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The Oregon Domestic Violence Law Guide: Charges and Penalties


The Oregon Domestic Violence Guide

When it comes to handling domestic violence, every state has its own set of rules. Some states have separate laws for domestic violence and regular assault, but not Oregon. Here, they've combined them into one comprehensive approach. So, let's break down Oregon's domestic violence laws together. We'll talk about what happens if you're charged, what the penalties are, and importantly, how you can drop charges if you need to. 






Is Domestic Violence a Felony in Oregon? 


In Oregon, domestic violence can indeed be charged as a felony under certain circumstances. The severity of the charge typically depends on factors such as the extent of harm inflicted, any prior criminal history, and whether a weapon was involved. For instance, causing serious physical injury to a family or household member can result in felony charges. Additionally, repeat offenses or instances involving strangulation may elevate the charge to a felony level. 


Prior Convictions for Assault Involving Domestic Violence in Oregon


Prior convictions for assault can significantly impact the penalties imposed for subsequent offenses. The state takes a firm stance on repeat offenders, particularly in cases of domestic violence. Under Oregon law, prior convictions for domestic violence-related offenses can lead to more severe penalties for subsequent offenses. For example, a second conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence within five years of a prior conviction can result in increased fines and mandatory counseling or treatment programs. Additionally, repeat offenders may face longer periods of probation or incarceration. 


Burglary Domestic Violence 


Burglary domestic violence involves unlawfully entering or remaining in a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime therein, while also committing an act of domestic violence against someone in the dwelling. This offense combines elements of burglary and domestic violence, and it is treated as a serious crime in Oregon. Perpetrators may face enhanced penalties due to the combination of these offenses. 


Recklessness 


Recklessness in the context of domestic violence involves engaging in behavior that disregards the safety and well-being of others in a domestic setting. This may include actions such as physically aggressive behavior, verbal threats, or destruction of property. 


Serious Physical Injury 


In cases of domestic violence, serious physical injury refers to harm inflicted upon a victim that requires medical attention or treatment beyond minor first aid. This could include injuries such as broken bones, severe lacerations, internal injuries, or injuries resulting in hospitalization. 


When a Dangerous or Deadly Weapon is Involved 


When a dangerous or deadly weapon is involved in a domestic violence situation, the severity of the offense escalates significantly. Oregon law considers the use or presence of such weapons as an aggravating factor, leading to harsher penalties. A dangerous weapon could include firearms, knives, or any object capable of causing serious bodily harm or death. The presence of a deadly weapon heightens the risk of harm and can lead to increased charges, potentially elevating the offense to a felony. 





How to Report It 


Reporting domestic violence in Oregon is a vital step towards seeking help and protection for yourself or someone else in a situation that could become dangerous. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, dial 911 for emergency assistance. Law enforcement officers are trained to respond to domestic violence calls promptly and effectively. If the situation is not an emergency but you still need to report domestic violence, you can contact your local police department or sheriff's office. They will guide you through the process of filing a report and may initiate an investigation into the matter. 


You can also reach out to domestic violence hotlines and advocacy organizations for support and guidance. These resources can provide information on available services, such as shelters, counseling, and legal assistance. The National Domestic Violence Hotline. (1-800-799-SAFE) is available 24/7 and can offer confidential support and referrals. 





Penalties for Domestic Violence in Oregon 


1. Misdemeanor Convictions: 

● Fines up to $6,250 

● Up to one year in jail

● Mandatory completion of a batterer intervention program

● Probation 


2. Felony Convictions: 

● Fines up to $125,000 and up to five years in prison, or both for a class C felony 

● Fines up to $250,000, up to ten years in prison, or both for a class B felony 

● Fines up to $375,000 and up to twenty years in prison or both for a class A felony 


3. Restraining Orders: 

● Courts may issue restraining orders to protect victims from further harm, restricting the perpetrator's contact and proximity to the victim 


4. Loss of Firearms Rights: 

● Convicted individuals may lose their rights to possess firearms, particularly in cases involving felony convictions or restraining orders 


5. Civil Lawsuits: 

● Victims may pursue civil lawsuits against their abusers for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering 


6. Immigration Consequences: 

● Non-citizen individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses may face immigration consequences, including deportation or inadmissibility 


Restitution 


Restitution refers to the financial compensation ordered by the court to be paid by the perpetrator to the victim or victims for any economic losses or expenses incurred as a result of the abuse. This might include medical bills, counseling expenses, property damage, and other related costs. Restitution is separate from fines or other penalties imposed by the court and is intended to help victims recover financially from the harm they have suffered. The court will typically consider the victim's expenses and losses when determining the amount of restitution to be paid. Failure to pay court-ordered restitution can result in further legal consequences for the perpetrator. 


