Prior to 2011 active duty military personnel, who were charged with DUII were forced to make a hard choice between two unpleasant options.
Many military service members had active duty commitments which prevented them from completing the DUII Diversion Program in the twelve to eighteen months allowed by Oregon Law. See ORS 813.230. This was particularly true for reservists getting called up to active duty and all active duty personnel scheduled for deployment.
They had to choose between entering the DUI Diversion Program to avoid conviction and thereby give up eligibility for deployment, which, most often ends a military career or to give up the right to DUII Diversion and plead guilty and take a criminal conviction with all its consequences including a permanent criminal record.
Most of us who work in the criminal justice system were unhappy that military personnel were in effect being punished more severely than civilians because they were performing a service commitment to our country.
In 2011, Veteran Advocates lobbied the Oregon Legislature to support a bill designed to address this problem. The Legislature responded by enacting into law a bill which modified the laws relating to DUI Diversion to allow the courts to accommodate the needs of active duty military personnel so that they could participate in DUII Diversion.
First, the legislature changed the law to forbid courts from denying entry into the DUII Diversion program simply because the person’s active duty military obligations prevented them from completing the program on the standard Diversion time line. Courts are now authorized to expand the time to complete Diversion for as long as necessary to accommodate active duty service obligations. In addition, the courts are authorized to allow military personnel to complete military treatment programs to satisfy the Diversion treatment requirements.
As an Oregon DUII lawyer, we at James F. O’Rourke, Jr. and Associates have experience representing members of the U.S. Military in DUII and other criminal matters. We understand that criminal cases have serious implications for service members and we strive to minimize or eliminate the impact of a criminal case on a service members career.
As a Portland Criminal Defense Attorney, Mr. O’Rourke has helped a number of military personnel through the Oregon criminal justice system on all kinds of charges to get results which allowed them to continue their careers.
We have helped many veterans returning from overseas duty deal with criminal problems in Oregon. Often, there is a connection between their active duty experiences and criminal conduct. We have represented many veterans who suffer from PTSD.
By James F. O’Rourke Jr.
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