The Oregon DUI Law Guide: Is A DUI A Felony In Oregon?
Is DUI a felony in Oregon? Or is it considered a misdemeanor? A DUI is a criminal offense, but whether it is considered a felony or a misdemeanor depends on certain factors which are typically based on how many prior DUI convictions you’ve had.
The legal system can be a complicated, foreign process for a lot of people. We at Kollie Law are here to help you navigate through the DUI laws in Oregon, and make sure your rights are protected.
If you live in the Medford area and you need a DUI attorney, we can help you! We've handled dozens of DUI cases, so we know the best way to help you proceed with your case. Get your free consultation by calling us at 541-227-2266 or click the button below.
What is a DUI?
A DUI, or “driving while under the influence” is when you are caught driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants. These intoxicants include cannabis, controlled substances, inhalants, alcohol, or a combination of any of these. “Under the influence” also means that you can’t drive in a way that adversely affects your mental or physical faculties. Under Oregon DUI laws, the term vehicle includes cars, trucks, bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles, and boats.
DUI vs DWI vs DUII
There are several different terms that refer to driving under the influence.DUI means “driving under the influence”, DWI means “driving while intoxicated”, and DUII means “driving under the influence of intoxicants”. There are different acronyms because different states use different acronyms for their DUI charges. However, they all generally mean “driving while under the influence”. DUII is the official criminal charge in Oregon.
When is a driver considered to be legally drunk in Oregon?
If you’re driving in Oregon, you cannot have.08% or more of blood alcohol content (BAC) in your blood while driving. If you are driving a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), your BAC limit is .04% or more.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the amount of jail time and the fines you can face. A class A misdemeanor has a maximum punishable offense of up to 364 days in prison and a fine of up to $6,250.00, or both. It is important to note, however, that the jail times and fines for a class A misdemeanor DUI vary depending on the number of prior convictions you’ve had. This makes Oregon DUI class A misdemeanor charge unique among other misdemeanors. Mandatory minimum fines and jail time in Oregon is based on how many prior DUIs you’ve had.
First DUI In Oregon
If you are arrested for a first-time DUI offense in Oregon, you may be eligible for the DUI Diversion Program, if you meet certain qualifications. The DUI Diversion Program is a program where you may make an agreement with the court in order to avoid a conviction. It is typically a 12-month program where you are on probation of sorts. During this probation, you must pay a fee to the court, attend drug/alcohol evaluation, attend a Victim Impact Panel class, and complete an alcohol/drug treatment program. During the term of diversion, you will also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed into your vehicle.
One potential downside of the diversion program is that you must plead “guilty” (or no contest) to your DUI charge in order to enter the program. Then, if for whatever reason, you fail to meet the terms of the diversion program, a conviction will be entered and you will be sentenced by the court. Your sentence can include fines, jail time, and a minimum of a one-year driver's license suspension.
However, If you successfully complete the diversion program, no conviction will be entered and your conviction will be dropped. You will likely serve no jail time (other than the initial night you were arrested).
You are only eligible for 1 DUI Diversion every 15 years. If you are arrested for another DUI within 15 years of completing the diversion program, you will be facing your first DUI conviction again.
Ignition Interlock Device
An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a small, handheld breathalyzer for car ignition. It’s installed to prevent you from being able to start your vehicle after drinking alcohol. An IID is small, about the size of a tv remote.
If you are convicted of a DUI in Oregon, you are required by the Department of Transportation to have an approved ignition interlock device installed and used in any of the vehicles you operate. This is required for the first full year after the ending date of your driver’s license suspension or revocation period. A second DUI offense requires a 2-year ignition interlock device.
As we mentioned above, an ignition interlock device is also a requirement when participating in the DUI Diversion Program in Oregon.
Difference between first DUI and first DUI conviction
A common misconception is that your first DUI and your first DUI conviction are the same thing. While it's true that your first DUI could end in conviction, this usually isn’t the case.
Consequences and Penalties of First DUI
There are mandatory minimum jail sentences and fines for a DUI in Oregon. The more prior DUI convictions you have, the more the fines and jail times increase. If you are convicted of a DUI in Oregon, you will face license suspension. Your first conviction will require a 1-year license suspension, 2nd conviction, 2 years, and 3rd offense results in permanent license suspension.
