Charged with a Crime in Oregon?
Criminal Defense Lawyers Explain Charges and Penalties
A criminal conviction can drastically affect the rest of your life. You may face the possibility of jail time, fines and other penalties, and your reputation may be damaged. Additionally, a conviction may prevent you from finding work and/or housing in the future. Since so much hangs in the balance, you should always work a criminal defense lawyer with a history of success. Even innocence is not always an ironclad defense – law enforcement and prosecutors may not care about your side of the story, but will simply focus on getting a conviction. An attorney can work to enforce your rights and expose any misconduct or negligence that may have led to your arrest. In many cases, a good lawyer can get your charges or penalties reduced, minimizing the negative impact on your life.
If you have been arrested or someone you know was taken into police custody, then you should find a lawyer as quickly as possible. No matter what kinds of charges you face, from a misdemeanor to a felony, finding an attorney you trust is essential. To speak with a local Oregon criminal lawyer today, consult our local listings.
What Are the Basic Types of Criminal Charges?
The type of criminal charge you face may vary depending on the nature of the alleged crime. Although each state has its own specific classifications, the general types of charges are:
- Infraction. An infraction is the least serious type of charge you can face. In fact, some states handle infractions as civil cases, rather than criminal cases. Traffic violations and other minor offenses usually fall into this category. Jail is generally not a possibility for infractions, so you are not entitled to a jury trial and the state will usually not appoint you a lawyer. However, you can still hire one of your own.
- Petty offense. Some states categorize low-level criminal conduct as petty offenses. This may include illegal acts like gambling, disturbing the peace, public indecency, pollution violations and theft of items of low value.
- Misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a more serious charge and county courts typically handle these cases. Common misdemeanor charges include assault, criminal trespass, theft and certain drug crimes, including possession and sale.
- Felony. This is the most serious type of criminal charge and state and/or federal courts usually handle these cases. Common felonies include murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, vehicular homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and certain drug crimes.
In some cases, a criminal defense lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution to reduce the severity of the charges you face. If the court reduces your charge from a low-level felony to a misdemeanor, for example, then the repercussions you face may be much less serious.
What Is the Penalty for a Misdemeanor in Oregon?
Each state has its own system for classifying misdemeanor and felony charges, and penalties may vary as well. The general penalties you may face for different types of criminal charges in Oregon are:
- Class A Misdemeanor. Crimes in this class include obstructing governmental or judicial administration; first-degree disorderly conduct; fourth-degree assault; contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor; reckless driving; and boating under the influence (BUI). Committing one of these misdemeanors can result in up to one year incarceration, and/or up to $6,250 in fines.
- Class B Misdemeanor. Crimes in this class include failing to maintain a cedar purchase record; tampering with cable television equipment; unlawful sound recording; and harassment. Committing one of these crimes can result in up to six months incarceration, and/or up to $2,500 in fines.
- Class C Misdemeanor. Crimes in this class include encouraging animal abuse; third-degree theft; criminal trespass at a sports event; and sexual misconduct. Committing one of these crimes can result in up to 30 days incarceration, and/or up to $1,250 in fines.
- Unclassified Misdemeanors. These are misdemeanors that aren’t classified by any of the three class letters. Crimes in this category include pointing a firearm at another person, and drinking in public. As “unclassified”, these crimes don’t have an automatic incarceration penalty, or a set fine. Rather, the court will decide an appropriate punishment on a case-by-case basis.
What Is the Penalty for a Felony in Oregon?
Like misdemeanors, each state has its own system for what qualifies as a felony and what penalties may result from a conviction. In Oregon, possible felony charges and penalties include:
- Class A Felony. Crimes in this class include first-degree rape; first-degree manslaughter; aggravated vehicular homicide; and first-degree assault. Committing one of these felonies may result in up to 20 years imprisonment, and/or fines up to $375,000.
- Class B Felony. Crimes in this class include first-degree aggravated theft; laundering a monetary instrument; first-degree abuse of a corpse; and unlawful possession of body armor. Committing one of these felonies may result in up to 10 years imprisonment, and/or fines up to $250,000.
- Class C Felony. Crimes in this class include mail theft or receipt of stolen mail; second-degree burglary; third-degree robbery; and promoting prostitution. Committing one of these felonies may result in up to five years imprisonment, and/or fines up to $125,000.
- Unclassified Felonies. These are felonies that aren’t classified by any of the three class letters. Unclassified felonies include murder, aggravated murder, and murder of a pregnant victim. As “unclassified”, they don’t have an automatic incarceration penalty, or a set fine. Rather, the court will decide an appropriate punishment on a case-by-case basis.
Need a Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyer? We Can Help
If you are facing any level of criminal charge, then a qualified lawyer may be essential to protecting your future. Additionally, if someone you know is currently in police custody, then you may wish to reach out to a lawyer on his or her behalf. To find a Oregon criminal defense lawyer in your area, then consult our attorney listings. If you have general question about criminal law or certain charges, then do not hesitate to ask the lawyers.