Oregon DUI Laws – Driving Under the Influence

Oregon DUI Laws – Driving Under the Influence 2017-07-23T17:25:20+00:00
Oregon DUI Laws

Oregon DUI laws include the .08 standard, but also the question of whether a driver is “adversely affected to a noticeable or perceptible degree by the use of intoxicating liquor.”

Oregon DUI laws prohibit the use of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants. Aside from the usual “drunk driving” phrase, people sometimes refer to Oregon DUI as DWI (“Driving While Impaired” or “Driving While Intoxicated”) or DUI (“Driving Under the Influence”). Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants in Oregon is typically abbreviated and referred to as “DUI” rather than “DUII.” Most people pronounce the charge “dooey” or “dewey.” In many other states, the same crime is referred to as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Operating Under the Influence (OUI), or Operating While Impaired (OWI).

What you Need to Know about Oregon DUI Law: It’s Complicated.

Oregon DUI laws are more complicated than most people realize. The specific prohibitions against impaired driving is codified in what are called the “Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS)” and “Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs).” However, there is also a great deal of case law that concerns Oregon DUI cases– primarily from the Oregon Court of Appeals and Oregon Supreme Court. There is also Federal case law from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States). Therefore, when we talk about Oregon DUI laws generally, there is a lot more going on there than merely one or two statutes.

Four Theories of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants in Oregon

The most common legal theory drivers have heard of is the .08 BAC standard. The government proceeds on a theory that a given driver’s blood alcohol level (as measured directly by blood draw and testing, or by breath test extrapolation) was a .08 or greater, and that at a .08 level, everyone is impaired or under the influence.

A second legal theory is that– whatever the driver’s breath or blood alcohol content– the driver was adversely affected to a noticeable or perceptible degree by the use of intoxicating liquor. This theory could be used in cases where the government doesn’t know the driver’s blood alcohol level (in the case of a breath test refusal, for example) or the driver’s breath or blood alcohol is actually under a .08 but the government still believes the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

A third legal theory is that the driver was under the influence of controlled substances only, and the driver was adversely affected to a noticeable or perceptible degree by the use of controlled substances.

A fourth legal theory is that the driver was under the influence of a combination of alcohol and controlled substances, and the driver was adversely affected to a noticeable or perceptible degree by the use of intoxicating liquor and controlled substances.

Oregon does not have different degrees of DUI (e.g. there is no Driving Under the Influence in the First Degree vs Driving Under the Influence in the Second Degree). In some unusual cases however, a driver could be charged with Attempted Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.

The detailed Oregon Revised Statute for DUI is as follows:

ORS 813.010. Driving under the influence of intoxicants; penalties

(1) A person commits the offense of driving while under the influence of intoxicants if the person drives a vehicle while the person:
(a) Has 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the blood of the person as shown by chemical analysis of the breath or blood of the person made under ORS 813.100, 813.140 or 813.150;
(b) Is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a controlled substance or an inhalant; or
(c) Is under the influence of any combination of intoxicating liquor, an inhalant and a controlled substance.
(2) A person may not be convicted of driving while under the influence of intoxicants on the basis of being under the influence of a controlled substance or an inhalant unless the fact that the person was under the influence of a controlled substance or an inhalant is pleaded in the accusatory instrument and is either proved at trial or is admitted by the person through a guilty plea.
(3) A person convicted of the offense described in this section is subject to ORS 813.020 in addition to this section.
(4) Except as provided in subsection (5) of this section, the offense described in this section, driving while under the influence of intoxicants, is a Class A misdemeanor and is applicable upon any premises open to the public.
(5)(a) Driving while under the influence of intoxicants is a Class C felony if the current offense was committed in a motor vehicle and the person has, at least three times in the 10 years prior to the date of the current offense, been convicted of, or been found to be within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for an act that if committed by an adult would be, any of the following offenses in any combination:
(A) Driving while under the influence of intoxicants in violation of:
(i) This section; or
(ii) The statutory counterpart to this section in another jurisdiction.
(B) A driving under the influence of intoxicants offense in another jurisdiction that involved the impaired driving or operation of a vehicle, an aircraft or a boat due to the use of intoxicating liquor, a controlled substance, an inhalant or any combination thereof.
(C) A driving offense in another jurisdiction that involved operating a vehicle, an aircraft or a boat while having a blood alcohol content above that jurisdiction’s permissible blood alcohol content.
(b) For the purposes of paragraph (a) of this subsection, a conviction or adjudication for a driving offense in another jurisdiction based solely on a person under 21 years of age having a blood alcohol content that is lower than the permissible blood alcohol content in that jurisdiction for a person 21 years of age or older does not constitute a prior conviction or adjudication.
(6) In addition to any other sentence that may be imposed, the court shall impose one or more of the following fines on a person convicted of driving while under the influence of intoxicants as follows:
(a) For a person’s first conviction, a minimum of $1,000.
(b) For a person’s second conviction, a minimum of $1,500.
(c) For a person’s third or subsequent conviction, a minimum of $2,000 if the person is not sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
(d) For a person who drives a vehicle while the person has 0.15 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the blood of the person as shown by chemical analysis of the breath or blood of the person made under ORS 813.100, 813.140 or 813.150, a minimum of $2,000.
(7) Notwithstanding ORS 161.635, $10,000 is the maximum fine that a court may impose on a person convicted of driving while under the influence of intoxicants if:
(a) The current offense was committed in a motor vehicle; and
(b) There was a passenger in the motor vehicle who was under 18 years of age and was at least three years younger than the person driving the motor vehicle.

ORS 813.011. Driving under influence of intoxicants; repeat offenses; class C felony; mandatory minimum sentence

(1) Driving under the influence of intoxicants under ORS 813.010 shall be a Class C felony if the defendant has been convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants in violation of ORS 813.010, or its statutory counterpart in another jurisdiction, at least two times in the 10 years prior to the date of the current offense.
(2) Once a person has been sentenced for a Class C felony under this section, the 10-year time limitation is eliminated and any subsequent episode of driving under the influence of intoxicants shall be a Class C felony regardless of the amount of time which intervenes.
(3) Upon conviction for a Class C felony under this section, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of incarceration of 90 days, without reduction for any reason.

Criminal Defense for Oregon DUI Laws

If you’ve been arrested or cited under Oregon’s DUI laws, contact an experienced Oregon DUI attorney immediately. Many of the decisions that need to be made in DUI cases need to be made quickly. Most Oregon DUI attorneys do not charge for initial consultations, and can give you a complimentary strategy session to get you started.