Consequences and penalties for first DUI conviction in Oregon
Your first DUI conviction in Oregon will result in a minimum of 48 hours of jail time or 80 hours of community service. You will also receive a minimum $1000.00 fine and a 1-year license suspension. If your blood alcohol level (BAC) is .15% or above, your fine can range anywhere from $2000.00 to $6250.00 The probation period you receive can be from 12-36 months, depending on which county you were convicted in.
Additional Penalties for DUI While a Passenger Under 18 is with you in the vehicle
If there’s a passenger in your vehicle who is under 18, and that passenger is at least 3 years younger than you, (the driver), then your fine will be a minimum of $10,000.00.
License suspension on a first DUI conviction
The Department of Licensing in Oregon can revoke your driver’s license for 90 days up to a year for driving while under the influence, depending on your particular case. If you were driving a commercial vehicle with a CDL, you would also face a one-year license suspension or revocation. If you were hauling hazardous material in the commercial vehicle, your license suspension period jumps to 3 years.
You may face a separate proceeding with the Oregon DMV or driver’s license department. You have 10 days from the date you receive notice of your license suspension to request a hearing on the pending suspension. If you don’t request the hearing, you could automatically have your license suspended. If you are convicted of the DUI in criminal proceedings, you can face additional suspension time.
Refusal to submit to breath, alcohol or urine test
If you refuse to submit to a breath, alcohol, or urine test, you may face an additional one-year license suspension. The same is true if you fail to appear in a court case in Oregon. Oregon license suspensions typically run consecutively. This means that if you have several license suspensions for different reasons, you have to serve the first offense suspension before you can start the second offense suspension.
A suspension for a refusal plus another suspension for conviction could potentially get your license suspended for 2 years.
Penalties for second DUI in Oregon
If you plead guilty to your second DUI offense within a 10-year period, it is still a class A misdemeanor in the state of Oregon, so you will face the same jail time and community service as with your first offense. The fine, however, is higher with your second offense. It is $1500.00 or $2000.00 if your BAC is .15% or more. If you have a passenger in your car with you at the time of arrest, who is under 18 and 3 or more years younger than you, the $10,000.00 fee applies here as well.
Penalties for third DUI in Oregon
If you are convicted of a 3rd DUI charge in Oregon, the charge will change from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C felony. If you are convicted of the charge, you will face 90 days in jail. If, over the past 10 years, you’ve been convicted of two prior DUIs, your third DUI charge can include up to 5 years in jail.
DUI conviction and immigration status
A DUI conviction can affect your immigration status if you aren’t currently a U.S. citizen. You may be placed in an immigration court proceeding where a judge will decide whether your offense is worthy of deportation. You will also receive a minimum fine of $2000.00.
Liability for Providing Alcohol to Minors and Persons Who Are Visibly Intoxicated
Oregon law prohibits anyone, except a parent or legal, from providing alcohol to a minor or juvenile. A minor is defined as a person who is under the age of 21, and a juvenile is defined as anyone who is under the age of 18. Parents or guardians have the legal right to provide alcohol to their minor child, but only at a private residence when they are accompanying their minor child. A parent or guardian may not provide alcohol to their minor child in a public place, and they can’t transfer to another adult the responsibility of providing alcohol to their child.
If you allow minors, other than your own minor children, to drink alcohol in your home or on your property, you may be issued a criminal citation.
If you, as a social host, permittee, or licensee serve or provide alcohol to minors or to visibly intoxicated individuals, you may be held liable for the damages caused by these individuals away from your home or licensed premises.
Oregon DUI Laws Conclusion
Being charged with a drunk driving offense, or any alcohol-related offense can be a traumatic experience. In the event that you or a loved one is charged with a DUI, you will need experienced legal representation to help you navigate through this process. With years of experience handling hundreds of DUI trials and DMV Hearings, our team at Kollie Law will help you achieve the best results. We will immediately start to prepare your defense, help you reinstate your driving privileges, and work to mitigate fines and penalties. We service Medford, Oregon, and surrounding areas. Call us today for your free consultation!
We don't serve the Portland area but if you need a DUI lawyer we have two recommendations for you. We recommend Powell Law in Beaverton and Trotter Law in Hillsboro. Both serve the entire Portland area and have a great deal of experience.