Related Criminal Defense

In Oregon, there are several types of criminal traffic. Among these are Reckless Driving, Hit and Run, Driving while your License has been Suspended or Revoked (DWS or SWR), Attempting to Elude a police officer, and of course, Driving under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII/DUI). The statutes for each of these offenses list specific elements that constitute the crime.

If you are accused of one of these traffic-related crimes, the Reynolds Defense Firm can help you. We handle Oregon criminal defense cases exclusively. We have extensive experience helping clients accused of DUII, as well as and other criminal violations involving motor vehicles. If you are facing a traffic-related offense in Multnomah, Clakamas, or Washington Counties, or elsewhere in Oregon, we can help you.

Reckless Driving

Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 811.140(1) states:

A person commits the offense of Reckless Driving if the person recklessly drives a vehicle upon a highway or other premises described in this section in a manner that endangers the safety of persons or property.

Oregon law distinguishes between Careless Driving, which is a violation, and Reckless Driving, which is a criminal misdemeanor. And while the two are similar, the difference lies in the degree to which the driving manner presents a threat of danger to persons or property, and also depends upon the driver's state of mind.

Often, a charge of Reckless Driving may accompany another traffic crime, such as a DUII or Criminal Mischief charge, but it can also stand alone. This can be the case if there was actual damage to property or persons, or when accompanied by a traffic violation like speeding.

On its face, the definition of "Reckless" or "Reckless Driving" is very vague. While this vagueness allows law enforcement broad leeway to classify a particular driving incident as "reckless," it also means that people accused of Reckless Driving may put law enforcement's characterization of a particular offense as "reckless" to the test. In criminal law, the term "reckless" requires that the person charged had a particular state of mind. Generally, Oregon law considers the term "reckless" to show that a person knew that his or her conduct was unsafe, but they went ahead and did it anyway, without regard to the safety of others or of property.

If you have been accused of reckless driving under Oregon law, it is important that you get an attorney to defend you. A conviction for Reckless Driving can result in probation, jail, community service, or costly fines as well as a minimum 90-day suspension of your driver's license, which can have ramifications on your ability to carry out other important life functions such as keeping your employment.

Hit and Run

Oregon's Hit-and-Run statutes, ORS 811.700 and ORS 811-705, are titled "Failure to Perform Duties of Driver."

When a motor vehicle operator is involved in an accident, he or she is required to stop the vehicle and perform certain duties with respect to the other party or parties involved in the accident. This applies whether the accident involves two moving and occupied vehicles with only property damage, a moving vehicle and an unoccupied vehicle, a moving vehicle and stationary property, or a moving vehicle and any individual who gets injured, regardless of whether that individual is in another vehicle or is a pedestrian.

While different requirements apply to these different scenarios (for example, it may not be possible to identify or locate the owner of an unoccupied vehicle or an item of property), generally speaking, the law requires the motor vehicle operator to inform the other party or parties involved of his or her name and address, the vehicle registration number (whether or not the driver is the registrant), his or her driver's license number, and insurance information.

If the accident only involves property damage, meaning no injury is involved, failure to stop and to perform these duties constitutes a misdemeanor. Under ORS 811.700, The consequence of this type of conviction can include probation, jail, community service, fixed restitution and a license suspension of at least 90-day. Under ORS 811.705, if there is a Hit and Run where someone was hurt, and the person who failed to stop knew or should have known of this injury, there are additional requirements. Specifically, you must render whatever reasonable assistance you can to any injured party, and you must wait for law enforcement to arrive at the scene and gather what information they require (with exceptions for drivers who are seriously injured, or for drivers rendering assistance to injured parties, such as conveying them to a hospital, so long as that driver informs law enforcement). A failure to Perform the Duties of a Driver, or Hit-and-Run, involving bodily injury constitutes a serious felony, with consequences that may include probation or post-prison supervision, jail or prison, depending upon the severity of the injury and any prior criminal convictions, fines, and a license revocation of one or five years without the possibility of a hardship permit.

If you have been accused of violating Oregon's hit and run statutes, whether misdemeanor or felony, the Reynolds Defense Firm is prepared to help you.

Driving While Your License is Suspended or Revoked (DWS or DWR)

Under ORS 811.175, a person who drives while their license or driving permit is suspended or revoked is guilty only of a traffic violation.

However, under ORS 811.182, a driver who drives while his or her license is suspended or revoked commits a criminal misdemeanor if the suspension resulted from specific causes, including:

  • Criminal mischief with a motor vehicle;
  • Perjury or making a false affidavit to the Oregon Department of Transportation;
  • Refusal to submit to a breath/blood/urine test;
  • Failure of a breath or blood test or taking a breath or blood test where the test disclosed a BAC of 0.08% or more for a driver of a motor vehicle; 0.04% or more for the driver of a commercial vehicle; or over 0.00% for any individual under 21;
  • Hit and Run;
  • Reckless Driving;
  • Misdemeanor DUII
  • And other causes.

In other words, where a driver has lost driving privileges as the result of any of a wide variety of criminal misdemeanors, continuing to drive will compound the criminal difficulties of that driver. For example, where a license has been suspended as a result of a DUII conviction, the law specifies that the court must impose a minimum fine of $1,000 if that person is later caught driving while the suspension is in effect. This is in addition to the typical sentence of probation, court fees and possible jail or community service.

If you have been charged with the crime of driving while a license is suspended or revoked in the greater Portland area or anywhere in Oregon, call the Reynolds Defense Firm.

Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer

Under ORS 811.540, when an Oregon police officer gives an indication to the driver of a motor vehicle to pull over, such as by displaying his badge or indicating his intention by lights or sirens, the driver must pull over and stop in a reasonably safe spot. If, instead, the driver attempts to flee or otherwise attempts to elude law enforcement the driver may have committed a felony if this occurs in a motor vehicle, or a misdemeanor if the driver takes off on foot.

If however, the driver of the motor vehicle could not clearly identify the police officer as a police officer, or continued to drive in the belief that he or she needed to reach a particular safe location before stopping, the driver can assert these as defenses to a charge of attempting to elude a police officer.

The Reynolds Defense Firm Can Help Those Accused of Traffic Crimes

If you have been cited for Reckless Driving, Hit and Run Property Damage or Person Injury, Attempting to Elude, or any other Oregon traffic crime, we can help you. As Oregon traffic violation defense lawyers, we represent good people® facing criminal charges, and we have a specialty in DUIs as well as other motor-vehicle related crimes.

If you need an attorney to defend you from your traffic crime in the Greater Portland metropolitan area of Multnomah, Clackamas, or Washington Counties, or well as elsewhere in Oregon, please give the Reynolds Defense Firm a call at (503) 223-3422, or use the online inquiry form right here on this website. Your initial consultation is absolutely free, and there is no obligation.

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