Being charged with drunk driving can be a confusing and frustrating experience. DUII charges are common in Oregon and across the country. Even if you have a good driving record and you’ve only had a drink or two, if a police officer pulls you over and believes you were driving erratically or smells alcohol on your breath, you may end up charged with a DUII that could have serious consequences on your life.

A DUII generally means you’re facing Class A misdemeanor charges. If this is your first drunk-driving offense, this can mean you’re looking at fines between $1,000 and $6,250, up to a year in jail, and a driver’s license suspension. Fortunately, as a first-time DUII offender in Oregon, you have another option. You can pursue a DUII diversion, which allows you to get the charge dismissed if you fulfill certain requirements that are mandated by the court.

Keep reading to learn about Oregon’s DUII diversion program, what you can do to defend your rights and interests in the event you’re charged with drunk driving, and when to contact a lawyer.

What is the DUII diversion program?

Under Oregon law, if you’re a first-time offender and meet all relevant criteria, you may be approved for diversion. The DUII diversion program involves entering into a contract with the court that lasts about 12 months and, if completed, your DUII charge will be dismissed.

It’s important to note that, even though your case will be dismissed upon successful completion of the program, your record may still show your arrest and failure to pass a breath test.

What requirements do you have to meet to be eligible for DUII diversion?

requirements to be eligible for DUII diversion russell law group

In order to participate in Oregon’s DUII diversion program, you will initially be required to enter a plea of no contest – even though the charge will be dismissed after one year if you successfully complete the program.

To be eligible to participate, you must:

  • Have no other pending DUII/DUI charges
  • Have no DUII/DUI convictions within the past 15 years
  • Not have participated in a DUII/DUI diversion program within the past 15 years
  • Not held a commercial license or permit or have been driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest
  • Never have been convicted of a felony DUII

What are the DUII diversion requirements in Oregon?

If you’re eligible for the program, you must file your petition with the court within 30 days of being charged with a DUII in order to request diversion. You’ll also be charged a filing fee and will be responsible for any additional expenses related to your diversion, including evaluation costs, treatment costs, an ignition interlock device (IID), etc.

To complete the program you must:

  • Receive a drug and alcohol evaluation
  • Complete a treatment program, if recommended
  • Attend a victim’s impact panel
  • Abstain from using intoxicants including alcohol and marijuana while on diversion
  • Have an IID (a small breathalyzer that will prevent you from starting your car while under the influence of intoxicants) installed in your vehicle for the duration of the program

What happens if you don’t complete the program?

If for whatever reason, you are unable to successfully complete diversion, you may be convicted of your original charge and sentenced without trial. This could result in significant fines, community service, probation, suspension of your driving privileges, and/or jail time.

When you should contact a defense lawyer

Being arrested and charged with a DUII can be overwhelming and frightening. Having professional legal representation can help you navigate the process and significantly increase your chances of getting a good outcome.

You should contact a lawyer right away. When choosing a defense attorney, look for someone who specializes in Oregon criminal law, knows how prosecutors work, and has experience navigating the complex DUII diversion system.

Work with an Oregon DUII defense attorney you know you can trust

A good Oregon defense attorney will look at the specific details of your case and arrest. At Russell Law Group, our approach to DUII defense is detailed, tenacious, and compassionate. 

We will take the time to understand the ins and outs of your case, look for evidence of procedural errors or errors made by the arresting officer, and do everything we can to help get your charges dropped or get you into the DUII diversion program.

We’re dedicated to helping you get the best possible outcome in your case. Call (541) 777-8032 to get a confidential consultation with an experienced, compassionate criminal defense attorney in Pendleton, Oregon, or contact us online. You’re not alone.