On January 1, 2014, two new laws will take effect that will expand the eligibility of Oregon’s DUII diversion program as well as change the rules regarding the ignition interlock requirement to allow for exceptions based on a medical condition or driving an employer-owned vehicle.
First, HB 2116 amends Oregon’s law that requires DUII diversion participants to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle during the period of diversion. Currently, a person who enrolls in the diversion program, but only drives his employer’s vehicle for work, is required to install the ignition interlock device in the employer’s vehicle in order to drive legally. Not only has this law caused numerous people to lose their jobs in order to participate in the diversion program, but it is further aggravating that those convicted of DUII are also required to install an ignition interlock device, but currently permitted to use the “employer vehicle” exception to the IID requirement. HB 2116 was introduced and signed into law to correct this oversight, and starting in 2014, DUII diversion participants will not be required to install the ignition interlock device if they have a qualifying medical condition or if they drive an employer-owned vehicle for work.
Additionally, HB 2773 expands the eligibility of the DUII diversion program by permitting enrollment of people who have previously completed a treatment program for either a charge of minor in possession of alcohol or possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Currently, a person who has completed treatment for either an MIP or possession of marijuana would be excluded from the DUII diversion program if they were later charged with DUII. Realizing that this law was negatively effecting people – especially high school and college-aged kids – in Oregon, the legislature was persuaded to change the law to expand the DUII diversion program’s eligibility requirements. As a result, starting in 2014, a person who has completed a treatment program for MIP or possession will still be permitted to enroll in the DUII diversion program if charged with a DUII and otherwise eligible.
As an attorney that has navigated the DUII diversion program with numerous clients, I know that many future clients will welcome these changes. I have had clients that have lost their job because they could no longer drive their employer’s vehicle because they would have been required to install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle. I have had clients that were not eligible for the DUII diversion program as adults based solely on the fact that they completed a diversion program for an MIP charge as a minor. Starting in 2014, Oregon’s DUII diversion program gets a bit smarter and more reasonable, and I look forward to helping new clients take advantage of these changes.