Oregon Sexual Assault Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of or charged with sexual assault in the State of Oregon you need to immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who specializes in sex crimes, such as those at Siefman Law LLC. The crime of sexual assault is taken very seriously by law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges in Oregon. An experienced Oregon sexual assault defense attorney will fight vigorously for your rights and your freedom, combating both the charges against you and the social stigma that comes with them. An allegation of sexual assault will damage your personal reputation, even in cases where the allegations are false, or there has been a misunderstanding or mistake.

Unfortunately, the concept of innocent until proven guilty doesn’t always fully apply when it comes to sexual assault. Society, as a whole, views sex crimes as monstrous acts. Those accused of a crime like sexual assault are seen as monsters themselves. As a result of this attitude, society approves when the authorities take a tough stance on sex crimes and sex offenders. Let’s be honest: Judges, district attorneys, and police chiefs are, in many cases, elected officials. Because of this, none of them want to be seen as soft on crime, especially crimes that their constituency sees as particularly heinous. As a result, those accused of a sex crime like sexual assault face an uphill battle not only with the authorities, but with their friends, family, and neighbors as well.

The authorities will often act overzealously when it comes to sexual assault. Statistics show that a percentage of sexual assaults do not get reported, usually because the alleged victims are intimidated by the criminal justice system and the process involved in proving that the assault actually occurred.

The police may often overreach their authority and make a sexual assault arrest based on an alleged victim’s statements. Innocent people are sometimes taken into custody for sexual assault based less on the evidence and more on satisfying public opinion and erring on the side of caution. Once this happens the wheels of justice, both social and legal, begin to turn. Even though an ex-spouse, former lover, or mere acquaintance decides to lie and use the system to exact revenge, you become a “rapist” in the eyes of both the authorities and the public.

The consequences can be extremely severe. Once you are charged with sexual assault, you not only face damage to your reputation, you may also be facing a significant jail sentence and lifetime registration as a sex offender, not just in Oregon, but also anywhere you choose to live in the United States. A criminal defense attorney experienced in Oregon sexual assault law can look at the facts of your case and use them to fight the charges against you. That attorney is often your only defense against incarceration and years, or even a lifetime, of never-ending social stigma.

The Crime of Sexual Assault in Oregon

Under Oregon law, sexual assault is defined as any unwanted sexual contact. Specifically, and in practice, this means that the crime of sexual assault can result from any one of a number of separate acts. The most common of these acts involving adults over the age of consent include the following:

  • Rape – Rape in Oregon is broken down into separate crimes or “degrees.” In general, rape in the first degree is defined as forced sexual intercourse or sexual intercourse with a person who is physically or mentally unable to give consent. In addition, forced sex with someone under 16 years of age who is a whole or half sibling, your child or your spouse’s child, or forced sex with anyone under the age of 12 is also considered first-degree rape. (Second- and third-degree rape do not require force but do require an act of sexual intercourse with someone under 14 or 16 years of age respectively.) Under Oregon law, first-degree rape is a Class A felony, as well as a Ballot Measure 11 offense. This means that it carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of eight years, four months with no possibility of parole, probation or early release, a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, and a maximum fine of $375,000.
  • Sodomy – Sodomy in Oregon is a nearly identical crime to rape, with the exception that it involves “deviate sexual intercourse,” or forcible oral or anal sex, as opposed to vaginal sex. Sodomy in the first degree is also both a Class A felony and Ballot Measure 11 offense and carries the same penalties as rape in the first degree.
  • Unlawful Sexual PenetrationUnlawful sexual penetration in Oregon is, again, a nearly identical crime to both rape and sodomy, with the exception that it involves penetration of the vagina, anus, or penis of the victim with something other than the penis or mouth of the actor.  Unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree is also both a Class A felony and Ballot Measure 11 offense and carries the same penalties as rape and sodomy in the first degree.

Many sexual assault cases hinge on the testimony of the accuser. An experienced Oregon sexual assault defense attorney will thoroughly investigate that facts and circumstances that surround the alleged assault. They will look at the background of the accuser to see if there is a motive to lie about what truly happened. They will work to establish that there was valid consent to the sexual activity involved. They will present evidence that the authorities have overlooked or intentionally chose not to use. In short, an experienced Oregon sexual assault defense attorney will do what needs to be done to defeat the charges against you and clear your good name. Take the time to contact our office today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your options.