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About Michael Romano

Michael Romano is an Oregon lawyer and attorney focusing on criminal defense, divorce, DUI, and family law. He has law offices in both Portland and Bend Oregon.

Can I Get a DUI Under a .08 BAC in Oregon?

Many driver's who want to drink but still want to drive home safe ask, "Can I Get a DUI Under a .08 BAC in Oregon?" In short, yes. You can be charged with DUI even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below a .08. There are multiple ways for the government to prove DUI in Oregon. Some of the methods of proof involve drugs ("controlled substances"), others involve only alcohol ("intoxicating liquor"), and some involve combination of drugs and alcohol. When people refer to the "legal limit," they are referring to the .08 BAC that Oregon has standardized as the blood alcohol level at which everyone is presumed to be intoxicated and impaired by alcohol. This means that everyone at a .08 BAC is assumed to be drunk, intoxicated, and impaired-- regardless of their sex, body type, or tolerance for alcohol. The NHTSA has advocated for the .08 BAC standard nationwide and continues to do so. Some City Attorneys and County District Attorneys in Oregon will still charge a DUI under .08. It's not uncommon to see prosecutors charge DUIs at .07, .06, .05, and even .04 BACs. This is because law enforcement believes that most drivers are negatively affected-- mentally or physically-- well-before a .08 BAC. This article from OregonLive.com (although a bit dated from 2011) explains how many in Oregon law enforcement view DUIs under .08. Believe it or not, there is some good news for drivers stopped, investigated, and arrested for DUI under .08. A breath test reading below .08 will not typically result in an administrative driver's license suspension. This type of suspension-- called an "Implied Consent suspension" can often result in a 90-day, 1-year, or even 3-year driver's license [...]

By | 2017-01-07T18:13:14+00:00 January 7th, 2017|Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , |Comments Off on Can I Get a DUI Under a .08 BAC in Oregon?

Miranda v. Arizona: Fifty Years of Silence

In 2016, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court ruling in Miranda v. Arizona and the resulting right to remain silent. How has the Miranda verdict served to shape our justice system over the last fifty years?  Some would say that the decision interferes with the ability of the police to obtain confessions, however, others believe that high-pressure police interrogations have led to many false confessions.  Over the last half-century, studies have shown that the Miranda warning has done no damage to law enforcement, and is in full accordance with the United States Bill of Rights and Constitution.  In this article, the case of Miranda v. Arizona will be examined, along with the cultural and legal effects on our current society. The Crime On March 3, 1963, while returning home from her late night job at a theater in Phoenix, AZ, 18-year old Lois Ann Jameson was attacked. Her assailant forced her into a car while threatening her with a knife, drove to the Arizona desert, sexually assaulted her, took her money, and dropped her off a few blocks from her home.  Later, she described her attacker and his vehicle to detectives. The following week, Jameson’s bother saw the car believed to have been used in the attack, and recorded the license plate number.  The aged green car in the driveway of Twila Hoffman’s house was further investigated and found to be a match from Jameson’s description of the crime.  Ernesto Miranda shared this home with Hoffman, his common-law wife. Ernesto Arturo Miranda, 22, was then accused and arrested by Officer Carrol Cooley for the kidnapping and rape of Lois Ann Jameson. Who Was Mr. Miranda? Ernesto Arturo Miranda, (March 9, 1941- [...]

By | 2016-12-28T18:39:44+00:00 December 28th, 2016|Categories: Criminal Defense|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Miranda v. Arizona: Fifty Years of Silence

The Best Gadsden Flag Memes

The Gadsden flag was originally designed in 1775 by American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden (1724–1805), and used during the American Revolution. Original Gadsden Flag The origin of the snake theme can be traced back to Benjamin Franklin when-- in 1751-- he made the first reference to the timber rattlesnake in a satirical commentary published in his Pennsylvania Gazette. Benjamin Franklin's "Join or Die" Flag The Gadsden flag has been used over the years for various purposes. It's mostly been used as a statement of personal freedom, American pride, libertarian values, and freedom. The Best Variations of the Gadsden Flag

By | 2016-11-11T21:24:12+00:00 November 11th, 2016|Categories: Criminal Defense|Tags: , |Comments Off on The Best Gadsden Flag Memes

