Oregon has legalized the recreational use of marijuana and certain psychedelic drugs and decriminalized the use of some hard drugs like heroin. However, driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) of any of these substances is still very much illegal. Read on to find out about how a person can be convicted of drugged or high driving and the associated penalties.
A driver is considered to be under the influence when his or her physical or mental facilities are adversely affected to a noticeable or perceptible degree.
Proof of impairment. To prove a DUII charge at trial, the prosecutor will typically use evidence such as testimony of the arresting officer, blood test results showing what the driver had in his or her system, and expert testimony on the intoxicating effects of the relevant substances.
Type of drugs. A driver can be convicted of a DUII due to intoxication from cannabis, psilocybin, controlled substances, or inhalants. Controlled substances include street drugs such as methamphetamines as well as prescription drugs like benzos. The fact that a driver was legally allowed to use the drug (such as marijuana or a prescription drug) is not a valid defense to an impaired driving charge.
Drugged driving is generally a class A misdemeanor and the penalties are the same as those for drunk driving.
First offense. A first drugged driving offense will result in 48 hours to 364 days in jail, $1,000 to $6,250 in fines, and a one-year license revocation followed by a one-year ignition interlock device (IID) restriction. A restricted license is normally available for limited driving privileges during the revocation period. The court will also order the offender to submit to a substance abuse evaluation and to follow all recommended treatment.
Second offense. A second drugged driving offense will result in 48 hours to 364 days in jail, $1,500 to $6,250 in fines, and a one-year license revocation followed by three years with an IID. The license revocation period with be for three years if the prior offense occurred within the last five years. The offender might be eligible for a restricted license during the revocation period. The offender must also complete a substance abuse screening and all recommended treatment.
Alternative sentencing options. In some cases, the offender is able to serve 80 to 250 hours of community service in lieu of mandatory jail time. A diversion program might also be available for first-offense DUI charges.
At the time of arrest, the officer will likely request the driver submit to a chemical test (per the state's implied consent law) to determine the concentration of drugs in his or her system. Drivers who refuse to submit to testing will be fined $500 to $1,000 and face an additional year of license revocation (or more with prior).