What is Oregon DUI diversion? How long or how many weeks is the diversion program? Can I drink alcohol on diversion? How much does diversion cost?
Why Should I Consider Diversion?
If you successfully complete Diversion your DUI charge will be dismissed. This is the best possible outcome for someone who is charged with a DUI. The only other way to get a DUI charge dismissed is to defeat the charge at trial. Trial is stressful, expensive and risky. Attorney fees alone for a case that goes to trial are $5,000 with our firm, but attorney fees for a case that goes through diversion are only $1,500.
If you are convicted of a DUI after a trial, you will face mandatory jail time, fines up to $6,250 and a one-year license suspension. Diversion costs $490 and does not involve a license suspension or jail time. A DUI conviction will result in 2 years of probation, during which you cannot consume alcohol. You cannot consume alcohol during Diversion either, but Diversion only lasts one year. The treatment required by Diversion, including urinalysis tests, is typically only three months in duration.
If you are convicted of a DUI you will need an ignition interlock device (“IID”) installed in your vehicle for one year after the conclusion of your one-year license suspension. You must also have an IID installed during your one-year diversion period, however, if you do not have any negative reports from the device the court will allow you to remove the device early after only 6 months.
Am I eligible for Diversion?
Most people who are charged with their first DUI are eligible for the diversion program. Anyone to whom the following applies is disqualified from Diversion.
- Anyone who participated in a program similar to Diversion within 15 years,
- was convicted of a DUI in the past 15 years,
- was ever convicted of a Felony DUI,
- caused “physical injury” to another person during their DUI offense,
- holds a commercial driver license, or
- was operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the offense.
What Fees Do I Pay While In Diversion?
$490 Court Fees
$150 Evaluation Fee
$50 Victim’s Impact Panel Fee
What Requirements Do I Need To Complete In Diversion
- Complete an Alcohol Assessment
- Complete Recommended Treatment
- Attend a Victims Impact Panel
- Not Consume Any Alcohol For One Year
- Install an Ignition Interlock Device
- Pay the Required Fees
- Not Driving Without a Valid License and Insurance
What is Alcohol Treatment?
Alcohol treatment will vary based on the provider, however, all treatment providers are required by law to administer random urinalysis tests for at least three months to be compliant with Diversion. Treatment can be in the form of group meetings or individual meetings with a counselor. A typical time commitment is an hour once a week for three months.
How Expensive Is Treatment?
Treatment is covered by most health insurance providers so there is rarely any out of pocket cost.
Do I Need To Install an Ignition Interlock Device?
You must install and use an approved ignition interlock device (IID) in all vehicles you operate during the term of the diversion period when you have driving privileges if:
- Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was 0.08 or above
- You refused a breath/blood test when requested by the arresting officer
- Your BAC was greater than 0.00 and less than 0.08 and your blood test showed the presence of a controlled substance or an inhalant, or
- The court orders you to do so, if your BAC was less than 0.08
The IID requirement applies in all cases and to all vehicles you operate during the term of the diversion agreement when you have driving privileges, except:
- If the court finds that you meet requirements for a medical exemption under the rules of the Oregon Department of Transportation.
- While operating an employer’s vehicle in the course and scope of your employment (contact DMV for more information); or
- If you submitted to a test of your blood, breath, or urine, and your BAC was less than 0.08, and the court does not order the installation and use of the IID.
What Happens At Court?
You are required to appear for your Diversion entry court appearance. You will want to review several documents with your attorney before you appear before a judge. The forms include the statement of eligibility, petition to plead guilty or no contest, diversion conditions and requirements form, and petition to enter diversion. A judge will review the documents to make sure you are eligible for Diversion. Judges want to make sure you are entering the program voluntarily, understand the requirements and are certain that you don’t want to have a trial and contest the merits of the DUI allegation. A judge will also make several rulings regarding your case that could affect the amount of the fees and when they need to be paid. A judge may delay the start of the ignition interlock device requirement or order that you receive an exemption to the requirement to install an ignition interlock device. If you receive an exemption you do not need to install an ignition interlock device during diversion.
At the end of your court appearance, you will receive a date for your alcohol evaluation or instructions on how to schedule the evaluation. When you go to your evaluation you will discuss treatment options and pick a provider for your treatment. You will also receive a date to attend the Victims Impact Panel.
How Do I Get My DUI Dismissed?
At the end of your one-year diversion period, your attorney will file a motion with the court to dismiss your DUI charge. If you have satisfied all of the conditions of the program your DUI will be dismissed and you will receive a judgment of dismissal. A judgment of dismissal is similar to receiving a judgment of acquittal from a jury because both avoid a criminal conviction on the underlying charge. It is like the alleged crime never happened.
Will Diversion Appear On My Criminal Record?
Successful completion of Diversion will not result in a criminal conviction that appears on your record, however, record of your participation in Diversion will appear on your driving record. For most people, only a criminal conviction will impact employment opportunities, insurance rates or the ability to lease property. Your DMV record is much more protected and not easily available to the general public. Thus, even though it will appear on your DMV record, it is not something that will have a significant impact on anything other than your ability to participate in Diversion again should you receive a second DUI charge.