Portland Timbers Players Arrested for DUI

Two Portland Timbers players were arrested for DUI in Clackamas County on Monday October 24th, 2016. Liam Ridgewell (on left in photo) is the team's captain, 32 years old, and from England. Jake Gleeson (on right in photo) is the team's goalkeeper, 26 years old, and from New Zealand. The story was first reported on KATU and then picked up by OregonLive. Portland Timbers DUI Details It appears that Jake Gleeson's BMW reported the crash electronically to local law enforcement by means of the BMW Accident Management System after his airbag deployed. Officers from the Lake Oswego Police Department responded at around 10:30 p.m. to the intersection of Pilkington Road and Willow Lane, and found that Gleeson's vehicle had been rear-ended by another vehicle driven by Makenzie Varaniclapp. She was apparently contacted later, found to be uninjured, and was not cited for DUI herself. Prior to police arrival, Gleeson had called Ridgewell to assist, and both were found to be under the influence of intoxicants. Both Players Failed the DUI Sobriety Tests From preliminary reports, it appears both players agreed to voluntary field sobriety tests. They had a right to decline the tests, and they should have (see our page, "Should I refuse DUI tests in Oregon?"). Oregon uses three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (abbreviated as SFSTs) and they are considered to be a search (similar to a police officer searching your pockets, purse, car, or even your house). You have a right to decline the SFSTs tests, and you typically should. The tests are nearly impossible to perform without error-- even if you haven't had a drop of alcohol to drink. Both Players Refused the DUI Breath Test It appears that both players declined a breath test after their arrest. DUI breath tests in Oregon are conducted with the Intoxilyzer 8000 and a refusal to [...]

By | 2016-12-28T12:49:03+00:00 October 25th, 2016|Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Portland Timbers Players Arrested for DUI

Forensic Felons: Criminals in the Oregon Crime Labs

Nika Elise Larsen, a forensic scientist and crime scene investigator for Oregon State Police Crime Lab, faced a federal court on Aug. 15, 2016. Larsen pled guilty to tampering with evidence and theft of Schedule II type drugs through direct access to evidence in lockers while working out of Bend and Pendleton Oregon Crime Labs since 2008. Sentencing will commence on Dec. 12, 2016. The prosecution and the defense are recommending a three-year prison sentence. Due to Larsen’s tampering, around 1,500 cases are being reviewed by John Hummel, District Attorney for Deschutes County, Oregon, and by several Deputy District Attorneys. Reportedly, Larsen’s mishandling and tampering of evidence occurred with her own cases and those which she might have accessed in her eight years of employment at OSP. This case is one of several which have cropped up in the last eleven years through mismanagement and lack of oversight at OSP Crime Labs. Jeff Dovci allegedly overstated evidence in a 2005 criminal trial before he retired from the Central Point Oregon Crime Lab in 2013. He is now a private forensic consultant. OSP did an internal investigation and John Hummel found that Dovci had, “overstated scientific findings and minimized things that could have hurt the state’s case.” After reviewing the two cases that came into question, Hummel found that the convictions in question still stood on solid ground. A previous OSP forensic scientist, Kristopher Kyes, missed drugs and other substances in urine he tested at the Clackamas Oregon Crime Lab, which led to a review of 120 cases, 10 of which had potential discrepancies. This led investigators to reevaluate those 10 cases. The troubling trend of misconduct continues with OSP evidence technician, John D. Parrish, who was indicted on June [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:25+00:00 September 14th, 2016|Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Forensic Felons: Criminals in the Oregon Crime Labs

Marijuana Breathalyzer and Oregon DUI cases

The marijuana breathalyzer is a device designed to work much like an alcohol breathalyzer. In theory, the test subject blows into the device. The device then reports whether or not the test subject is under the influence of marijuana. However, the current devices cannot measure impairment. They can only estimate the level of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol; the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) on a test subject's breath.   Image from Hound Labs used under Fair Use doctrine. Hound Labs Marijuana Breathalyzer Hound Labs Inc. is an Oakland-based company that has introduced a hand-held portable device that measures the presence of THC in breath. The device is intended to be used roadside by law enforcement. The device requires two breath samples from the test subject (much like Oregon's Intoxilyzer 8000). The Hound Labs breathalyzer was developed in partnership with scientists at the University of California, Berkeley and it was designed to detect impairment from any recent THC consumption (smoking, vaping, or edibles). The company boasts that it's the first company to create a device capable of detecting and measuring THC in breath. They further claim that the device can accurately measure levels to below 500 picograms. The problem with this sort of claim is that it has absolutely nothing to do with whether someone is mentally or physically impaired because people will be affected differently by THC and the level of expelled THC from test subjects will also vary wildly. Image from Cannabix Technologies used under Fair Use doctrine. Cannabix Technologies Marijuana Breathalyzer Cannabix Technologies Inc. is a Vancouver, B.C. based company that has also developed a marijuana breathalyzer. Cannabix claims that the use of FAIMS (high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry) can detect trace amounts of THC. However, as of the writing [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:25+00:00 September 14th, 2016|Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Marijuana Breathalyzer and Oregon DUI cases

New Location for Portland DMV Hearings

Governor Kate Brown's office announced on Friday August 19, 2016 that-- effective Tuesday September 6, 2016-- Portland DMV hearings resulting from arrests by the following agencies will be held primarily out of the Office of Administrative Hearings’ Division Street office: Portland Police Bureau (PPB)* West Linn Police Department* Canby Police Department Molalla Police Department The address for the Office of Administrative Hearings’ (OAH's) Division Street office is: 9226 SE Division Street Suite E Portland, OR 97266 *Note that some Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and West Linn Police Department overflow hearings may still be held in the Tualatin office.

