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I was charged with a d.u.i. in Oregon. What's next?

Portland, OR |
Attorney answers 8


You need to talk to a DUII attorney as soon as possible to get specifics about your case. Generally speaking folks who get cited for their first DUII in Oregon are offered diversion. For some people it is a great option, for others not so much. Only an in depth conversation with a qualified attorney will help you make that call.

Be sure to ask for an implied consent hearing through the DMV as soon as possible in an effort to keep your license!


You should speak to an attorney about the details of your case rather than posting them here. In general, it seems unlikely that you would "pass" the field sobriety tests but then be given a breathalyzer.

If you don't have a commercial driver's license and there are no other charges, then you likely will qualify for diversion. This would allow you to go through a one year program where you take alcohol abuse classes and go through some other requirements, and if you succeed then at the end of the year the case would be dismissed.

If you ended up convicted, you would likely be looking at the following for a first time DUII conviction: 2 days jail or 80 hours of community service, a $1000 fine plus other court costs and fees, probation with a requirement that you do an alcohol evaluation and follow any treatment recommends, and a 1 year driver's license suspension.

It is best to speak to an attorney before taking any action on your case. If you qualify, the court will appoint you a public defender. You can always find an attorney by searching on this website, or by visiting the Oregon State Bar. Good luck.

Morgan Wren Long
Dore Long, LLC
(503) 683-3642

Richard E Oberdorfer

Richard E Oberdorfer


Just a quick note -- sometimes the jail piece for a first conviction is more than 2 days. In Multnomah County, Judge McShane's video says 5 days is the average jail for a first conviction, and ultimately "it depends," on how badly you screwed up Diversion or the conduct of your trial. But in any event, you need a good lawyer, now.


Just one more note: you have 10 days from your arrest date to request a DMV Hearing to try to avoid the license suspension coming down the pike. You need a good lawyer for that hearing. Call one and set an office conference ASAP.


As mentioned, you need to contact an attorney and go the DMV hearing. For the criminal case, at the arraignment you will find out if you are eligible for Diversion or if the state is objecting to Diversion entry. You should be able to get a copy of the police reports prior to the DMV hearing. Review the police reports with an attorney and discuss what your options are so that you can obtain a "best case scenario".


DUI in Oregon is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 365 days in jail and/or a fine of $6,250. Don't worry, it is unlikely you will receive such a sentence. In all likelihood you will qualify for Diversion, which is an alternative to your standard course of prosecution. The district attorney should advise you as to whether or not you qualify for diversion at your first appearance....make sure you don't miss you first appearance. You may lose your ability to get into diversion if you do. Diversion requires that you enter a plea of guilty to the allegation of DUI, you are required to get an alcohol evaluation, and complete any recommended treatment, pay the costs of diversion, and stay out of trouble for a year. Provided you do those things, the DUI charge will dismissed at the end of the year. If you don't comply with the conditions, the court enters your plea of guilty and sentences you for a first offense DUI which carries with it a 2 minimum for jail time. Another thing to think about is that you only have 10 days to file a request for a DMV hearing to contest the suspension of your driving privileges. I would encourage you to hire a lawyer for this part of the case. If you fail to file the request for the hearing within the prescribed time, you will lose your privilege to drive for a period of 90 days.


Just to add to all of these answers. I usually advise clients to request that the DMV hearing be held IN PERSON. If that is not requested it is presumed to be over the phone.

Nothing discussed should be taken as legal advice. Posting details of your case on an open forum could be used against you, so use extreme caution. The best way to get legal advice is to consult privately with an attorney.


As with anyone charged with a crime, you need to seek qualified representation. You can apply for a court-appointed lawyer but if you don't qualify financially, you need to seek representation elsewhere.

You may have defenses to the case but only a qualified criminal defense attorney can determine that after speaking with you and analyzing the police reports. If you do not have any viable defenses, you may be eligble for diversion which is a process by which you plead guilty in exchange for entry into the program. If you complete the program successfully, which normally includes going to a victim's panel (one night class), getting an evaluation and following through with any treatment recommended by the evaluator (time and expense varies), and paying the court costs. While this is expensive, it is a good result if you can complete the program because upon successful completion, your guilty plea is retracted and the case is dismissed.

If you fight the case and lose, or fail to complete diversion successfully, you will end up convicted of a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum fine, license suspension, and (potentially) a night or two in jail.

You may also have an ability to appeal the administrative license suspension if you send in a request with 10 days of your arrest.

Again, you need to seek counsel as soon as practicable.

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What's next? You're going to get a lot of solicitations in the mail from lawyers who want you to hire them. You're going to have some court dates and maybe a DMV hearing if you ask for one (you should).

At some point your case will resolve, either with a trial or with some plea deal that you'll know the terms. Maybe diversion.

What's the worst case scenario? You mess everything up, you fail diversion and/or lose at trial and you get convicted and put on probation. During probation you keep messing up (either getting new charges like Driving While Suspended and/or DUII) and finally the judge gives you the maximum year in jail. That is the worst case scenario. Very few people actually have that happen. Most people successfully complete diversion and never come back into the system.

All the other answers that I read are also correct.

Please note that the matter discussed above is not intended to constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Questioners who post questions are advised to not discuss their matter in public on the internet and that doing so may waive attorney-client confidentiality that they would otherwise have. The foregoing is posted as a public service in order to educate the public about how laws work and function.