Friday, September 14, 2012

“Quick Arrest” Allows for DUI Dismissal


A verdict was returned of Not Guilty in a felony duii in Marion County last week.  The police officer testified that he stopped the defendant for rapid acceleration and thought he may be trying  to elude the officer. The defendant refused Field Sobriety Tests but the defense suppressed the refusal since the officer failed to advise of the consequences of that refusal. Though  a small victory in the larger scheme, that suppression made it clear that the officer made a “quick arrest” without sufficient investigation. The officer later gave the advice of consequences and the defendant again refused FST’s. While that evidence was admitted, it was after the arrest.

Attorney Gig Wyatt argued that the 2
nd refusal was inconsequential, in that the defendant had already been arrested. The State pointed out evidence of defendant’s mood swings, derogatory comments and that he had urinated himself. The defense pointed out alternative explanations for  the State’s evidence. Defendant’s criminal history would have seriously enhanced his exposure to prison, given his history of duii’s. Felony DUII requires 2 prior convictions within 10 years under the most recent legislative change. The jury deliberated only 35 minutes before returning the verdict of Not Guilty.

Gig Wyatt
Harris, Wyatt, Amala, LLC.
5778 Commercial St. SE
Salem, OR 97306
503-378-7744
www.SalemDUI.com 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Not Guilty on Controlled Substance DUII


DUI Defense Attorney Gig Wyatt Wins Another Case

A 2 day jury trial in Linn Co July 10 and 11 resulted in an acquittal of a gentleman accused of being under the influence of controlled substances. In this case, Linn Co deputies stopped a man for weaving and conducted Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (all of which he failed) after which he was  arrested.  A breath test resulted in a . 00% BAC and another officer was summoned to conduct a Drug Recognition Exam. The Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officer reported that he was under the influence of Oxycodone and Valium. The Oxycodone was confirmed by a Urine Test along with trace amounts of Valium. The State argued that the arresting officer and the DRE both correctly identified controlled substances as the reason for his impairment.
Controlled substance duii is a very technical and complex area. The subtle signs of impairment are usually supported by the DRE.  They are different for the different categories of CS (controlled substances). An expert for the defense is often necessary to explain and dispute those signs of impairment.
Gig Wyatt cross examined the arresting officer by pointing out that he was really after alcohol when he observed alcohol in the vehicle, even though the of odor of alcohol was never mentioned. The fact that the officers correctly concluded the controlled substance was also not coincidental,  as the defendant told the police he had prescriptions for both drugs and had taken the Oxycodone earlier that day. Arguing the effects of various controlled substances is a technical area of DRE that requires additional research and skill. The defense was aided by a forensic toxicologist who testified that the symptoms of impairment indicated by the defendant were also consistent with other lawful substances he had ingested and further consistent with other conditions of the defendant such as age, health, etc.

After 9 months of stress and 2 days of trial, the jury took just 20 minutes to acquit the defendant.

  Gig Wyatt
Harris, Wyatt, Amala, LLC.
5778 Commercial St. SE
Salem, OR 97306
503-378-7744

Friday, June 22, 2012

Motion Practice Can Limit or Dismiss Evidence


Motion practice is an effective way to limit evidence from the prosecution. It can lead to a dismissal if enough evidence is suppressed. A recent motion to limit evidence submitted by Gig Wyatt limited the testimony of the arresting officer regarding the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus(HGN), a field sobriety test commonly used in DUII cases.

 In that case, the officer obtained 2 clues of impairment know as “lack of smooth pursuit” while observing the defendant’s eyes. He was unable to get additional clues known as “nystagmus at maximum deviation” and “nystagmus prior to 45 degrees.”  The FST testing manual requires that the test be done in a complete manner in order to be scientifically valid. Since he did not get at least 4 of the 6 clues ( he only got 2), Wyatt requested that he not be able to testify that he observed 2 clues of impairment.

An expert for the prosecution was consulted who agreed with Wyatt. The prosecution conceded that the test was not performed as technically required and the court agreed to limit the evidence so that the officer could not testify as to those clues of impairment.   Seemingly minor steps such as this to limit the  evidence battle often prove helpful in winning the war.


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Gig Wyatt , Attorney at Law, Harris, Wyatt & Amala, LLC , 5778 Commercial Street SE , Salem OR 97306

Salem Oregon DUII and Criminal Defense - (503) 378-7744, (503) 378-1013 Fax
This blog is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship

Not Guilty on a .16% DUI



Randall Snow is an attorney at Harris, Wyatt, Amala LLC who specializes in criminal defense and DUII. Last month’s Not Guilty verdict on a .16% DUII was evident of his trial skills.  In that case, an officer observed defendant’s vehicle leaving a local brewery, then circled the block and noticed the vehicle in a shopping center parking lot. The defendant was walking away from the vehicle. The officer engaged the defendant.

