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Lifetime Drivers License Revocations – A Small Ray Of Hope

Since 2003, Oregon Law has provided that a person convicted of DUII for a third time must have their license revoked for their lifetime. The language of this statute could be interpreted to include all DUII convictions a person has received during their entire lifetime in any state.

DUII defense lawyers argue that not all prior DUII convictions should be counted for purposes of the lifetime revocation statute.

Over the years, Oregon law has provided for different penalties for DUII. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s, a person who drove with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or less was subject only to a fine and the offense was treated as a non-criminal infraction. Persons with a blood alcohol concentration over .15 were subject to criminal penalties.

In 1985, the Oregon Legislature’s comprehensive revision of the Vehicle Code and amended many of the traffic laws. This legislation also lowered the maximum blood alcohol concentration to .10 (and later .08) and made all DUII charges crimes.

The 2003 lifetime revocation statute provides that the revocation is triggered by previous violations of ORS 813.010, the DUII statute that was renumbered in 1985.

DUII defense lawyers raised the question of whether pre 1985 convictions should or should not count as prior convictions for purposes of the lifetime revocation statute.
In State v. Kellar, ___ Or ___ (2011)(Slip Op, February 17, 2011) the Oregon Supreme Court directly addressed the first of these questions. The Supreme Court held that criminal violations of the pre 1985 DUII statute do count toward the lifetime revocation. The Court noted that there is still an open question as to whether or not non-criminal infraction DUII convictions would count, but declined to address the question because it was not necessary for them to answer it for the purposes of the Kellar case.

Eventually, this issue will be decided by the Appellate Courts in Oregon. Until then, the issue should be raised and argued whenever the State is trying to persuade a judge to count one of these convictions and impose the lifetime revocation.

If you are facing a lifetime revocation of your driving privileges because of an older DUII infraction conviction or have a conviction in another state which might be an infraction, you would be well advised to consult a lawyer to see if the older conviction really counts in calculating whether or not you have three qualifying DUII convictions.

As Oregon DUII lawyers, we at James F. O’Rourke, Jr. And Associates carefully examine all prior DUII convictions for irregularities which may prevent the convictions from being used to revoke driving privileges for life.