DUI

Can You Get A DUI After Only Two Drinks?

Many people heading out to the local club or bar wonder, "Can you get a DUI after only two drinks?" The answer is, "It depends." It depends primarily on five factors: Did you have food before or with the drinks? What is your sex and weight? How large are the drinks? How long have you been drinking? What type of alcohol are you drinking? There are actually over a dozen types of alcohol in chemistry. The alcohol that humans typically drink is called ethanol. Contrary to popular belief, when you drink ethanol, very little of it is actually absorbed through the stomach. It's absorbed primarily through the intestines. The reason this is important is because there's a valve at the base of the stomach called the pyloric valve. This valve closes when there is food in the stomach. Many people mistakenly believe that eating food before or during drinking will prevent them from getting drunk or-- more accurately-- intoxicated or impaired. Actually, it will simply delay or slow the process. We typically refer to this as slowing the rate of absorption. In some situations, if the rate of absorption is slowed sufficiently, this will prevent the drinker from every becoming intoxicated or impaired. How Sex and Weight Affect Alcohol Metabolism Ethanol is metabolized at a different rate in women than it is in men. This is due to general differences in body composition. Ethanol is also highly soluble in water, and women have a higher percentage of water in their bodies than men. In addition, women typically have less of the enzymes used to metabolize alcohol than men do (alcohol dehydrogenase and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase). Independent  of sex, body weight also determines the amount of space and mass which alcohol can [...]

By | 2017-03-04T21:20:05+00:00 March 4th, 2017|Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Can You Get A DUI After Only Two Drinks?

Marijuana Delivery Services in Oregon

Recreational cannabis dispensaries will soon be able to begin marijuana delivery throughout Oregon. Oregonians will be able to call their local dispensary and place an order for marijuana – just like their pizza or Chinese food. Since its legalization in 2015, marijuana has been a controversial subject, with lawmakers scrambling to figure out the fine details of marijuana sales and possession in Oregon. However, Oregonians and Portlanders alike, certainly feel the presence and influence of marijuana in the state. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), marijuana sales reached $265 million in 2015. As reported on KGW, multiple dispensaries throughout Oregon have applied for permits to begin servicing customers who place mobile orders for cannabis. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is still requiring customers to be over the age of 21, and allowing deliveries solely between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Additionally, dispensaries will only be allowed to deliver in cities where they are permitted to sell. Oregon will be the first state to allow such a service. Though the service is barely starting, the OLCC is making sure that business have the adequate permits to sell and deliver marijuana. In Portland, there are currently just under 170 dispensaries. The application for home delivery will cost dispensaries $750 and the license will be another $3,500. While marijuana continues to become more accessible to people, it is still unlawful to drive while high in the state of Oregon. With this new delivery service, customers will be able to stay home and get cannabis delivered right to their front door. Driving under the influence of marijuana is still subject to punishment under the law. It’s important to remember that marijuana laws and regulations are constantly changing in [...]

By | 2017-02-22T12:53:49+00:00 February 22nd, 2017|Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Marijuana Delivery Services in Oregon

DUI and Reaction Times

Most people have heard of the roadside tests administered for DUI investigations. But interestingly enough, the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) do not directly measure reaction times at all. Why Are Fast Reaction Times Important for Driving? Driving a car may seem simply enough, but it's actually a complex task. In addition to hand-eye-coordination, driving also requires foot-eye-coordination in order to apply acceleration and braking. A driver must be able to swerve or brake quickly to avoid collisions. To do this, the driver needs to be able to have an awareness of distance, speed, and the amount of time needed to slow a vehicle safely without overreacting. How Does Alcohol Affect Reaction Times? Alcohol is a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant. Because alcohol is water-soluble and can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, the nervous system is a particular target for the negative effects of alcohol. Alcoholism and sustained use of alcohol can have an even greater effect on the brain. Alcohol slows reaction times. Why Don't DUI Field Sobriety Tests Gauge Reaction Times? The three field sobriety tests that are most commonly used by the police in DUI investigations do not specifically test for reaction times. Two of the tests are primarily focused on balance. For example, the Walk and Turn test is very similar to the challenge of walking on a balance beam. Most people can't do this without raising their arms slightly for balance. On the One Leg Stand test, the test subject is supposed to stand on one foot while holding the other leg out in front. Most people can't do this without raising their arms slightly for balance. For both the Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand tests, raising arms for balance [...]

By | 2017-02-22T12:35:07+00:00 February 22nd, 2017|Categories: DUI|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on DUI and Reaction Times

Will Oregon Lower The Legal DUI Limit To .05?

Many social drinkers wonder if any amount of drinking before driving soon be outlawed. Will Oregon lower the legal DUI limit to .05? The legal limit for DUI in Oregon is currently .08 BAC. From time to time, there is talk in other states around the country about lowering the legal limit for DUI down to .05 BAC or even .04 BAC. Commercial truck drivers in the United States are already prohibited from driving with a BAC of .04 greater. Also, several European countries have a presumptive limit of .05 BAC (most notably France and Germany). As of January 2017, there is the possibility that Utah may lower it's legal limit to .05. But at the present time, it does not look likely that Oregon will be reducing the DUI legal limit to .05 or .04 for non-commercial drivers. A couple other points should be noted about the .05 standard used in much of Europe. An average-bodied man having about three drinks in a social drinking setting could go over a .05 BAC. An average-bodied woman could easily reach .05 BAC with only two drinks. This is important to mention because we are not talking about a violent alcoholic drinking all night long on an empty stomach in order to obtain a .05 BAC before driving around recklessly. We are talking about "normal" people having a few drinks with friends while having dinner at a restaurant, and then later stopped and accused of being unable to drive safely. Lastly, when people advocate for a lowing of the blood alcohol limits in Oregon or anywhere else in the country, it's a safe bet they are not going to stop once they reach a given number (.05, .04, [...]

By | 2017-01-07T18:32:03+00:00 January 7th, 2017|Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , |Comments Off on Will Oregon Lower The Legal DUI Limit To .05?

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?

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

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

Should I Refuse DUI Tests in Oregon?

Can you refuse Field Sobriety Tests? Field Sobriety Tests in Oregon are considered a search, and you can decline or refuse a search in Oregon. However, your refusal may be used against you in some circumstances. Should I refuse a Field Sobriety Tests? In most cases, yes. This is a complex area of DUI and search and seizure law, but in most cases, a police officer requesting Field Sobriety Tests has already made their mind up. You're going to be arrested for DUI, and therefore they are only gathering more incriminating evidence of the crime of DUI with the FSTs. The FSTs are very difficult tests to perform without error, and anything you do incorrectly or poorly will be used against you to suggest you were drunk. Can you refuse a breathalyzer test? Do I have a right to refuse a breathalyzer test? Yes. Should I take the breathalyzer test? This is a complex area of DUI criminal and administrative law. If at all possible, you should speak with an attorney before refusing a breath test after a DUI arrest. However, if an attorney is not available, the most conservative thing to do is to take the breath test. If you have never had a DUI before, if you do not have a Commercial Driver's License, and if you are otherwise eligible for Oregon's DUI Diversion Program, the criminal charge of DUI will ultimately be eligible for dismissal. Therefore, the BAC reading of your breath test is not terribly important for a first DUI. However, if you have a prior DUI, a CDL, or are otherwise ineligible for diversion, you may want to decline the breath test, limit the government's evidence against you, and preserve any rights you have to challenge [...]

By | 2016-10-13T00:19:28+00:00 August 11th, 2016|Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI|Tags: , , , , , , |Comments Off on Should I Refuse DUI Tests in Oregon?