In Oregon crimes and offenses are classified in three broad categories as either violations, misdemeanors or felonies. A violation is an offense that is punishable only by a fine or some form of punishment (i.e., license suspension) that does not include imprisonment. Misdemeanors and felonies are considered crimes and a crime may be punished by a fine, imprisonment or both. A misdemeanor is a crime which may not be punished by imprisonment for more than one year. A felony is any crime that may be punished by imprisonment for more than one year or that is designated by statute as a felony. Each of these broad categories are further subdivided by the seriousness of the offense.
Convictions can have collateral consequences such as loss of driving privileges, loss of firearm privileges, loss of employment as well as inability to gain future employment, immigration and deportation, loss of professional licenses, eligibility for housing, and travel outside of the United States, to name a few.
I like to be involved in a criminal case as soon as possible. Oregon has a liberal release law and you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Keep a copy of all paperwork that you are given. The first question I will have when you call is the date of your next appearance in Court. I will want to see the formal written charges against you as well as any release conditions that have been imposed.
Your initial consultation is free. At our first meeting we will discuss the circumstances of your citation or arrest and we'll pull up the underlying statutory requirements for the charge and review the range of potential consequences. Based upon the seriousness of the charges against you, and if you decide to retain me to represent you, we will discuss fees. For many misdemeanor cases I can quote a flat fee that would include all aspects of your case other than appeal. For most felonies, I will require a retainer and an hourly fee agreement.
My representation of you commences when we have entered into a fee agreement and the first thing that I will do is make my formal appearance in Court on your behalf.
You have the right to know what the State of Oregon's case against you is. The prosecutor in your case is required to disclose the identity of witnesses against you as well as any written or recorded statements. I will want to see police officer reports, dash-cam and body-cam video, I want to evaluate the circumstances of your arrest as well as the underlying facts relied upon by the State to support your prosecution to determine what preliminary, avoidance and affirmative defenses are available to you.
I will advise you, but you will make the important decisions in your case. We will discuss the defenses available to you and decide together how we will proceed. At the same time, we will consider what diversionary processes are available to you. Charges may be diverted sometimes without a plea and sometimes after a plea. However, upon successful completion of a diversion agreement, the charges are dismissed. Some criminal cases, can be resolved with a civil compromise agreement resulting in the dismissal of the criminal charges.
The bottom line is that I will diligently seek the most favorable outcome possible to your matter. I understand that criminal charges are stressful, expensive and time consuming. I will keep you informed, answer all of your questions and seek a favorable resolution as quickly and inexpensively as possible.