Crimes involving domestic violence carry some of the most immediate and devastating consequences under Oregon law. In addition to stiff criminal penalties, the charges alone can carry harmful collateral consequences to families. Convictions often result in permanent repercussions including loss of gun rights, jeopardizing a job, making it difficult to rent an apartment or home, and military service ineligibility. These cases require a truly unique and comprehensive approach. You must hire a domestic violence defense attorney who possesses the skills, experience, and local knowledge necessary to make your defense the best one possible. At the Donahue Law Firm are proud to provide that for our clients. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your situation with you and to help tailor your best defense, to your specific circumstances.
The team of lawyers at Donahue Law Firm are passionate about fighting for you and will always provide personalized advice and guidance.
What Constitutes Domestic violence?
In Oregon, domestic violence is defined as abuse between family or household members. As you might imagine, this is a very broad definition, which covers a variety of situations. Domestic violence charges are different in Oregon. Unlike many other jurisdictions where domestic violence is its own class of charges, in Oregon, law enforcement or prosecutors can allege that any crime constitutes domestic violence. This is the case so long as they have: (1) Probable cause to believe the alleged conduct falls under the definition of abuse; and (2) The relationship between the parties is that of a family or household member.
What is a Family or household member?
Family or Household Members can be spouses, former spouses, adults related by blood or marriage, cohabitants (roommates), or those who have previously been involved in an intimate relationship, and unmarried parents of a minor child. Note that abuse against a child is not considered domestic violence under Oregon law.
Typical charges that rise to the level of abuse include Assault in any degree, Strangulation, Coercion, Harassment, Kidnapping, Menacing, and Interfering with Making a Report.
Examples of Domestic Violence Charges:
- Assault IV (Misdemeanor or Felony): Generally charged as a level A misdemeanor, this crime requires evidence of one party intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing a physical injury to another party. However, Assault in the Fourth Degree can be elevated to a level C Felony under a number of scenarios. Read more about Assault IV here.
- Harassment (misdemeanor): This is the crime of harassing or annoying another person by subjecting them to offensive physical contact. No injury is required for this crime, so it often is charged in a domestic violence situation when the complaining witness has suffered only a minor injury.
- Coercion (felony): A fairly broad charge, Coercion is essentially forcing someone to engage in conduct that they can legally abstain from, or forcing someone to abstain from engaging in conduct that they can otherwise legally engage in, by instilling in that person a fear that if they don’t comply with the coercion, the actor will harm them or engage in some other unlawful, coercive activity, such as harming another person, an animal, or falsely accusing them of a crime. Coercion is always a level C felony.
- Menacing (misdemeanor): The crime of intentionally placing another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury by words or conduct. