What happens if I get caught driving while on a suspended license in Oregon?

Failing or refusing a breathalyzer test, or being convicted of a DUI could result in having your license suspended. A suspended driver’s license means you are not legally allowed to drive. But what happens when law enforcement catches you driving while suspended in regards to a DUI?

Let’s examine the penalties for driving on a suspended license in Oregon, and what you can do to avoid these penalties.

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Penalties for driving while suspended on DUI.

Driving while your license is suspended will result in a “driving while suspended” (DWS) charge. Driving while suspended in relation to a DUI is a crime. This crime will come with a minimum $1000 fine for a first offense and there could be jail and probation as well. Additionally, at the time of the stop, you could be arrested and your car could be towed since you are not legally allowed to drive it home.   

The full penalty you pay will depend on where it is that you are arrested and your criminal history. Penalties can vary from county to county in Oregon. Some counties require jail time and stiff penalties, while other counties just have a fine. Regardless of where it is, A DWS in regards to a DUI will result in a new criminal conviction. And that conviction will always be on your record. In Oregon, driving crimes can never be expunged.

If convicted of DWS, there is not a new or extended suspension. Your original suspension length still applies. But repeated violations will have you classified as a “habitual offender,” and in that case, DMV will suspend your license for an additional amount of time.

Will driving on a suspended license affect a DUI diversion?

Driving on a suspended license in Oregon will have no effect on your eligibility or participation in Oregon’s DUI Diversion program, provided you have followed all the other rules of the program.  

However, if you are on probation for a DUI, a DWS or DWR charge, it would be considered a probation violation.

Getting a hardship permit to drive with a suspended license in Oregon

In Oregon, you can apply for a hardship permit that will legally allow you to drive to certain places, even if you have a suspended license.

This hardship permit will allow driving for employment purposes, the obtainment of medical treatment, and other important tasks.

It is important to note that a hardship permit does not grant a holder full driving privileges. For example, if you are granted a permit so that you may continue to go to work, this does not give you the right to drive your car for other reasons—and doing so may result in a DWS charge.

Getting approval for a hardship permit may also require the installation of an ignition interlock device in your personal vehicle. This device will require you to perform a breathalyzer test before you can start the engine and while you drive.

Importance of hiring an experienced DUI attorney

Whether you are interested in applying for a hardship permit or you want to fight a DUI or DWS charge, your first step should be to contact a Portland DUI lawyer. A DUI conviction can carry significant penalties, included having your license suspended. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you minimize or avoid these penalties, and prevent a DUI from having a severely negative impact on your quality of life.