The crime of domestic violence is a troubling one. On the one hand, the State of Oregon has a duty to take the issue of domestic violence very seriously. After all, legitimate acts of domestic violence not only harm the victim, they can also cause tangential harm to other members of the family who witness the acts, most especially children.
On the other hand, by its very nature, domestic violence is also a crime that lends itself to false accusation. In the heat of an argument, in order to gain a temporary upper hand, one party to a relationship may be tempted to accuse the other of a violent act or to having threatened a violent act. This is not to say that legitimate domestic violence does not occur. Unfortunately, it does with alarming regularity. This is only to point out that false accusations can and do occur.
Oregon has defined “domestic violence” as abuse between family or household members. Under the law, family and household members include:
The state has also determined that domestic violence is a widely distributed problem. In September of 2012, the Oregon Legislative Committee released a brief which contained some troubling statistics:
Faced with statistics like these, the State of Oregon errs on the side of caution when it comes to allegations of domestic violence. In an effort to protect the victims of legitimate domestic violence, the state takes all allegations of violence between family members very seriously. So seriously that individuals who are accused of domestic violence are often surprised to see how sternly the authorities treat the charges. Even when there is evidence of a false accusation, prosecutors are often loathe to let a domestic violence case go.
All domestic violence charges can result in serious consequences. Jail or prison time may be a possibility. A restraining order will be served to eliminate all contact between the parties involved, as well as their children. This nearly always results in the accused party being forced to leave their home. A conviction on domestic violence charges will also result in the accused party being prohibited from owning any firearms.
However, nothing demonstrates Oregon’s strong stance against domestic violence like the domestic violence mandatory arrest law. In any domestic violence investigation, the police are nearly always required to make an arrest. If one party has an injury, the other party will be arrested. If one party says they were threatened with violence, the other party will be arrested, even when no injuries are apparent. An arrest will even be made in a situation where the party who is injured doesn’t want to press charges.
Now, when we’re talking about arrest, we’re not talking about sitting in the back of a squad car while an officer writes you a ticket. We’re talking about a real arrest for a serious crime. You will be handcuffed. You will be taken to jail, and you will be fingerprinted and booked. There is no other outcome.
Therefore, if you are involved in a domestic violence situation, the less you say, the better. If your partner claims that you committed an act of domestic violence, you are going to be arrested. Anything you say to the police will not change this result. All that will happen is that your words will potentially be used against you in court. It is better to remain silent and speak only to a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling domestic violence cases.
If you’ve been arrested for domestic violence in Oregon, you will typically face one or more of the following criminal charges:
Assault II (felony) – Intentionally or knowingly causing serious physical injury to another, intentionally or knowingly causing physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon or recklessly causing serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life;
Assault III (felony) – Recklessly causing serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon, recklessly causing serious physical injury to another under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, or recklessly causing physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life;
Assault IV (misdemeanor) – Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing injury to another;
Assault IV (felony) – Committing a misdemeanor assault in front of minor children or committing a misdemeanor assault against someone who you have previously been convicted of assaulting in the past;
Strangulation (misdemeanor) – Intentionally or knowingly impeding the breathing or circulation of another by the application of pressure to the neck;
Harassment (misdemeanor) – Intentionally subjecting another to annoying or harassing physical contact which did not result in injury;
Menacing (misdemeanor) – Intentionally placing another person in fear of serious physical injury;
Interference With Making a Report (misdemeanor) – removing, damaging or interfering with a telephone line, telephone or similar communication equipment, intentionally preventing or hindering another person from making a report to a law enforcement agency, a law enforcement official or an agency charged with the duty of taking public safety reports or from making an emergency call; and
Coercion (felony) – Threatening another person with physical violence in order to keep them from doing something they are entitled to do or to make them do something they don’t want to do.
The lawyers at Siefman Law LLC understand Oregon’s domestic violence laws. They know how seriously the State takes domestic violence charges. Our lawyers have the experience that is necessary to protect your rights and your freedom. We will examine the facts of your case and work diligently to prepare a defense that will result in the best possible outcome for your case. Don’t take the domestic violence charges against you lightly. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.