He testified he observed signs of impairment, had defendant perform Field Sobriety Tests, and arrested the defendant for DUII. The defendant blew a .16% on the model 8000 intoxilyzer. Snow cross-examined the officer,  effectively utilizing testimony from his DMV hearing and pointing out inconsistencies with the officer’s testimony at that hearing and the trial.  He thus exposed the exaggeration of the officer with respect to the FST’s  Despite the officer’s testimony that defendant admitted he drove, Snow pointed out that he may have been covering for someone else who may have driven and exposed the officer’s poor investigation.  Snow pointed out the State had failed to prove anything about the breath test, let alone that it was reliable. A jury took only 30 minutes to find the defendant Not Guilty.

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Gig Wyatt , Attorney at Law, Harris, Wyatt & Amala, LLC , 5778 Commercial Street SE , Salem OR 97306
Salem Oregon DUII and Criminal Defense - (503) 378-7744, (503) 378-1013 Fax
This blog is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship

Friday, June 15, 2012

Salem DUI Attorney Partners with Second Chance Program


Gig Wyatt, a DUI and criminal defense attorney based in Salem, Oregon, recently partnered with the Second Chance Program to help first time DUI offenders get better insurance rates. Working with hundreds of first time DUI clients over the years, Gig Wyatt was glad to see that there is a program now available for them to save money on their auto insurance through the Second Chance Referral Program sponsored by GMAC.

The Second Chance Referral Program was designed as a result of an analysis indicating that first-time DUI offenders as a group do not trend significantly higher for insurance claims than drivers without activity on their motor vehicle records. Unfortunately, most first-time DUI offenders will face extremely high insurance rates and even cancellation from many other insurance companies. Based on research and experience with this group, GMAC insurance is able – in most cases -to provide competitive rates helping them get back on the road and on with their lives. The program includes informational pieces that reinforce the need to avoid driving while under the influence for personal and societal reasons. Based on the same analysis repeat offenders, whose claims results do trend much higher, don’t get the same favorable treatment on their insurance rates.

 As a participant Mr. Wyatt is joining other law firms, and hundreds of clinics and driving schools across the country that offer DUI instructional programs to supply free educational brochures and materials about the Second Chance program. This voluntary program offers first-time offenders direct access to GMAC Insurance for free, no-obligation estimates of their cost for insurance and filing of the documentation required by the courts or motor vehicle departments.

 Mr Wyatt is the first attorney in the State of Oregon to be featured on the informational web site http://www.onedui.com that provides free DUI information and resources. Mr. Wyatt has been a DUII and criminal defense lawyer since 1985 and has tried literally hundreds of jury trials. Located in Salem Oregon, his practice extends throughout Oregon and focuses upon criminal defense with a specialty in DUII defense. He is a graduate of Willamette University Law School and is a partner in the law firm of Harris, Wyatt and Amala LLC. For more information visit: www.SalemDUI.com or www.SalemOregonCriminalDefense.com.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oregon DUII Information Update

When am I Presumed to be Under the Influence?
In Oregon, you are presumed to be under the influence if you drive with a
 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired.

What if I am under 21 years of age?  
The maximum BAC for drivers who are under 21 is 0.00% for purposes of the implied consent law.  Oregon is a “zero tolerance” state for DMV license suspensions.  However, to be convicted for the crime of DUII the State would need to prove you were “under the influence” at the time of driving.

What is “implied consent?”
If you drive a vehicle on a highway or premises open to the public, you have given your “implied consent” to submit to a chemical test for the purpose of determining your BAC.

What are Some Possible Consequences of Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test or Blood Test (Chemical test) After Being Arrested? 

1st offense:  1 year license suspension; fine of $500 - $1,000.
2nd offense: 3 year license suspension if within 5 years of prior breath test failure or refusal, conviction, or diversion;  1 year license suspension if no prior within 5 years; fine of $500 - $1,000.
3rd offense: same as 2nd offense above.

When and where will Oregon police measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?
Law enforcement officers will conduct a breath test after arrest, typically at a jail facility or police station.  Currently, Oregon police officers rarely utilize roadside breath testing machines or preliminary breath tests.

What are the minimum jail sentences for a DUII conviction in Oregon?
1st conviction: 2 days jail
2nd conviction: no minimum required
3rd conviction: no minimum required
For Felony DUII :
3rd conviction within 10 years Class C Felony: 90 days jail
4th conviction within 10 years Class C Felony: Sentencing Guidelines: 13-16 months prison

A Permanent Record - DUII Convictions
Prior DUII convictions remain on your record permanently, and can always be used against you if you are being sentenced for a subsequent DUII.  Under current law, a third DUII within 10 years constitutes a Felony.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?
In order to have any driving privileges, IIDs are required for all diversions and convictions.
Where can I get more information about DUII laws in Oregon?

Where can I get more information about DUII laws in Oregon?
Contact:  Gig Wyatt , Attorney at Law, Harris, Wyatt & Amala, LLC
5778 Commercial Street SE , Salem OR 97306
Salem Oregon DUII and Criminal Defense - (503) 378-7744, (503) 378-1013 Fax

NOTICE: The purpose of this website is to provide basic and general information about DUII laws in Oregon. 
This publication should not be interpreted as legal advice, nor substituted for the specific legal advice of an experienced attorney.
DUII Defense services in Marion County, Polk County, and Linn County, Oregon