DUI Attorney in Medford – Attorney Don Scales
Each year over 20,000 drivers are arrested and charged with DUII in the State of Oregon. Jackson County law enforcement agencies aggressively patrol and enforce driving laws, particularly driving under the influence of intoxicants. Over the last few years, DUII laws have gotten stricter with higher penalties and fines. This is a daunting process and one that you should not handle alone. It is important to seek professional legal help in order to maintain both your freedom and your driver’s license.
Each district attorney’s office has slightly different ways of handling DUII. In Jackson County you will want a DUII attorney who has experience, both with the local prosecutors and also with the courts. I have handled hundreds of DUIIs over the last 19 years. At our first meeting, I will give you an honest appraisal of the issues in your case and give you competent advice as to how I believe you should proceed. I will not hesitate to tell you if there are problems with your case; at the same time I will look for solutions that will get you the best resolution possible.
The administrative DUI process
When you have been cited for DUII and have provided a breathalyzer of .08 and above, you have ten days to challenge the resulting 90 day Department of Motor Vehicles suspension. Most likely you are shaken up from having been arrested and incarcerated, and may be confused at the paperwork which is given to you by the arresting officer. If you are locked up, oftentimes the paperwork gets lost and once those ten days have passed, that 90 day suspension starts at 12:01 p.m. on the 30th day after your arrest.
It is important to have an attorney experienced in challenging these suspensions through a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles. We will contact the Department of Motor Vehicles, arrange for a hearing and will appear with you at the hearing and will vigorously cross examine the State’s witnesses, usually the arresting officer. We will also have an opportunity to call our own witnesses if prudent.
The hearing is presided over by an administrative law judge who will listen to the evidence, make findings of fact and conclusions based on the law and will render a decision whether the suspension is valid. You and your attorney will be notified in writing of the administrative tribunal’s decision.
The criminal process in DUI cases.
If you are cited and taken to jail you will be brought before the court the next business day to make a release decision. At that time the Judge can either release you on your own recognizance, which is a promise to come back to court and attend all court dates, or you may be required to post bail. You are required to post ten percent of the bail amount to be released from jail. Depending upon your prior criminal history, you may be released from the jail prior to court or the officer may elect to simply give you a citation and release you to the custody of a responsible adult or take you to the Jackson County Detox Center.
You will be required to attend court to enter a plea of not guilty on the charge or charges. It is important to have an attorney with you. I will review the charging instrument with you and police reports prior to court so that we both can have an understanding of what the State’s case is. After the arraignment the court will set a pretrial conference which is typically about 30 days out. If you were not booked into the jail, you will be required to be fingerprinted and photographed in the lobby of the jail after your arraignment.
The pretrial conference is a date in which “discovery” (police reports and other documents in the State’s possession) should be exchanged between the prosecution and defense. Also during this time, the prosecution frequently makes a plea offer. If the plea offer is something you wish to accept, your attorney can set a date for you to appear in court to resolve the case by entering your plea and being sentenced according to the terms in the plea offer. If you decide that you are not interested in a plea, you can set the case for trial and continue preparing for a trial, which is typically about 90 days out from the pretrial conference date.
After the Pretrial Conference, I will work with you to continue preparation for trial. This could include any number of different things including investigating, interviewing and subpoenaing witnesses, reviewing audio, video, and photographic evidence provided by the State, in some cases analyzing blood and/or urine tests, which provided blood alcohol levels, analyzing and/or testing blood and urine samples, and sometimes it is necessary to hire an investigator to interview witnesses and gather evidence necessary for your attorney to effectively try the case. Keep in mind, however, that every case is different. What is necessary in one case may not be necessary in others.
What to Expect at a DUI Trial
At trial the State will attempt to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence of intoxicants. That is, you were operating a motor vehicle on premises open to the public while impaired by either alcohol, controlled substances, or a combination of both. The State will call witnesses; usually the police officers and any witnesses who may have claimed to have seen you driving. The defense can call witnesses to testify on behalf of the defendant.
Sometimes people are cited for DUII when they have not been driving at all. Other times they are stopped while driving for a traffic infraction and the officer believes they were impaired as a result of consumption of alcohol, controlled substances or both. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating a motor vehicle while at the same time you were impaired by the use of the above substances. At trial the State presents their evidence.
Once the prosecution finishes presenting its case it is the defense’s turn. Sometimes the defense will have very little evidence to present as it is more effective to argue to the jury the weakness of the State’s case. If the defense puts on testimony, the State may call what are called “rebuttal witnesses”, witnesses who will testify to specific information to rebut the statements of the defense witnesses. This is not very common, but does in extraordinary circumstances happen.
After the close of all evidence, the attorneys will have an opportunity to make closing arguments with the State going first and defense going next. The defense is not required to provide any evidence or testimony. Once the defense has made their final argument, the State will have one final rebuttal argument to respond to any points that were made during the defense argument. While this may seem unfair, the law allows that because the burden to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt is on the State. After that, the case is given to the jury. If you are acquitted (found not guilty) you are free to go. If you are convicted, there may be potential jail time, fines and loss of license. It is our goal to avoid that outcome. While not every case has the same facts, we try to even the playing field by working through the issues that may affect the case so as to achieve the best outcome for you.
Contact us for a consultation if you want experienced, zealous and effective representation.