Oregon DMV Hearing FAQs

QUESTION: Do I have to go to my Oregon DMV Hearing?

ANSWER: If you have a lawyer there, no, you do not have to attend your Implied Consent hearing. However, I find it almost always helps to have you there. That’s true because most of my clients have their memory jogged by something the officer says, and sometimes it results in us winning the hearing. Also, it’s your first chance to see your lawyer fight for you — and get a gauge on how they fight. After the hearing, I always like to have a 10-15 minute recap with my client to get their impressions and talk about strategy on the criminal case.

QUESTION: Will they ask me any questions at the DMV Hearing?

ANSWER: No. You’re not a source of evidence, because in the related criminal case you have a right to silence. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may confirm your mailing address with you at the start of the hearing. After the officer testifies, you have the right to testify if you wish. In 99% of my DMV Hearings, my client does not testify. There’s rarely any benefit to it in this type of hearing.

QUESTION: Who is the Judge?

ANSWER: Your case will be adjudicated by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). The ALJ will not be in a robe and is not an elected judge. She will be dressed in business casual attire or thereabouts. ALJs are lawyers who simply applied for a state job. Sometimes they are experienced, and sometimes not. They’re generally nice people trying to make the right decision.

QUESTION: How should I dress?

ANSWER: DMV Hearings are meant to be informal administrative hearings. They are not lawsuits, and they are not in court. There is no need to wear a suit and tie or formal attire. On the other hand, you should look like you’re taking this matter seriously. Business casual tends to work best.

QUESTION: Can I drive to the hearing, or will the judge take my license away if we lose — right there?

ANSWER: If you had a valid license at the time of your arrest, you are still able to drive to and from the hearing. That’s true because, on the night of your arrest, the police officer did not issue you a suspension. He issued you a notice of proposed suspension, slated to start on the 30th day after the date of your arrest.

QUESTION: Where will we meet at the hearing?

ANSWER: These hearings are almost always held in some nondescript office building. We’ll meet inside the hearing room or lobby (depending on the office layout), 15 minutes early.

QUESTION: What’s the point of this DMV hearing?

ANSWER: We’re looking for any reason for the proposed suspension to not be imposed. We’re also investigating the case by questioning the state’s star witness. We use that information to make smart decisions about how to handle the criminal case.

IID Employer Exemption

If you’re required to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) by the Oregon DMV, there’s an exception that permits you to drive employer-owned vehicles without an IID if: (1) you tell your employer as referenced below; and (2) you have proof you’ve told your employer on you when you drive. Here’s the law as amended by HB 2116 (2013): Continue reading

Relicensing and Proof of Treatment

For folks looking to reinstate their driving privileges: DMV’s rules require proof of successful alcohol treatment before you can get your license back following a DUII conviction. There are a only a few, narrow exceptions: (1) it’s been more than 15 years; (2) a Circuit Court judge signs an order that says you made “sufficient steps” to complete treatment; or (3) it’s an out-of-state DUII conviction we’re talking about. The rule reads as follows:

735-070-0085 Continue reading

Who is an Oregon CDL Holder? It’s not who you think

If you look at this issue on Oregon DMV’s website, or “Google” it, you’ll often get this (incorrect) answer: “Oregon statute defines a CDL holder as a person who was issued a CDL by DMV or the licensing agency of any other jurisdiction, as long as the CDL is:
* Not expired, or if expired, expired less than one year; or
* Suspended, but not cancelled or revoked.” Continue reading

SR-22 & IID after DUII Conviction — Oregon License Reinstatement

There’s been some confusion here. For Oregon license reinstatement after a DUII conviction, you must first wait out the suspension period, and then:

(a) file a SR-22 insurance certificate with DMV for 3 years, ORS 806.075; and

(b) install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for 1 year for a first conviction; 2 years for second, ORS 813.602(1); 5 years for third or subsequent, ORS 813.602(2). Continue reading

Lifetime License Revocation — Petition for Reinstatement after 10 years

January 1, 2004, marked the beginning of Oregon’s experiment with “lifetime license revocation” for a third DUII conviction. Some people are mistakenly told that it’s a “10-year suspension.” It’s not, it’s a lifetime revocation — with a possibility of petitioning for your license back after 10 years. January 1, 2014, is long past — meaning we’ve now helped a fair amount of folks get their driver license back! Continue reading