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Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never a good idea, and drivers doing so will suffer severe penalties in the state of Oregon. The state believes in providing education to first-time offenders as a deterrent against future arrests and offers a DUI diversion program to some individuals. This gives drivers an opportunity to avoid many penalties, fines and a DUI conviction by participating for a certain length of time; however, if the entire program is not completed drivers will be subject to the regular DUI penalties.
DUI Laws for Oregon
Oregon uses the offense of Driving under the Influence of Intoxicants, or DUII. The state prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. The standard measure across the United States for an impaired driver is the .08 limit. Additionally, commercial drivers in Oregon are prohibited from having a BAC higher than .04%, and the state has a zero-tolerance limit for underage drivers. This means a driver with any trace of alcohol or drugs in his system may be arrested for a DUII.
Implied Consent Law
Oregon adheres to the implied consent law, meaning that when a resident accepts his driver’s license, he agrees to submit to blood, breath or urine testing to detect the presence of alcohol or drugs. If a driver refuses to undergo testing when requested to do so by a peace officer, he may receive penalties similar to that of a DUI conviction. Additionally, his refusal may be used against him in court.
DUI Diversion Program
Oregon makes a DUI Diversion Program available for some first time offenders. The program is open to arrested drivers who have not yet been convicted of a DUI, and those who have not already participated in the diversion program within the last 10 years. Additionally, eligible drivers may not have been involved in any alcohol related accident that caused injury to another person. The program requires individuals to commit to one full year of participation. The benefits of the diversion program allow eligible people to participate in an evaluation and rehabilitation/educational program instead of receiving a DUI conviction. When individuals complete the program, they receive the following benefits:
- No DUI conviction is entered on their driving history
- Court costs and other fees are substantially less
- Program participants do not receive any license suspension
- Participants also have no requirement to perform community service or serve any jail time
Oregon’s DUI Penalties
For a first DUI offense in Oregon, drivers may be able to participate in the DUI diversion program. If this is not an option, they face from 48 hours to one year in jail, or 80 hours of community service. Fines range from $1,000 minimum up to $10,000 if a child under 18 was in the vehicle at the time of the driver’s arrest. The driver will receive a license suspension for one year, will be required to use an ignition interlock device for one year after he regains his drivers license, and will need to attend an alcohol/drug treatment program along with a required participation in a victim impact panel program.
For subsequent offenses, the fines and penalties increase. A third offense will be classified as a felony. Jail time is a maximum of five years, with fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 with other state fees of $300 or more. Additionally, drivers may have their license permanently revoked.
Oregon DUI Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration tracks statistics for every state in the nation regarding traffic fatalities and their causes. Each year, many traffic fatalities result from drunk driving. In Oregon, from 2005 to 2009, approximately 30% of all traffic fatalities involved drivers with a BAC above the legal limit.
NHTSA has calculated the fatality statistics for Oregon based on the absolute number of fatal traffic accidents. Then, it recalculates that statistic using the number of alcohol-related driving fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. This process allows a comparison to be made between Oregon and other states, regardless of population density. Using this statistic, Oregon is at or very slightly below the national average for accident fatalities due to alcohol impaired drivers.
After a DUI conviction, the state will require a driver to carry SR-22 insurance. It begins with an SR-22 certificate, which needs to be completed by an insurance company and filed with the state. The certificate acts as a financial guarantee that a driver will maintain at least the minimum state-required liability insurance. In Oregon drivers must carry SR-22 insurance for three years.
If a driver moves out of state, he must still carry SR-22 insurance to stay in compliance with Oregon requirements. If he chooses to let his insurance lapse, the 3-year probation period will start all over again. Additionally, the state will immediately suspend his license until insurance is reinstated. The state will also share his license suspension information with a national database to prevent other states form issuing a drivers license if the individual still shows a suspension in his previous state of residence.
How a DUI Affects Car Insurance
Car insurance represents a substantial part of the cost of driving a car, and the cost increases substantially with a DUI conviction. In Oregon, if the driver does not go through the diversion program a DUI stays on his driving record forever. Insurance companies will automatically place this driver into the high-risk category, which causes insurance premiums to rise. The only good news is that over time, the conviction will have much less of an impact on interest rates.
Finding SR-22 Car Insurance in Oregon
Finding SR-22 insurance in Oregon will be relatively easy, since several insurers licensed to do business in Oregon offer this type of coverage. The challenge is finding a company that provides SR-22 insurance at affordable premiums. The first thing to do is obtain several quotes from different providers, either over the phone or from company websites. Auto insurance is a competitive industry, and many insurers specialize in providing coverage for high-risk individuals. This helps keep premiums lower, and since each insurer measures risk differently according to its own internal formula, quotes may vary quite a bit from one company to another.
Start a car insurance comparison search online today and compare car insurance quotes from providers nationwide – Drivers of all risk profiles can benefit by shopping around and comparing car insurance companies!