Oregon DUI laws include a zero-tolerance policy for the use of alcohol by drivers under Twenty One. 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 be charged with DUI.
The presence of any amount of a controlled substance is also grounds for a DUI charge. DUI charges carry harsher penalties than those of a standard DUI. Oregon does have a limited program that permits the 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 DUI 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 constitute 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 a 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.
What Is The Legal Alcohol Limit In Oregon?
Alcohol-related driving convictions in Oregon are designated as driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) offenses. Charges are typically brought against individuals who are found to have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08 percent. This is the same legal alcohol limit as that in states throughout the U.S.
In addition to charges stemming from a BAC reading over the legal limit, a person may be charged merely on the basis that a police officer witnessed signs of impairment.
The legal alcohol limit of .08 percent applies to passenger motorists over age 21. Other types of drivers, however, are subject to stricter BAC levels. For instance:
- Commercial vehicle drivers may be charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants upon registering a BAC of .04 percent on a breath test.
- People not of legal drinking age can have charges brought in the event there is any trace of alcohol in the breath or blood.
DUII penalties can vary depending on the type and severity of the offense. Among the punishments typically administered, however, are fines, jail time, a license suspension and required attendance in a DUI education program.
Ignition Interlock Requirements In Oregon
An additional penalty people convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants may face is mandatory compliance with ignition interlock law. In fact, Oregon has among the strictest requirements concerning ignition interlock devices (IIDs).
The law states:
- Installation of an IID is necessary to have a driver’s license reinstated.
- A first-time DUII offender must install an ignition interlock device for at least one year following reinstatement.
- A repeat offender must have an IID for at least two years.
Oregon DUI Penalties
In Oregon as in all 50 states, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or exceeding .08 percent can result in a DUI conviction, which carries with it several potential penalties, including license suspension, jail time and fines. Oregon DUI penalties increase in severity for repeat offenses, and the look-back period for repeat offenses is five years.
Oregon DUI penalties may also include court-ordered drug and alcohol education or treatment, but they do not include vehicle confiscation. Oregon does require the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for all DUI convictions, even a first offense, per a 2007 law, and in 2011, IID installation became required in the vehicles of those who receive diversion agreements as part of their sentences as well.
The state adopts a zero-tolerance policy in regard to minors driving under the influence; anyone under the age of 21 will receive a DUI conviction for being found with a BAC of anything exceeding .00 percent. Oregon also does not allow plea bargains for the lesser charge of reckless driving while intoxicated, also known as a “wet reckless” plea.
Penalties for a 1st DUI offense
Oregon DUI penalties for a 1st conviction include a mandatory 90-day suspension of the offender’s license along with minimum jail time of two days. Further jail time, up to one year, may be assigned. Hardship permits are available to allow convicted offenders to get to and from work or engage in other limited activities as determined by the courts. Ignition interlock devices are a required penalty in Oregon; they are to be installed after the license suspension period ends. IIDs are mandatory for a year after the suspension ends for first offenses. Potential penalties also include fines of at least $1,000.
Penalties for a 2nd DUI offense
A second DUI conviction carries a mandatory license suspension of one year, and an IID is required for two years after the suspension period ends. There are no minimum jail time requirements for second DUI offenses in Oregon, but potential jail time up to one year may be assigned by the court. Mandatory community service and alcohol education or treatment programs may be assigned in place of a jail sentence. Potential penalties also include fines of at least $1,500.
Penalties for Violating Oregon’s Implied Consent Law
Implied consent laws, present in every state’s statutes in some form or another, entail that by operating a vehicle, you automatically consent to a chemical analysis of your blood, breath or urine if an officer has reasonable cause to suspect that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Refusal to submit to chemical analysis of the officer’s choosing will result in an obligatory license suspension and potential fines. A first offense will result in a one-year license suspension and potential fines of $500 to $1,000 at the discretion of the court. Second and third offenses carry a three-year suspension period and similar potential fines.
Three or more DUI convictions within a period of 10 years are considered a felony offense under Oregon law. A felony DUI is punishable by permanent license suspension, a maximum sentence of five years and fines of no less than $2,000 if the person’s sentence does not include imprisonment.