Will my license be suspended for a DUI or a diversion? How long is a DUI suspension of driving priveleges? How do I get a hardship permit?
It is important to know that there are two different systems at play when you receive a DUI charge in Oregon: the DMV, and the criminal court. If you are arrested for a DUI and fail a breath test, then under most scenarios, you will lose your license for 90 days. You will be eiligible for a hardship permit after 30 days of your suspension. Typically, the police will give you a yellow form with a temporary permit after you fail a breath test. This permit will allow you to drive for 30 more days before the 90 day suspension begins. The consequences for refusing a breath test are more serious. If you refused your test, then your license will be suspended for a full year. The same temporary permit rule applies, and you will have 30 days to get your affairs in order. After that, you will be the suspension of driving privileges will begin. If you are suspended for a year, then you must wait 90 days before applying for a hardship permit.
If you are convicted of a DUI in an Oregon Criminal Court, then there is a seperate suspension of driving privileges that is part of the mandatory sentence. Note that entering diversion is not a conviction. If you are convicted of a first-time DUI then you will lose your license for one year. You may apply for a hardship permit after 90 days. If you have a prior DUI conviction from within the past five years then you will lose your license for three years. You may apply for a hardship permit in this scenario after 90 days. Third-time DUI convictions result in lifetime revocation of your driving privileges. However, you may apply to the court to get your license back after 10 years in this case. There are several rules modifying or tweaking the above rules depending on your criminal history, but 90% of the cases we see fall under these rules.
If you are suspended for failing or refusing a breath test, then you can challenge the DMV suspension if you request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest. There is no consequence for fighting your suspension at the DMV and losing. Doing so does not disqualify you from any programs available in the criminal courts, as it is a seperate system. In many cases, however, I find this hearing to be a waste of your resources. The bar is very low for the state to prove your refusal or failure, and I only recommend challenging this suspension if there is a legitimate legal or factual issue.
Henry LeSueur has been successful getting both 90 day and 1 year license suspensions dismissed. The reason for the initial stop can invalidate a suspension in some circumstances because an officer must have probable cause that you violated a traffic law. In one case, a suspension was thrown out because the officer’s reason for the stop was failure to signal. Henry won that case by proving that, in fact, Oregon law did not require the use of a turn signal in that instance. Henry has also invalidated suspensions due to the officer’s inadvertent mistake on the implied consent combined report. In other instances, the police officer’s failure to appear at the DMV hearing may be sufficient to invalidate the suspension. Because the consequences of a license suspension are serious and often jeopardize one’s employment it is a very important aspect of any DUI case.