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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
From the City Club of Portland website: "4th Dimension is a place for recovery in the real world. It is an alternative social club that is dedicated to bettering the lives of those who inhabit it. Their mission is simple: to provide a safe and fun environment for the recovery community. The 4th Dimension is a recovery and entertainment hang-out for teens and young adults who are recovering from addiction problems. Many of these people still want a social life, but where can they go that doesn't serve alcohol? 4th Dimension is the answer. We will have a tour of the facility and then a discussion with a panel including their Executive Director Winston Murray; Eric Martin, Executive Director of Addiction Counselor Certification Board; Erin DeVet, De Paul Youth Director of inpatient treatment; and people who's lives have been impacted by the program." Advanced M&D 2410 N Mississippi Ave Portland, OR 97227 July 16, 2014 Time: 6:00 PM PST - 7:30 PM PST
On April 8th, 2014, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has approved a powdered version of alcohol called Palcohol for sale. You can read more about how the substance is made and works at WFTV, or at the BevLaw blog. Instructions have also popped up recently for how to make your own powdered alcohol. To be clear, the only way to have pure unadulterated alcohol in a powder form would be to have in a solid state, meaning it would need to be frozen at a temperature of approximately-173.2 degree Fahrenheit. Eating or "drinking" anything at this temperature would destroy your mouth and stomach. Powdered alcohol isn't really dry or solid alcohol, but is rather a modified modified starch, a maltodextrin made from tapioca. Liquid alcohol is mixed in with the powder and-- because of the molecular structure of the powder-- the powder absorbs alcohol well and still retains a powdery appearance. Keep in mind that any high concentration of alcohol raises concerns about flammability. While many beers hover around 5% alcohol content, you've likely seen high-proof spirits used to light desserts on fire at fancy restaurants. Powder alcohol is very flammable and should not be used around cigarettes or other open flames. There are no details yet as to how this relatively new form of powder alcohol will interact with Oregon's DUI statutes concerning "intoxicating liquor."
Gawker and The Smoking Gun report that on Sunday March 30th, 2014, in Corvallis Oregon, Ross McMakin, 21, was arrested and accused of drunk driving, reckless endangerment, harassment, and strangulation. Unfortunately for him, his mugshot shows a T-shirt that reads, "Drunk As Shit."
An article in The Atlantic magazine asks the question: Does getting drunk make you funnier?