Oregon Drunk Driving Laws
When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Oregon?
- Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
- Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In Oregon, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
- Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when any amount of alcohol is in their blood.
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Oregon
Under Oregon law, DUI is a Class A misdemeanor, except when the offender has been convicted of DUI at least three times in 10 years prior to the date of the fourth or subsequent offense. In that case, the offender commits a Class C felony. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $6,250, or both. Class C felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $125,000, or both. Despite these potential punishments, the following DUI penalties are mandatory:
- For a first conviction, the minimum fine is $1,000. The driver’s license suspension period is 90 days.
- For a second conviction, the minimum fine is $1,500. The driver’s license suspension period is one year where the commission of the second offense occurred within five years of the first offense.
- For a third or subsequent conviction, the minimum fine is $2,000 if the person is not sentenced to a term of imprisonment. If the third violation occurred within five years of the first and second violations, the driver’s license suspension period is three years. For a fourth conviction within a 10-year period, the offender’s driver’s license will be permanently revoked.
Additional Punishment for DUI While a Passenger Under 18 was in the Vehicle
In addition to other penalties associated with Oregon’s DUI laws, if an offender commits a DUI while a passenger under 18 was in the vehicle and the minor passenger was at least three years younger than the driver, the maximum fine is $10,000.
When a person is convicted of DUI in Oregon, the Department of Transportation requires that an approved ignition interlock device be installed and used in any vehicle operated by the offender for the first one year after the ending date of the driver’s license suspension or revocation period. A second offense requires a two year ignition lock.
In addition to other penalties that may apply under Oregon’s DUI laws, a commercial driver will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year if he or she is convicted of DUI or commercial DUI for the first time. If, however, the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is at least three years. A commercial driver who commits a second DUI or commercial DUI will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life.
Drivers Under 18
DMV, when ordered by the court, may suspend a person's driving privileges if the person is between 13-20 years of age (at the time of the offense) and is convicted of an offense involving the possession, use or abuse of alcohol. The order denying driving privileges (suspension) will remain in effect for: One year or until the person turns 17 years old, whichever is longer, if it is the first order; or one year or until the person turns 18 years old, whichever is longer, if it is the second or subsequent order.
Statutory Liability for Providing Alcohol to Minors and Visibly Intoxicated Persons
Under Oregon law, licensed drinking establishments and social hosts are liable to third persons injured by a person under 21 who obtained alcohol from the drinking establishment or social host if it is shown that a reasonable person would have determined that identification should have been requested or that identification presented by the minor was altered.
Licensed drinking establishments and social hosts are also liable to third persons injured by adults who were served or provided alcohol while visibly intoxicated. An action for injuries caused by an intoxicated patron or guest may be brought against the alcohol provider only if the injured person gives formal notice of a claim in writing that contains a statement that a claim is being made; that provides a description of the time, place, and circumstances giving rise to the claim; and that provides the claimant’s name and mailing address. Additionally, if the claim is made for damages for wrongful death, the notice must be given within one year after the date of death or within one year after the date that the claimant discovers or should have discovered the existence of the claim. If the claim is made for injuries other than wrongful death, the notice must be given within 180 days after the injury occurs or within 180 days after the claimant discovers or reasonably should have discovered the existence of the claim. The time limits for giving notice do not including the period during which the claimant is under 18.
Criminal Penalties for Providing Alcohol to Minors and Visibly Intoxicated Persons
Under this statute, a person who sells or provides alcohol to a minor or to a visibly intoxicated person is subject to criminal penalties. This statute applies to an adult who knowingly allows a person under 21 who is not the adult’s child to drink alcohol on the adult’s property. Under this law, a person who sells or gives alcohol to a minor or to a visibly intoxicated person commits a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $6,250, up to one year in prison, or both. At a minimum, a first time offender will be fined $500; a second-time offender will be fined $1,500; and a third-time offender will be fined $1,000 and be imprisoned for at least 30 days. A person who violates this law by permitting a minor to drink at his or her home, without the presence of the minor's guardian, is subject to a maximum fine of $2,000 for the first offense. For a second or subsequent violation, the minimum fine is $1,000.
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Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.