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Oregon Legislature stays tough on DUII

Oregon continues to stay tough with its laws against driving under the influence of intoxicants. Following are some of the highlights of changes made to Oregon's DUII laws by the 2009 Legislature. The list was compiled and summarized by Deena Ryerson of the Oregon Department of Justice.

  • HB 3508 amends ORS 163.165 to make Assault III involving a DUII a Class B felony instead of a Class C felony. In addition, the crime seriousness level moves from a 6 to an 8 on the grid. The bill took effect July 1.
  • HB 2426 amends ORS 813.010 to impose an increased minimum fine of $2,000 for a person convicted of DUII with a blood alcohol level of .15 percent or greater. The fine is in addition to current fines related to a DUII conviction. The bill will take effect Jan. 1.
  • HB 3194 includes prior juvenile convictions for driving under the influence of intoxicants as a predicate for felony DUII. Therefore, a person who has three prior convictions for DUII within 10 years, including prior juvenile adjudications, can be charged with a Class C felony. The bill will take effect Jan. 1.
  • HB 3295 amends ORS 419C.225 to require diversion agreements for persons younger than 18 years of age to include a provision that the youth will not use intoxicants during the period of the diversion agreement (not just in conjunction with operating a motor vehicle). The bill will take effect Jan. 1.
  • HB 2238 amends ORS 813.130/813.520 and increases the time of ineligibility for a person to receive a hardship permit or reinstatement of driving privileges from one year to three years if the defendant refused a breath or blood test and has a prior DUII. The bill will take effect Jan. 1.
  • HB 2331 amends ORS 813.215, extending the time to 15 years in which a person is ineligible to enter diversion when the person has a prior DUII conviction. Under current law, if a person has not entered into a diversion agreement within 10 years of the offense date, he or she may be eligible for diversion for DUII. Further, the measure provides that a person is not eligible for another diversion if the person has been convicted of a crime involving a motor vehicle in the 15 years preceding their second or subsequent diversion. The bill will take effect Jan. 1.

Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a regular Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or e-mail cochradc@jacksoncounty.org.