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Criminal Law in Oregon

If you have been arrested for a crime committed in Oregon, you need a defense attorney, regardless of whether you’re guilty or innocent. Jail time, fines, job loss, family stress, and loss of reputation are too serious to go it alone.

Being arrested is truly life altering. If you or a loved one is researching Oregon criminal law or looking for an Oregon criminal defense attorney, this article will help you. In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • Oregon criminal laws;
  • What you need to know about criminal defense in Oregon; and
  • How to work with your Oregon criminal defense attorney.

Oregon Criminal Laws

Oregon criminal laws are found in the Oregon Criminal Code – it’s part of the Oregon Revised Statutes (Title 16).

  • “Statutes” are written laws, passed by the legislature — in this case, the Oregon state legislature.
  • A “code” is a collection of laws about the same subject – in this case, criminal law.
  • “Revised” means that the statutes (i.e. written laws) have been updated.

There are hundreds of crimes listed in the Oregon Crime Code, including offenses against the state, public justice, property, persons, public order, public health, decency, and animals. The Oregon Crime Code also includes offenses involving fraud, deception, firearms, other weapons, and racketeering.

These laws seeks to both protect individuals and the general public from perceived harm and to keep order in society.

Statute of Limitations
Oregon prosecutors (i.e. the district attorney or attorney general) must bring criminal charges within the Oregon statute of limitations (i.e. time limit). If charges are not brought within this period of time, they are barred (and you can’t be prosecuted).

For example, in Oregon, the statute of limitations for:

  • Theft is 2 or 3 years, depending on the facts of the case (Or. Rev. Stat. В§131.125(6)(a) or (b)).
  • Robbery is 3 years (Or. Rev. Stat. В§131.125(6)(a)).
  • Assault and Battery is 2 or 3 years, depending on the facts of the case (Or. Rev. Stat. В§131.125(6)(a) or (b)).

Oregon does use sentencing guidelines and judges use them when determining the punishment for someone convicted of a crime.

  • Standard punishment may be increased if there are aggravating circumstances. Examples would be if particular cruelty were used; the victim was targeted based upon race, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin; and the use of a weapon.
  • Standard punishment may be decreased if there are mitigating circumstances. Examples of mitigating circumstances would include cooperation with the state, a peripheral role in the crime, and the defendant acted under coercion or duress.

Your criminal defense attorney will explain exactly what punishment you are facing in your individual situation.

What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense

If you are arrested or questioned in connection with an Oregon crime, take it seriously.

  • Callan Oregon criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are arrested. You’ll know you’re arrested if the police say you’re arrested or if you are not permitted to leave when you want to.
  • Even innocent people need a rigorous legal defense. Innocent people are put in jail.
  • Your conversations with your defense attorney are confidential.
  • Do not make a statement to police, other than to ask for an attorney. Conversations with police are not confidential and can be used against you.

This above is good, but general advice. Your criminal defense attorney will explain everything else you need to understand about your individual situation.

How to Work with an Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyer

You need to be an active partner in your own defense. Your attorney can’t help you if you won’t help yourself. This means that you must:

  • Remember that everything your attorney does is in your best interests – even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Base all future decisions and reactions on this foundation.
    • It is in your best interest for your attorney to tell you what to do and question you, perhaps even challenge you.
    • It is in your best interest for your attorney to be polite and cooperative with witnesses, the alleged victim, police officers, investigators, and the prosecutor.
  • Always heed your lawyer’s advice, even if you don’t like it.
  • Tell your defense attorney exactly what happened, even if some facts makes you look bad.
  • Respond to your lawyer’s phone calls, emails, or letters immediately.
  • Provide all requested information in a timely manner.
  • Stay in contact with your attorney and update your attorney’s office if your phone number or address changes.
  • Be polite; be patient.

Bottom Line: If you are facing criminal charges in Oregon, immediately consult with an attorney. To find a lawyer, put “How to find an Oregon criminal defense attorney” into your favorite search engine. The stakes are too high to move forward without aggressive and professional legal representation.

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