Ive spoken with an attorney and unfortunately cannot afford one to go to my arraignment. I dont know what to plea because they only ticketed me for the breathalizer and nothing else. They also marked off no culpable mental state. This is my first criminal offence. Should I still plea "not guilty" even though I blew a .07 which says I had alcohol in my system.
I know, I should get an attorney, but if you were in my sitaution and couldnt afford one what would you do?
Contact the Oregon State Bar's Modest Means Program for a referral to an attorney who will charge you according to your financial means. 503-684-3763 or toll-free in Oregon at 800-452-7636. No attorney on this board can answer your question without fully reviewing all the facts and evidence.
NEVER plead guilty to a criminal offense unless you have had the opportunity to consult with an attorney. if you are unable to afford an attorney, you are eligible for court-appointed attorney for a DUII charge in Oregon.
A DUII is a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon. It carries a MAXIMUM sentence of up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine ($10,000 if a minor was in the vehicle with you). Also, under BM 73, a third DUII can be a felony, punishable by a lifetime license revocation and a potential prison sentence. DUII also carries a MINIMUM of 2 days in jail or 80 hours of community service plus statutory fines. Under Oregon law, a DUII conviction may not be expunged. If this is your first DUII, you may be also eligible for diversion.
If for some reason, you are not eligible for a court-appointed attorney but feel like you cannot afford a privately-retained attorney, you should contact the Modest Means Program through the Oregon State Bar at 800.452.7636.
If your income is below a certain level, you have the right to be appointed an attorney, at taxpayer expense, in a criminal case. (Note that this right does not apply to civil cases - only if you're charged with a crime.) If your case doesn't qualify, then seek out an attorney from the Modest Means program as Mr. Slavin suggests, borrow money from family or friends, do what you have to do. Get a lawyer. No excuses. This board cannot possibly be a substitute for legal advice from an attorney who works for you and has access to all the facts of the case. (You may well wonder what is the point of it, then. I wonder that myself, some times.)
You can go to your arraignment without an attorney; nothing bad will happen. In the time between you arrest and your arraignment date, the state (DA's office) will be reviewing the facts of your case and deciding whether or not they want to proceed with criminal charges against you.
It may be that you go to arraignment and you find out that the state decided to "no-complaint," or not issue, the DUII. If your case is no-complainted, its your lucky day. It may be that the state will go forward with the DUII, or they may not go forward with the DUII, but they may charge you with something else (commonly a reckless driving) instead. If any criminal charges are issued in the case, the court will enter a not guilty plea on your behalf and they will set a diversion entry date or a trial date for you. You will also be able to find out if you qualify for court appointed counsel.
You will need to have an attorney with you at any appearances after the arraignment. If you don't qualify for a court appointed attorney, you should look into the modest means program. You should also call around to different attorneys in town as rates can vary greatly.
Plead not guilty at your arraignment and ask for a copy of the police reports. They will likely tell you if you are eligible for "Diversion". Read of the divoersion packet to see if its something you want to do. Then locate an attorney who can sit down with you for a consultation and go over your police reports with you. If this is your first DUII, diversion is a viable option. That being said, you blew under the legal limit. You may have a very triable case. I wouldn't enter into diversion or plead guilty without speaking to an experienced DUII attorney.
DUII is not about having alcohol in your system but about whether you were impaired by a noticeable degree when you were driving. If you blew a .07% one hour after driving, your blood alcohol content may have been higher or lower when driving. Only an experienced DUII attorney can help you sort this out and determine whether you should be going to trial.
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