Drink and drive? Here's a preview of your New Year's Eve in the Lane County Jail

Drink and drive? Here's a preview of your New Year's Eve in the Lane County Jail

EUGENE, Ore. — Some people will drink and drive, and some of them will get arrested.

What happens to someone after police slap the handcuffs on them and put them in the back of a patrol car?

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office gave NewsSource 16 a look at the process. As it turns out, cold hard time is actually time spent on a cold hard wooden bench.

"Once you enter this room right here, and are on the other side of this slider, then you are in Lane County Sheriff's custody," said Sgt. Steve French, Lane County Sheriff’s deputy, pointing to a large blue door that separates the processing center from the booking and holding cells.

Earlier this year, the Lane County Jail quickly processed drunk drivers because the jail did not have the staffing to house multiple non-violent offenders.

French said that stretch of time when the sheriff’s office was strapped for cash gave many offenders the impression that a DUII arrest was a quick in-and-out.

He said that is no longer the case.

"Due to the public safety levy that passed in May, we have seen a significant reduction in the number of" capacity based releases," French said. "So the arrestees are expecting to be released fairly quickly when they come in, but that's no longer happening for a lot of them."

French said the amount of time an offender now spends in the Lane County jail depends on the severity of the offense; the intoxication level; if the offender has been belligerent while in custody; and if the offender has other criminal charges pending.

If an arrestee has other criminal charges or issues pending, they are then moved to the general population to be with the other inmates.

If someone faces a simple DUII arrest, they are moved to a holding cell where they wait to post bail and receive a court date.

The amenities of the holding cell are no picnic: Inside the large hollow room, there are white walls, old wooden benches and a metal toilet. The only thing providing privacy is a single tile covered white wall.

While some states have county jails that have segregation cells for intoxicated offenders while they sober up, French said the Lane County Jail does not do that.

“All offenders go through the same process at first regardless of the offense,” he said. “After they are processed, or unless they are being disruptive, is when they are separated.”

French said the processing time and the waiting process gives arrestees time to sober up before they are released.

In addition to a fine, other DUII consequences include higher insurance premiums, attendance of a drug diversion program, possible community service, and a loss of driving privileges.