Frequently asked DUII questions (Part 3)

What if I get convicted of a Felony DUII? Can I still vote with this conviction?

If you either lose at trial or plead guilty to a felony DUII, you might be wondering how this could affect your right to vote. In some states, your right to vote could be effected if you have a felony conviction. However, in Oregon, the law allows people who have felony convictions to still vote in elections. You’d be allowed to vote as long as you are out of jail, or prison. If you are serving time in a jail or prison, with a felony conviction, you cannot vote during that time.

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What is the difference between a violation and a crime?

A violation is probably something most folks have dealt with. Violations of the law include speeding tickets, parking tickets, and other minor traffic violations. Violations are not thought of as “crimes,” because their maximum penalty is typically just a fine. If you are cited for a violation, you do not have to worry about jail time or probation. All violations, however, allow people to contest them at a court trial. A court trial is a trial that a Judge decides the issues in the case—not a jury. If you are facing a violation, you don’t have the right to have a lawyer appointed by the state to help you with your case, but you can always hire a private attorney to help you with your case.

A crime is a serious law violation that has potential jail and/or probation time on the line. A crime can be a misdemeanor or a more serious crime—a felony. Typical crimes include DUIIs, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment, and Assault. If you are charged with a crime—you must consider the potential to serve jail time and the high likelihood you will be put on a period of probation. You also need to address a possible license suspension in addition to a criminal record if you plead guilty to the crime or lose at trial. If you are charged with a crime—you have the right to have a lawyer (public defender) appointed by the state to help you with your case if you financially qualify, or you can hire a private attorney to help you with your case. You also have the right to have a jury trial or a court trial.

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What happens if I get arrested for a DUII and I am under 21?

Under the Implied Consent law for failing a breath or blood test: For people 21 or older, if you are arrested for a DUII and you take a breath test showing your blood alcohol to be below .08%, you will not be looking at an Implied Consent license suspension from the DMV. However, if you are under 21 you will be suspended by the DMV under the Implied Consent law if your breath test shows any amount of alcohol in your system (even as low as .01%).

Under the criminal law: There is no age-based difference in the way Oregon law defines a DUI. This means that the minimum blood alcohol content, a person’s Diversion eligibility and a person’s minimum sentencing consequences if convicted of a DUI are the same regardless of the age of the person. With that said, some counties may treat those under 18 as juveniles rather than adults; if so, you may be able to escape some of the minimum sentencing requirements.

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What is the difference between bench and formal probation?

For the majority of people who are convicted of a crime, they will be looking at a period of probation. You can think of probation as a form of monitoring. For both types of probation, the general conditions of probation apply. Those can be found at: (link)

Probation is usually in in 2 different forms—bench and formal. The first method of supervision is bench probation. With bench probation, you are monitored by the court—typically the Judge who sentences you will be your monitoring Judge. The general conditions of Probation apply, along with whatever conditions the Judge tells you when you are in court at sentencing. You typically don’t have to check in with anyone or report to someone at specific times

Formal probation is a higher level of supervision than bench probation. With formal probation, you will have a probation officer who works for the county monitor your probation and you will work with that officer to make sure you are meeting probation requirements. The probation officer will be your point person for any questions or issues you have with probation. The general conditions of probation apply to formal probation as well as any other conditions your probation officer imposes, and what other conditions your sentencing Judge recommended be imposed.

Some counties also have Enhanced Bench Probation—you can think of this probation as a mix of both formal and bench probation. Typically with Enhanced Bench Probation, you will not have a probation officer—but you will have more requirements to abide by than most folks on bench probation. You typically see this form of probation when you are convicted of a DUII—the conditions typically impose strict requirements regarding alcohol/drug consumption and alcohol/drug treatment.

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What if I finish all of my DUII diversion requirements in less than a year? Can my diversion period be shortened?

Unfortunately, no. Even if you finish alcohol/drug treatment well before the year of diversion is over, and meet and fulfill all of the other requirements, by law, the diversion period must last a year. A Judge has no power to shorten the period you are in diversion and your lawyer cannot argue for it either. The law is clear—the period your DUII is in diversion must be a year, and you must abide by the diversion requirements for the entire year.

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