Driving Is A Privilege, Not A Right

Many people treat driving as an absolute right, when it is in fact a conditional privilege. A driver’s license is proof that a person has been allowed the privilege of driving a car. In the state of Oregon, it is criminal offense to operate a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license, or with a license that has been suspended or revoked. The consequences of driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license can be extremely expensive, and depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense, it can actually be punishable by prison time.

What Is the Difference Between Suspension and Revocation?

When a driver’s license has been suspended, it means that the privilege to drive has been temporarily taken away. Sometimes privileges are taken away for a predetermined length of time. In other instances, an action must be taken, such as completion of a mandatory safety class, paying a fine or installing an interlock device. 

When the right to drive has been permanently taken by way of a license revocation, there is no action that can be taken to restore that license. It may be possible to reapply for a driver’s license, but in some cases the person is simply ineligible to operate a motor vehicle indefinitely and will probably never be allowed to legally do so again. Occasionally, under very specific circumstances, a hardship allowance may allow a person to drive to and from a job if there is no other recourse. 

What Are the Penalties for Illegally Operating A Motor Vehicle in Oregon?

  • If a driver cannot produce a valid driver’s license upon request by a law enforcement officer, it is Class C traffic violation punishable by a fine no less than $85 but no more than $500.
    • Producing a driver’s license that was valid at the time of the violation is considered 
  • Driving while never having had a valid driver’s license is a Class B traffic violation punishable by a fine of between $135 and $1000, with the average fine being around $265. A person convicted of this offense will be prohibited from obtaining a driver’s license for a period of no less than 180 days.
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license is a Class A traffic violation with a fine of between $225 and $2000 with an average fine of $440. 
    • If the retraction of driving privileges was due to a felony DUI conviction or any sort of murder or manslaughter conviction, the charge is upgraded to a Class B felony punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000. The period of revocation will also be extended by an additional year.
  • If suspension of driving privileges is the result of reckless driving, refusal of a field sobriety test, or a misdemeanor DUI, an illegal driving conviction is upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor with fine of up to $6,250 and up to 364 days in jail. 
    • Any DUI related illegal driving violation carries a minimum fine of $1000 for a first offense, and a minimum $2000 fine for a second offense.
    • Illegal driving violations that result in serious injury or death is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $125,000 as well as mandatory license suspension of ten years.
      • Additionally, driving while suspended or revoked will also result in suspension of the vehicle’s registration for up to 120 days and possible impoundment of up to one year.
      • A second driving while suspended or revoked offense will result in forfeiture of the motor vehicle.

If you have had your driving privileges suspended or revoked and wish to appeal your conviction, contact Lohrke Law for a free, no obligation phone consultation to discuss the merits of your case. Call today.