Oregon’s DUII Diversion Program Can Reduce Your Penalties

Eligibility and completion requirements and the consequences of failing to successfully complete the DUII diversion.

By , Attorney · Thomas Jefferson School of Law

For many people charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) in Oregon, the only options are pleading guilty or going to trial. Oregon law imposes mandatory minimum penalties for DUII convictions and prohibits plea bargaining. However, certain DUII offenders are allowed to enter a diversion program.

This article discusses Oregon's DUII diversion program, including eligibility and completion requirements, and the consequences of violating the terms of a diversion agreement.

Who Is Eligible for Oregon's DUII Diversion Program?

A DUII offender is eligible for the diversion program if the current offense did not involve injuries or deaths to another person and the offender:

  • has never been convicted of a felony DUII
  • has no other DUII charge pending and has not been convicted of a DUII offense in the past 15 years
  • is not currently participating in a DUII diversion program or similar alcohol/drug program and has not participated in such a program in the past 15 years
  • has not been convicted in the past 15 years and has no charges pending for aggravated vehicular homicide, murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or assault that resulted from the operation of a motor vehicle, and
  • did not have commercial driving privileges and was not operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the offense.

However, a person who participated in an alcohol/drug program within the last 15 years is not disqualified from participating in a DUII diversion if the prior program was entered as a result of a charge for a minor in possession of alcohol.

Oregon's DUII Diversion Program Requirements

To enter the diversion program, the defendant must plead guilty or no contest to the DUII charge. The court doesn't enter the guilty plea or no contest plea, but instead, allows the defendant one year to complete the diversion requirements. The offender must file a petition requesting diversion within 30 days of the first court appearance.

Successful completion of the diversion program—and the dismissal of the DUII charge that follows—generally requires the defendant to:

  • pay a $490 diversion fee, restitution (if any), and court-appointed attorney fees (if any)
  • complete an alcohol and drug abuse assessment and pay $150 to the agency doing the assessment
  • complete the recommended treatment program and pay the costs of treatment (the program must include a minimum of four sessions over four weeks and 12 to 20 hours of substance abuse education)
  • attend a one-day victim impact panel (VIP) and pay the fee ($5 to $50)
  • not use intoxicants, including alcohol and marijuana, during the term of the diversion agreement except for religious reasons and as directed by a valid prescription, and
  • install an ignition interlock device (IID) in all vehicles operated during the term of the diversion agreement (when the person has driving privileges) and pay the installation and maintenance costs.

Participants must also keep the court informed of their up-to-date mailing address.

Failing to Complete or Violating the Terms of a DUII Diversion

If the defendant fails to successfully complete or violates the terms of the diversion, the court will terminate the diversion. The court will hold a hearing where the defendant can "show cause" why the court should not terminate the diversion. The defendant will be convicted of DUII and sentenced without a trial if the defendant:

  • fails to fulfill the terms of the agreement by the end of the diversion period
  • violates the terms of the diversion agreement, or
  • is charged with a DUII or open container offense during the diversion period

A defendant may file a motion to extend the diversion period for 180 days. The motion must be filed within the last 30 days of the diversion period and will only be granted if the court finds the defendant has made a good faith effort to complete the program and the remaining requirements can be completed within 180 days.

If the diversion is terminated, the defendant will likely face the mandatory penalties for a first DUII conviction.

Benefits of Oregon's DUII Diversion Program

A major benefit of successfully completing the diversion program is the DUII charge is dismissed and no conviction results. (However, an arrest will still be on record and an offender's driving record will reflect a chemical test failure or refusal.)

Another benefit of the DUII diversion program is that the court won't suspend the defendant's driving privileges. A first DUII conviction generally results in a one-year license suspension. The DMV may still administratively suspend the driver's license pursuant to the state's implied consent laws. But the administrative suspension will typically be just for 90 days. (Get more information about administrative versus court suspensions.)

A defendant who successfully completes the DUII diversion program will also avoid other mandatory penalties, including jail time, community service, and fines.

Talk to an Attorney

Oregon's DUII laws are complex, and the consequences of a DUII can be serious. If you have been arrested for DUII, you should contact a DUII attorney in your area. A qualified DUII lawyer can help you understand how the law applies to the facts of your case.

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