If you’ve recently been arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) in Oregon, it’s important to know the difference between blood alcohol content (BAC) tests and your rights when they are used to determine your BAC levels. Oregon’s implied consent law states that any person operating a motor vehicle on a highway or premises open to the public is deemed to have given consent to a chemical BAC test. An officer must have reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving under the influence of intoxicants and have the person under arrest in order to request a chemical test.
Different Chemical Tests for Determining BAC
Oregon’s “implied consent law” means that just be the act of driving, you automatically agree to take a breath test if you are arrested by a police officer on probable cause for DUII.
A breath test estimates your blood alcohol level and the results determine where you were driving under the influence of intoxicants. If your blood alcohol level is .08 or higher, you will fail the breath test. Persons under 21 years old will be arrested if the results show any alcohol in their system, as Oregon has a zero-tolerance policy for minors. Commercial truck drivers fail the test if the result is .04 or higher.
Blood tests are typically administered if the person is receiving medical care in a health care facility after a motor vehicle accident. You do not have to take a blood test unless you have been in an accident and need medical attention. The officer who arrests you may ask you for a blood test while you receive care. If you’re unconscious; however, the officer can order a blood test without asking you first.
An officer will request a urine test if they believe there are reasonable grounds to arrest the person for being under the influence of cannabis, a controlled substance, and/or an inhalant. If the person accused of the DUII completed a breath test and the result is a BAC of less than .08% or if the person was involved in an accident involving injury or property damage, an officer may also request a urine test. Offers requesting urine tests must be certified in recognition of drug-impaired driving and the person asked to give a urine sample must be given privacy to do so.
Consequences of Refusing a BAC Test
The arresting officer must advise the driver of their rights and the consequences of failing or refusing a chemical test. Consequences include driver’s license suspension, traffic violation fines and the evidence of refusal being used against you in the criminal case.
The Oregon DMV will suspend your driving privileges for one year for refusing a breath, blood or urine test. This suspension increases to three years if you are presenting participating in a DUII diversion program. It also increases to three years if the arrest occurs within five years of a previous DUII conviction, participation in an alcohol/drug rehabilitation program or you had your driving privileges suspended under the implied consent law previously.
If you refuse to take a urine test, a suspension is consecutive with any other suspensions imposed under the implied consent laws. No suspension will be imposed if you refuse to provide a urine sample and can provide documentation from a physician showing that a medical condition makes it impossible for you to provide a sample.
Refusing to take a chemical test results in the arresting officer taking your license and issuing you a temporary 30-day driving permit. Your driver’s license will be automatically suspended 30 days after the refusal. You may apply for a “hardship permit” after completing a waiting period of 90 days to three years, depending on circumstances. This permit would allow you to drive to work, medical appointments and drug/alcohol treatment.
Should You Submit to BAC Tests for DUII?
Oregon law requires officers to provide drivers with a “reasonable opportunity” to speak with a DUI lawyer before deciding whether to take a chemical test or to refuse a test. There are also circumstances that allow an officer to obtain a chemical test without consent. If you are unconscious and the officer has probable cause to believe you were under the influence of intoxicants and getting a search warrant from a judge would allow the officer to administer a chemical test without your consent.
You have the right to refuse a test, but the penalties for refusal may be harsher than if you failed a test. If you have been arrested for a DUII in Oregon, get in touch with a criminal defense attorney who specialized in DUII law to assist with your case. Contact Nelson Law for a consultation today and work with an aggressive and affordable DUII lawyer in Bend, Oregon.