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!
It’s no easy row to hoe. In short, you must prove by clear and convincing evidence that you’re no longer a threat. Technically, that you are “rehabilitated,” completed treatment, and do “not pose a threat to the safety of the public.” ORS 809.235(4). It’s pretty tough to prove a negative. I think the best shot is — with a good lawyer — showing that you’ve got 10 years of stable sobriety, an AA sponsor, and community and family connections who need you to drive. That’s an ideal candidate — but anyone with 10 years of fairly blameless history may have a shot. It’s also required (and a great selling point to the judge) to promise to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), see ORS 813.602(2) (requiring IID “in any vehicle operated by the person for five years after the ending date of the longest running * * * revocation caused by any of the convictions.”).
ORS 809.235(2) provides some of the nuts and bolts:
“(c) The district attorney of the county in which the person’s driving privileges were revoked shall be named and served as the respondent in the petition.
(3) The court shall hold a hearing on a petition filed in accordance with subsection (2) of this section. In determining whether to grant the petition, the court shall consider:
(a) The nature of the offense for which driving privileges were revoked.
(b) The degree of violence involved in the offense.
(c) Other criminal and relevant noncriminal behavior of the petitioner both before and after the conviction that resulted in the revocation.
(d) The recommendation of the person’s parole officer, which shall be based in part on a psychological evaluation ordered by the court to determine whether the person is presently a threat to the safety of the public.
(e) Any other relevant factors.
(4) The court shall order a petitioner’s driving privileges restored if, after a hearing described in subsection (3) of this section, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner:
(a) Is rehabilitated;
(b) Does not pose a threat to the safety of the public; and
(c) If the sentence for the crime for which the petitioner’s driving privileges were revoked required the petitioner to complete an alcohol or drug treatment program, has completed an alcohol or drug treatment program in a facility approved by the Director of the Oregon Health Authority or a similar program in another jurisdiction.
(5) Upon receiving a court order to restore a person’s driving privileges, the department may reinstate driving privileges in accordance with ORS 809.390, except that the department may not reinstate driving privileges of any person whose privileges are revoked under this section until the person complies with future responsibility filings.”
Please note that if you’ve been subsequently convicted of Driving While Revoked or Suspended (DWR/S) or any other motor vehicle crime, you must wait 10 years from that conviction before you can apply for reinstatement. That’s ORS 809.235(2)(b): “Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this subsection, if during the revocation period for the crime for which the person was convicted the person is convicted of a criminal offense involving a motor vehicle, the person may file a petition to restore driving privileges as described in paragraph (a) of this subsection no sooner than 10 years from the date of the most recent conviction involving a motor vehicle.” (emphasis added).
Lifetime Commercial Driver License (CDL) suspensions are different. Those are suspensions, not revocations, and they are imposed after a second DUII conviction or diversion, even in a personal car, see ORS 809.510. Reinstating a CDL is a different administrative process under ORS 809.520.