What happens if I get caught driving while my license is suspended in Oregon?

A driving while suspended (DWS) charge can be a violation, a misdemeanor, or a felony in Oregon.

How You Are Charged Depends on the Underlying Reason for the License Suspension

Violation DWS

If someone drives a motor vehicle outside the limitations of a probationary permit or a hardship permit, drives a commercial motor vehicle during a period when that person’s driving privileges have been suspended or revoked, the DWS is a violation.

Misdemeanor DWS

Someone who drives while suspended for failing or refusing a breath or blood test or for a misdemeanor DUII conviction commits the crime of misdemeanor driving while suspended. If someone’s license is suspended for conviction of some misdemeanor crimes, then the DWS would be a misdemeanor.  If convicted of misdemeanor DWS, a defendant faces possible jail time, fines, and probation. There is a minimum $1,000 fine for someone caught driving with a suspension for a DUII conviction.

Felony DWS

Someone who drives while suspended for a conviction of  any degree of murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide or assault resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle,  aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated driving while suspended or revoked, or if the revocation resulted from a conviction for felony driving while under the influence of intoxicants, commits the offense of felony DWS.

Driving while suspended, in and of itself, will not necessarily get you kicked out of diversion. However, driving while suspended will violate your probation if you are on probation for a DUII conviction. Additionally, the driving while suspended could result in a new criminal charge.

Rob Crow
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Licensed to practice law in all State & Federal Courts in Oregon.
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Justin 08/21/2019 05:55 PM
I was just arrested for criminal driving while suspended misdemeanor .... While I get a year in jail?
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Danny Giacomo jt 05/18/2020 03:15 AM
Got caught diving but I didn't drive the vehicle there just moved it 20 foot o though it was a tractor behind me. Common courtesy I thought
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Fred 08/23/2020 08:30 AM
I blew 0.00 3X, failed sobriety test due to a medication reaction, Anxiety medicine!! I got a DWS as I had to get to OHSU for my first appointment! I waited 9 months for that appointment! OHSU said they’d give me a 30 day notice for my appointment? They gave me a 72 hour Notice via text message.. That said I couldn’t find a driver in such short time.. I feared if I missed my appointment it would be another 8-9 month wait. In hood river OSP pulled me over and I was honest with him! Told him I couldn’t miss that appointment in fear of another 8-9 month wait! Now the DA in the Dallas offered me a plea deal? $1000.00 fine, 80 hours of community service and 1 yr probation??? I’ll see you in court via a jury trial!!
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Christopher Manson 08/20/2021 10:35 PM
Hello I recently moved here to Oregon from California and my Calif. DL had expired a few months after I had moved up here and I had a really hard time trying to get an Oregon DL because by the time I went in to the DMV to get it my Ca. DL was already expired so after taking and passing the written test I couldn't take the drive test till I presented my birth certificate from Ca. Which I haven't seen in 30+ years, so after contacting the Los Angeles hall of records twice and paying to have a birth certificate mailed to me which twice was lost in the mail and the 3rd time I had it registered mail, well with complications from Covid and waiting 3 months between each attempt I finally received it almost 2years later since the Id been pulled over in Springfield on 3 separate occasions right after purchasing a vehicle private party only a couple days earlier once and a couple weeks earlier on another occasion, each time I was being profiled and received no infraction of any kind that would warrant the traffic stop but I was cited for driving without privledges for driving on an expired license once it was expired like 2months and the 2nd time like 9months, and for not being insured because I had just purchased the vehicles I was driving which were both impounded and couldn't get back since I had no identification of any kind, and all my work tools and belongings I needed to make a living were all impounded and taken away for good, and when I finally got my birth certificate and went to finally get an Or DL now I couldn't because all the fines I aquired, now I was told by Springfield PD that I didn't have to appear in court unless I wanted to contest the tickets which I assumed there was no point because my DL was expired which in Ca. Isn't that horrible or expensive of a ticket and unfortunately I had no insurance on the newly purchased vehicles so couldn't contest that either, what I wasnt aware of and would've contested was that on all 3 Springfield violations they also decided to add 3 charges of DWS? Now in Ca. You need to be notified that your DL is suspended before you can be charged with driving while suspended which is a charge that is very expensive and lands you in jail for 30days hence the reason I would never knowingly drive while suspended, So I was never notified my Or.DL that I've never even had before was suspended nor did I know I was charged with it, Now in Eugene there was a charge of driving while suspended and when this violation that was in collections that also had a hold on my DL was brought to the attention of the judge 2years later the judge in Eugene saw the error of the officers ways and dismissed the violation and all charges, But Springfield I guess just adds violations? If you don't appear in court? Oh and the officers that told me I didn't have to appear straight out lied to me and I have witnesses that can attest to that, because I was picked up on a warrant that I had no idea was out for me for failure to appear, now I've incured almost $3000 in fines in Springfield for the same violations the Eugene judge dismissed immediately after reading the violations, also the time that I was pulled over on these violations were the same time that people were supposed to be given extra time to renew expired DL's due to Covid and Kate Brown also had said officers weren't supposed to be making traffic stops for the exact violations I was stopped for, in virtual court I was told those violations were dropped but I'm still paying on the including 3 charges of DWS for $682 per charge, even though I wasn't driving on a suspended license at the time? I mean what's going on? Shouldn't the Springfield Judge come to the same conclusion the judge from Eugene did?
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