests: (1) the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, (2) the “walk and turn” test, and the “one leg stand” test. In Oregon, if you have consumed alcohol or are otherwise concerned that a chemical analysis of your blood or urine would show the presence of a controlled substance, it is generally not advisable to submit to the FSTs for the following reasons:

First, the FSTs are designed to show “clues” of impairment. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing manual (the “NHTSA Manual) – the manual used to train members of law enforcement on DUII/DWI detection – the tests are not 100% accurate.  This means that, on occasion, people that perform the tests that are not impaired erroneously show indicators of impairment.  

Second, in Oregon, the consequences for refusing to submit to the FSTs are minimal.  In fact, the Oregon Court of Appeals recently held that it is improper for a person’s refusal to submit to FSTs to be used at trial to prove the person was guilty of being under the influence.

Weighing the risk of the FSTs falsely generating clues of impairment that leads to one’s arrest with the fact that refusing to submit to the FSTs all together will likely has no negative criminal consequence for a person charged with DUII/DWI, it becomes clear that no reasonable person should volunteer to participate in a testing protocol that has a lot of downside potential with no upside. 

Assert your right to remain silent; don’t take the field sobriety tests if you are at all concerned that they would show indicators of impairment.

Matthew Rowan Law
219 S. Holly St.
Medford, OR 97501