Oregon DUI laws include a zero-tolerance policy for the use of alcohol by drivers under 21. Any amount of alcohol detected in an underage driver, no matter how small, will result in an automatic DUI charge. Commercial vehicle operators may not have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of or more than .04 percent, and all other drivers over the age of 21 may not drive with a blood alcohol content of or exceeding .08 percent, or they to may charged with DUI.
The presence of any amount of a controlled substance is also grounds for a DUII charge. DUII charges carry harsher penalties than those of a standard DUI. Oregon does have a limited program that permits legal medical use of marijuana under certain conditions, but the traffic laws for legal medical patients are no different than they are for the rest of the population. Any amount of marijuana detected in a driver’s system is grounds for a potential DUII charge regardless of their medical status since driving after using the drug is forbidden in the state.
DUI and DUII also both fall under the provisions of Oregon’s habitual offender program. Three or more of any of these offenses within a five-year period results in an automatic suspension of driving privileges for five years.
Oregon is an implied consent state, meaning that the possession and use of a driver’s license constitutes implied consent to be tested for alcohol and controlled substances by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause. Refusal to consent to a test will result in immediate suspension of your driver’s license for a year. You will be issued a temporary restricted license to be used until your court date. Refusing to take a test can be used as evidence in court of DUI, and the potential penalties could be increased.
DUI becomes a Class C felony upon a person’s third offense, according to Oregon DUI laws, if the previous two offenses were committed within the past 10 years. It carries a potential penalty of up to five years in jail, a minimum fine of $2,000, which increases to $10,000 if a child under 18 was in the vehicle at the time, and a permanent revocation of one’s driver’s license. It is possible that a felony DUI offender can be issued a restricted license at the discretion of the judge, but he or she will be mandated to use an ignition interlock device for three years as of the date of issuance. Any additional DUI committed within 10 years of the first felony DUI is also a felony and will result in permanent revocation of the person’s driver’s license with no restricted license issued and no chance of appeal.
Changes to Oregon DUI Laws
Oregon House Bill 3075 went into effect on June 26, 2011, and made several amendments to existing DUI laws, particularly those involving ignition interlock devices. The amendments to sections of ORS 813 stipulate that anyone arrested for a DUI, regardless of conviction or hardship status, must have an ignition interlock device installed for a minimum of nine months.
Effective Jan. 14, two exemptions apply to IID requirements for DUII diversion cases. Individuals who can demonstrate hardship due to medical reasons and those who must use company vehicles to perform their work were deemed exempt from mandatory IID installation, according to House Bill 2116.
Currently awaiting the state governor’s signature is House Bill 2117, which enforces a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that so-called “exigency exceptions” to obtaining a warrant for “search or seizure in the case of a breath or blood test” were not sufficient. The bill reasserts the requirement for obtaining a warrant for such matters as well as officers’ rights to ask drivers suspected of DUI to perform such tests.