Written by attorney Richard E Oberdorfer

Oregon Lifetime License Revocation -- Petition for Reinstatement, 10 Years Later

January 1, 2004, marked the beginning of Oregon’s experiment with “lifetime license revocation" for a third DUII conviction. Some people are mistakenly told that it’s a “10-year suspension." It’s not, it’s a lifetime revocation — with a possibility of petitioning for your license back after 10 years. January 1, 2014, is not far away — meaning some folks will start petitioning to get their driving privileges back.

It’s no easy row to hoe. In short, you must prove by clear and convincing evidence that you’re no longer a threat. Technically, that you are “rehabilitated," completed treatment, anddo “not pose a threat to the safety of the public." ORS 809.235(4). It’s pretty tough to prove a negative. I think the best shot would be — with a good lawyer — showing that you’ve got 10 years of stable sobriety, an AA sponsor, and community and family connections who need you to drive. That’s an ideal candidate — but anyone with 10 years of fairly blameless history may have a shot. As lawyers we should be prepared to start marshaling evidence for these petitions now, and for contact from folks who have served ten years of a license revocation.

ORS 809.235(2) provides some of the nuts and bolts:

“(c) The district attorney of the county in which the person’s driving privileges were revoked shall be named and served as the respondent in the petition. (3) The court shall hold a hearing on a petition filed in accordance with subsection (2) of this section. In determining whether to grant the petition, the court shall consider: (a) The nature of the offense for which driving privileges were revoked. (b) The degree of violence involved in the offense. (c) Other criminal and relevant noncriminal behavior of the petitioner both before and after the conviction that resulted in the revocation. (d) The recommendation of the person’s parole officer, which shall be based in part on a psychological evaluation ordered by the court to determine whether the person is presently a threat to the safety of the public. (e) Any other relevant factors. (4) The court shall order a petitioner’s driving privileges restored if, after a hearing described in subsection (3) of this section, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner: (a) Is rehabilitated; (b) Does not pose a threat to the safety of the public; and (c) If the sentence for the crime for which the petitioner’s driving privileges were revoked required the petitioner to complete an alcohol or drug treatment program, has completed an alcohol or drug treatment program in a facility approved by the Director of the Oregon Health Authority or a similar program in another jurisdiction. (5) Upon receiving a court order to restore a person’s driving privileges, the department may reinstate driving privileges in accordance with ORS 809.390, except that the department may not reinstate driving privileges of any person whose privileges are revoked under this section until the person complies with future responsibility filings."

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