DUI Legal Process in Oregon
After a person is arrested for DUII, the person will be brought to the police station to be booked. The police will fingerprint the defendant, photograph the defendant, and ask a number of questions. Any personal property will be stored by the police. A person who is arrested has the right to remain silent and must be given the chance to contact an attorney. A defendant does not have to answer the questions that the police ask. Once criminal charges are filed, the defendant must appear at an arraignment. At the arraignment, the defendant must enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
During the arraignment or in a separate hearing, the court may decide if the defendant will be released from jail until the time of the trial. The court may set bail, refuse to set bail, or release a person on his own recognizance. A court that releases a person on his own recognizance is effectively saying that it believes the person can be trusted to show up for court obligations and will not attempt to flee. Prior to trial, a defendant can agree to a plea bargain with a prosecutor. A plea bargain is a deal where a prosecutor agrees to a lesser punishment such as a shorter sentence or reduced charges if the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest. The case goes to trial if there is no plea bargain agreed to.
A defendant has the right to a jury trial if charged with a crime punishable by six or more months in jail. A defendant can waive this right if the defendant would prefer a bench trial instead. A bench trial is in front of a judge only and the judge is the one that makes the ruling. A defendant may opt for the bench trial if he feels he would be treated more fairly by a judge than a jury. At trial, the defendant has the right to be assisted by an attorney, to remain silent, and to confront any witnesses who testify against him. Both the prosecution and the defendant will call witnesses and present their evidence. If the defendant is found guilty at trial, the judge will decide what the sentence is.
The severity of the sentence is based on the seriousness of the crime. Sentencing can include fines, jail or prison time, restitution, probation, and alternative sentences. Restitution includes paying for damage or loss caused by the crime. Probation means that a defendant stays out of jail as long as he complies with the terms of probation. Alternative sentences include community service or attending rehab. After being convicted, the defendant may file an appeal. The defendant may contend that the trial was conducted improperly, that there were mistakes in the jury instructions, or that there was not enough evidence to support a guilty verdict. A defendant can appeal a conviction for any number of reasons. On appeal, the conviction may be affirmed, reversed, or reversed and remanded. The appellate court may reverse and remand for a new trial if the court decides not to either affirm or reverse.
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