Oregon DMV Hearing FAQs

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

DMV Hearings are generally conducted by telephone. If you have a lawyer, you are not required to call in and participate in the hearing — your lawyer can handle the hearing for you. However, I always prefer for my clients to listen in, with their phone on mute after the initial introductions. “Mute” saves us from hearing anything on your end, and avoids accidentally interrupting the hearing.

The DMV Hearing is your first chance to hear your lawyer fight for you — and get a gauge on how they fight.

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

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?

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 or in a courtroom and is not an elected judge. 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: Will the judge take my license away if we lose — right there?

The ALJ will not make a decision about your suspension at the hearing. Instead, they will mail a written decision to you which must be post-marked before your suspension begins. Your proposed suspension is usually slated to start on the 30th day after the date of your arrest.

QUESTION:  Should I chit-chat with the officer or ALJ while waiting for the hearing? 

No. The officer is trained to listen to how you talk, so he can testify, “It’s much different than on the night in question.” Don’t give him that opportunity.

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

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

Oregon DMV Hearings — Scheduling

When I meet with new clients, they are often embarrassed, confused, and overwhelmed. Among the confusion is the fact that a DUII arrest frequently institutes two separate proceedings against the driver:

(1) The criminal case; and

(2) DMV’s proposed license suspension for failing or refusing a chemical test. 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

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