By | 2016-08-19T12:49:46+00:00 August 19th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on New Location for Portland DMV Hearings

Can I record the police in Oregon?

With the widespread use of cell phones and digital cameras, many people want to know, "Can I record the police in Oregon?" Generally, the answer is "yes," but there are some considerations if you intend to record police officers. Can I video-record a police officers? Yes. Oregon law does not prohibit the video recording of anyone on public property if they do not have a reasonable expectation of personal privacy. There are exceptions that prohibit recording of nudity and sexual activity (see ORS 163.701 "Invasion of personal privacy in the first degree" and ORS 163.700 "Invasion of personal privacy in the second degree"). Can I audio-record police officers? Yes, but Oregon law required that the person being audio-recorded be notified. They do not need to consent. See ORS 165.540 "Obtaining contents of communications." Can I record the police officer when pulled over for a traffic stop? Yes, but you must notify them if you intend to audio-record. Also, see the other considerations below. Can I record the police officer during protests? Yes, but you must notify them if you intend to audio-record. Also, see the other considerations below. Can I record the police officer during other encounters? Yes, but you may also choose to simply walk away. Law enforcement can only detain you if you are suspected of committing a violation of law or a crime. If for some reason you choose to converse with the officer rather than leave the scene, you must notify the officer if you begin audio-recording. Also, see the other considerations below. Other Considerations when Recording the Police in Oregon As a citizen of the United States and Oregon, you have constitutional and statutory rights to take photographs, video-record, and audio-record anything in public (except as provided in ORS [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:28+00:00 August 17th, 2016|Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , , |0 Comments

If your body could be a brewery, would that be a blessing or a curse?

Imagine not needing to buy alcohol or even needing to drink alcohol in order to get drunk. Further imagine that your own body was a brewery capable of producing alcohol internally. In the words of Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, “What would you do with all that power?” Auto-brewery syndrome (gut fermentation syndrome) is an unusual medical condition in which potentially intoxicating quantities of alcohol (ethanol) are produced through endogenous fermentation within the digestive system (aka “gut”) by a yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae or a diploid fungus, yeast, and filamentous cells called Candida albicans. While the condition sounds to some like a joke or an excuse for DUI, auto-brewery syndrome is a very real — albeit rare — medical phenomenon. Because the yeast thrives on sugar and carbohydrates, treatment for the disorder typically consists of use of antifungal drugs and a low-sugar and low-carbohydrate diet. However, if a person doesn’t know they have this condition, they may not take steps to address it. Auto-brewery Syndrome in the Media In early 2014, The Mad Science Blog published a blog post that efficiently summarized the science of auto-brewery syndrome. Later in 2014, ABC News’ “20/20” ran a story titled, “Drunk Without Alcohol: Strange Condition Ferments Food in Gut” on auto-brewery syndrome. Techinsider.io and BuzzFeed reported on the phenomenon in 2015, and Bustle also reported on it in early 2016. Most media reports on auto-brewery syndrome focus on the novelty and received humor of the medical condition, and the legal defenses it presents (or appears to present). However, for people who actually suffer from the condition, it’s anything but humorous. It’s alarming, frustrating, anxiety-causing, and dangerous. It can also lead to very expensive medical and legal problems. Is auto-brewery syndrome a [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:28+00:00 August 5th, 2016|Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|0 Comments

BIKETOWN PDX Reviews

Photo from Twitter. No rights to image claimed. Used under the "Fair Use" doctrine. Have you tried the new bright-orange Nike BIKETOWN bicycles in downtown Portland? My fiance and I rented two bikes on Thursday July 21, 2016, and here's what we thought about the BIKETOWN bike share program: BIKETOWN PDX Pros Both the bikes and racks are easy to find, with their bright-orange color. The bikes are easy for pedestrians and drivers to see, with their bright-orange color. The bikes are nimble and have excellent steering. The bikes come with seven speeds, front and rear brakes, an integrated locking system, and even a bell built-in to the left grip. The bikes are shaft-driven and do not use chains. This is a "pro" and a "con." The "pro" is that you won't get chain oil marks on your favorite pants. BIKETOWN PDX Cons You'll either love or hate the bright-orange corals. I think this will largely depend on whether you're a user of the service trying to find a bike, or someone who's neighborhood lost parking to the expansive and unsightly rack systems. The rental of these bikes is very expensive. After only renting a bike a dozen times, one could simply buy a basic cruiser and have it for years. We both received a warning and a $2 penalty charge for briefly locking the bikes up as we had a light dinner. The bikes apparently have odd rules about how much time you can use them, how much time they can be ridden, how much time they can remain idle, and where you can lock them up. The bikes are heavy. They are not terribly heavy for riding, but the rear of the bike [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:28+00:00 July 22nd, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments