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Things to Know if Charged with a DUI in Oregon



If your driving is impaired due to alcohol, you may be charged with a DUI, or driving under the influence (also known as driving under the influence of intoxicants, or DUII). Oregon takes DUI offenses seriously. If you are charged with an Oregon DUI, you may want to seek out the assistance of an Oregon DUI lawyer. An Oregon DUI lawyer can assess your case and explain your legal options.

It is important that you educate yourself on Oregon drunk driving laws. This article will explain what you should know if you are charged with a DUI in Oregon.

DUI Oregon Penalties

If you are charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, you may face severe punishment, including fines, license suspension and jail time. The severity of the punishment varies depending on a number of factors including:

  • How many DUI offenses you have had in the past
  • Whether a child under 18 and at least three years younger than the driver was in the vehicle at the time of the offense
  • Your blood-alcohol content (BAC)

BAC is the measurement of alcohol in one's bloodstream.

The penalties for a first-time DUI Oregon offender are:

  • Two days to one year in jail or 80 hours of community service.
  • A minimum fine of $1,000. If BAC is .15 or greater, the fine minimum jumps to $2,000. If a child is in the vehicle, the fine can be as high as $10,000.
  • License suspension for one year.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for one year after license suspension. This device disables a car from starting unless the driver passes a BAC test.
  • Drug and alcohol program.
  • Participation in the Victim's Impact Panel program.

The penalties for a second-time DUI Oregon offender are:

  • Up to one year in jail.
  • A minimum fine of $1,500. If BAC is .15 or greater, the fine minimum jumps to $2,000. If a child is in the vehicle, the fine can be as high as $10,000.
  • License suspension for three years if the offense is within five years of the previous DUI.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for two years after suspension.
  • Drug and alcohol treatment program.
  • Participation in the Victim's Impact Panel program.

Under Oregon DUI law, a third DUI offense within 10 years of the first two is considered a class C felony. Penalties for this offense include:

  • Up to five years in jail.
  • A minimum fine of $2,000, regardless of BAC. The fine can be as high as $10,000 if there is a child in the vehicle.
  • Permanent revocation of driver's license.
  • Drug and alcohol treatment program.
  • Participation in the Victim's Impact Panel program.

How Is an Oregon DUI Determined?

Whether you were arrested for DUI in Portland, Eugene, Salem or another part of Oregon, the definition for DUI is the same.

If you are caught driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, you will be charged with committing DUI. Oregon law calls this DUI per se. To determine your BAC, the officer may have administered a breathalyzer test at the scene of the arrest. A breathalyzer is a device that can detect your BAC based on the alcohol content in your breath.

Or you may have submitted to a BAC test once you were taken back to the police station. At the police station, BAC testing can be a breath test, a blood test or a chemical test. Failure to comply with testing can result in immediate license suspension under Oregon's implied consent law.

You may also be charged for driving under the influence even if your BAC is under .08. If the officer determines that your driving is significantly impaired due to alcohol, he can still arrest you for committing DUI even if your BAC is less than .08. To determine if your driving is significantly impaired, the officer may subject you to a field sobriety test. This round of tests includes such tasks as standing on one foot, walking in a straight line and following a light with your eyes while keeping your head stationary. Poor performance on these tests could give an officer reason to arrest you on suspicion of committing DUI.

The Oregon DUI Diversion Program

In Oregon, you may be able to bypass some of the more severe DUI penalties by taking part in the Oregon DUI Diversion Program.

The DUI Diversion Program is available for those who:

  • Have never been convicted of a felony DUI offense in Oregon or elsewhere
  • Have no pending charges against them for committing a DUI in Oregon or elsewhere
  • Are not currently participating in a DUI Diversion Program
  • Have no pending charges against them for aggravated vehicular manslaughter, murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide or assault with a motor vehicle
  • In the past 10 years, have not been convicted of committing DUI
  • Had a DUI that did not result in the death of or serious physical injury of another person
  • Did not have a commercial driver's license at the time of the offense
  • Were not operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense

In addition, to participate in this program, you must have made your first scheduled court appearance, and you must file the petition for participation in the diversion program within 30 days of your appearance.

If accepted into the DUI Diversion Program, you can have your DUI dismissed. However, the program requires you to do the following:

  • Pay the required fee to participate in the program
  • Complete an alcohol and drug abuse assessment, and pay for the assessment
  • Complete the recommended treatment program and pay for the program's costs