We realize legal terms can be somewhat confusing so we have provided definitions. These legal term definitions are provided as a guide only and not to be construed as DUI (drunk driving) legal advice. For a detailed description of our Portland DUI Attorney services please visit our main DUI page.
Terms & Definitions | Drunk Driving, DUI, DUII
The arraignment is the first appearance on a criminal charge. If it is a misdemeanor arraignment, the defendant will enter a plea, typically a not guilty plea, at that time.
Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC:
The amount of alcohol in a drivers blood expressed as a percent. The legal limit for BAC in Oregon is .08. If your BAC is .08 or over at the time you are driving, then you have committed the crime of Driving under the influence of intoxicants in Oregon.
Each FST has a set of clues that officers are trained to look for that indicate that an individual is impaired, or under the influence. If an officer observes a certain number of clues in a particular test, then the officer will consider that as evidence that the person was driving while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
For a first time drunk driving (DUI) offense, Diversion may be an option. A diversion avoids a criminal conviction if you complete the program. Diversion is not available if you have been in court ordered alcohol or drug treatment within the past fifteen years, if there was an injury accident associated with your DUI – DUII, or if you have a CDL (Commercial Drivers License).
Department of Motor Vehicles.
Driving under the influence of intoxicants:
The correct term for drunk driving in Oregon. Commonly referred to as DUI, DUII or DWI which are commonly used interchangeably. DUII is a Class A misdemeanor. However, under Oregon DUI law, a third DUII within ten years is a class C felony.
Shorthand for driving under the influence. Technically, in Oregon the correct term is DUII. DWI, DUI and DWII are commonly used interchangeably.
Shorthand for Driving Under the influence of Intoxicants
Shorthand for driving while intoxicated. In Oregon the correct term is DUII. DWI, DUI and DWII are commonly used interchangeably
A crime where the maximum incarceration time exceeds one year. There are three classifications of felonies. From the less to most serious they are, C, B and A.
Field Sobriety Test, or FST:
There are three standard field sobriety tests that a police officer will typically conduct. These are usually done at the location of the stop and only allowed if the officer believes there is probable cause that a driver is under the influence of intoxicants. The three standard FST’s are: Horizontal gaze Nystagmus (or HGN), the Walk & Turn Test and the One leg stand test.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, or HGN:
One of the three standard field sobriety tests given by police officers in Oregon. HGN is the involuntary movement (jerking) of the eyes when subjected to a stimulus such as a pencil or finger moving in front of the eyes. There are six possible clues on this test that the officer looks for.
Implied consent is the implied promise you made when you drove a motor vehicle on a public roadway in Oregon. DMV may suspend your license if you take and fail a breath test, or if you refuse a breath test.
Implied Consent Hearing:
The Oregon DMV hearing that you may request if you are arrested for DUI and you either fail or refuse a breath test. The hearing must be requested within 10 days of the DUII arrest, and at the hearing, you can challenge the officers arrest, and the breath test result or refusal. If you prevail at the hearing, your license will not be suspended by DMV for the breath test failure or refusal. However, your licence will still be suspended if the arrest results in a DUI conviction.
If you are suspended by Oregon DMV or by a court you may be eligible for a hardship license. This partially re-instates your Oregon driving privileges for limited purposes, such as to drive to work or to treatment classes. Hardship license applications and procedures can be found at here.
One Leg Stand test:
A standard field sobriety test. The one-leg stand requires the driver to stand still without swaying or raising arms, and hold one leg six inches off the ground for 30 seconds. There are four possible clues that an officer will look for to determine if the driver passed or failed this FST.
A crime where the maximum incarceration time is one year or less. There are three classifications of misdemeanors from the least to most serious, which are, C, B, and A.
Case Management Conference or Settlement Conference:
The name of the court appearance where the defendant and prosecutor appear and inform the court if a DUI plea agreement has been reached. A defendant may change her plea to guilty at this time of an agreement has been reached.
An officer must have probable cause to conduct field sobriety testing. Probable cause means that based on is the totality of the circumstances, it is over a 50% probability that a driver is under the influence of intoxicants.
Walk and turn test:
One of three standard field sobriety tests. This test requires you to hold a starting position, walk nine steps forward, make a specific type of turn and walk nine steps back. There are eight possible clues that an officer will look for to determine if you are exhibiting signs of impairment.