“Is a DUI a felony in Oregon?”
It depends on your record. DUI laws vary wildly throughout the country, but as of 2015, no state charges DUI as a felony for a first offense. This includes Oregon. Contrast that with our neighbor to the north where a Canadian DUI can be a felony for the first offense. Also, Oregon does not have varying degrees of DUI such as “DUI in the First Degree” vs. “DUI in the Second Degree” so, for example, while the crime of “Assault in the Fourth Degree” is typically a misdemeanor and “Assault in the First Degree” is a felony, felony DUI in Oregon is not charged as a different degree but rather as a different crime seriousness. Lastly, while some states have characterizations such as “Aggravated DUI” or “Extreme DUI,” Oregon does not.
“When is a DUI a felony in Oregon?”
A DUI in Oregon can be charged as a felony when there are prior convictions. It’s important to note that a prior DUI offense in Oregon may not be counted as a conviction for felony DUI calculations in Oregon because of Oregon’s DUI diversion program.
Felony DUI in Oregon Under ORS 813.010
Historically, under ORS 813.010, a DUI in Oregon could not be charged as a felony unless the driver already had three prior convictions for DUI within the last ten years. Because Oregon has a diversion program, this effectively meant that an Oregon driver who participated in a diversion program for their first DUI could actually have four prior arrests for DUI before they’d reach felony exposure. This is due to the fact that a conviction wouldn’t be entered for the first DUI incident, if the driver successfully completed diversion. Felony DUIs under ORS 813.010 still exist as a Class “C” felonies, and carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and fines of up to $125,000.
Felony DUI in Oregon under Ballot Measure 73 (BM73)
In 2010, Oregon voters approved Ballot Measure 73 (BM73) which lowered the number of prior DUI convictions required for charging a felony DUI. Under BM73, a driver can be charged with felony DUI in Oregon if they have two prior convictions for DUI within the last 10 years. As with felony DUI charges per ORS 813.010, this effectively means that a driver could have three prior arrests for DUI before they’d reach felony exposure (assuming they took diversion for the first DUI, successfully completed the program, and therefore the first DUI charge was dismissed). Similar to felony DUI under ORS 813.010, felony DUI under BM73 is a Class “C” felony, and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and fines of up to $125,000. However, unlike felony DUI under ORS 813.010, felony DUI under BM73 carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 90 days in jail– meaning the driver serves every day of it, no exceptions, no credit for time served, no good time, no alternatives, no programs, etc. Lastly, felony DUI under BM73 eliminated the 10-year look-back period once a driver already had a prior conviction for felony DUI, thus all subsequent DUIs committed by that driver would be charged as felonies.
Hire an Attorney Familiar with Felony DUI Charges
If you have been charged with a felony DUI in Oregon, it’s a serious charge. It’s far more serious than a diversion-eligible case, or a misdemeanor DUI. Contact our office immediately to discuss your options. Legal representation by an experienced private defense attorney is expensive, but the penalties for a felony DUI conviction are so great that you’re going to want someone on your side.