By WILLIAM FRANCIS
In Oregon, there is no DUI statute providing specifically for an enhanced penalty if a DUI driver causes a death.
However, a driver accused of DUI where a death occurs would be exposed not only to charges of DUI (with no diversion option) but also may be charged with Vehicular Homicide, Manslaughter, or Criminally Negligent Homicide.
A driver may be charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide where criminal homicide is committed with criminal negligence, recklessly, or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life by a person operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants, where the person has a previous conviction for Manslaughter 1, Manslaughter 2, or Criminally Negligent Homicide (or their statutory counterparts in any jurisdiction), and where the victim’s death in the previous conviction was caused by the person driving a motor vehicle. Aggravated vehicular homicide is a Class A felony. It is also a "Measure 11 crime," meaning it carries a mandatory minimum sentence. The sentence for Aggravated Vehicular Homicide is 20 years.
A criminal homicide arising from a DUI constitutes Manslaughter in the First Degree where the crime is committed recklessly or with criminal negligence by a person operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants in violation of the Oregon DUI statute, and the person has at least three previous convictions for driving while under the influence of intoxicants under the Oregon DUI law (or its statutory counterpart in any jurisdiction) in the 10 years prior to the date of the current offense (ORS 163.118). Manslaughter 1 also is a “Measure 11” offense. The sentence on conviction is ten years.
Manslaughter in the Second Degree may be charged where death resulted from the operation of a motor vehicle and the driver of the motor vehicle was under the influence of an intoxicant. Manslaughter 2 is also a Measure 11 crime. The sentence on conviction is 70 months.
A person commits the offense of criminally negligent homicide where, with criminal negligence, the person causes the death of another person. Criminally negligent homicide is a Class B felony. The penalty is presumptive probation for a term of five years, but sentencing guidelines provide for a term of 36 to 72 months, depending on a defendant's criminal history.