The Oregon legislature created the DUII Diversion program in 1979, the same year that it made the crime of DUII a criminal offense. The legislature’s purpose in creating a diversion program was to allow people charged with DUII as a first offense the opportunity to do treatment — in exchange for their DUII charge being diverted and to avoid a conviction.
Since then, the legislature has shifted the focus of diversion from treatment to punishment, as the diversion program has become increasingly more costly, more difficult to complete, and available to fewer people. Oregonians enter diversion, complete treatment, and are revoked, convicted, and sent to jail for the most minor violations — such as not paying a $3 filing fee (State v. Reed).
Today, the legislature prohibits the recreational use of alcohol at any point during the one-year diversion period, even if treatment is determined to be unnecessary, or successfully completed. The legislature excludes from diversion anyone who holds a Commercial Driver’s License, as well as anyone with a prior DUII incident within 15 years.
The legislature’s newest punishment is in the requirement of an Interlock Ignition Device in any vehicle driven during the one-year diversion period. Attorneys and Judges agree that the Interlock Ignition Device requirement is a perfect example of the legislature’s preference for style over substance, aided by the monied influence of the IID manufacturers’ lobby. With some providers charging a $120 installation fee, and a monthly rate of $85 per month, the Interlock Ignition Device imposes a costly, time-consuming, and embarrassing punishment on those who need it the least — namely, first-time offenders who “voluntarily” install the IID.
As the legislature continues to limit and undermine the primary purpose of diversion (treatment), in favor of costly, unnecessary, inflexible and embarrassing punishments, people accused of their first DUII will more and more frequently give the state what it is asking for: a trial!