Civil Compromise 


Civil compromise allows the victim and the defendant in a domestic violence case to reach a mutually agreed-upon resolution outside of the criminal justice system. Essentially, it involves the victim agreeing not to pursue criminal charges or further legal action against the defendant in exchange for compensation or other considerations. Civil compromise is typically only available for misdemeanor offenses, and both parties must consent to the agreement. 


Deferred Sentence 


A deferred sentence is a legal arrangement where a defendant pleads guilty or no contest to charges of domestic violence but sentencing is postponed for a specified period. During this time, the defendant is typically required to comply with certain conditions, such as completing a batterer intervention program, undergoing counseling, or refraining from contact with the victim. If the defendant successfully fulfills these requirements, the charges may be dismissed, and they may avoid a criminal conviction on their record. However, if the defendant fails to meet the conditions, the court can proceed with sentencing, which may result in fines, probation, or other penalties. 


Probation 


In Oregon, probation is a common outcome for individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses. As part of probation, the offender is typically required to comply with specific conditions set by the court, which may include attending counseling or rehabilitation programs, refraining from contact with the victim, participating in community service, and avoiding further criminal behavior. Probation allows offenders to remain in the community under supervision while serving their sentence, offering an opportunity for rehabilitation and reintegration. However, violating the terms of probation can result in additional penalties, such as fines, extended probation, or imprisonment. 





Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped? 


Yes, domestic violence charges can be dropped in Oregon but only under certain circumstances. However, the decision to drop charges typically lies with the prosecuting attorney, who considers various factors such as the strength of the evidence, the wishes of the victim, and the potential impact on public safety. Additionally, the victim may have the option to request dropping the charges, but the final decision rests with the prosecutor and the court. 


How to Drop The Charges 


1. Consult with an Attorney: If you're the victim or the defendant in a domestic violence case and wish to drop the charges, it's essential to seek advice from a qualified attorney. They can guide you through the legal process and help you understand your rights and options. 


2. Communicate with the Prosecutor: Contact the prosecuting attorney assigned to the case and express your desire to drop the charges. Provide any relevant information or reasons supporting your decision. 


3. Consider the Victim's Role: If you're the victim, communicate openly with the prosecutor about your wishes regarding the case. Your input is crucial, but ultimately, the decision to drop charges lies with the prosecutor and the court. 


4. Evaluate Safety Concerns: If you're the victim, assess your safety and well-being before making any decisions about dropping charges. If you feel unsafe or fear retaliation from the defendant, discuss your concerns with the prosecutor and explore available options for protection. 


5. Attend Court Hearings: If required, attend court hearings to provide testimony or additional information related to the case. Your cooperation may influence the prosecutor's decision regarding the charges. 


6. Follow Legal Procedures: Follow any legal procedures or requirements outlined by the court or the prosecuting attorney for formally dropping the charges. This may involve signing documents or providing sworn statements affirming your decision. 


7. Seek Victim Services: Victims of domestic violence may benefit from accessing support services, such as counseling, advocacy, and safety planning, regardless of the outcome of the case. Consider reaching out to local victim advocacy organizations for assistance and support. 


8. Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about the progress of the case and any developments regarding the charges. Maintain communication with your attorney and the prosecuting attorney to ensure that your interests are represented throughout the legal process. 


The Oregon Domestic Violence Law Guide Conclusion 


Whether you find yourself as a victim seeking protection or facing charges, being informed about potential penalties, options for dropping charges, and seeking restitution can make a huge difference. If you're in the Medford, Oregon area and need assistance with domestic violence laws or any other legal matters, Kollie Law is here to provide you with experienced and reliable support. You can trust us to guide you through the process with professionalism and compassion.





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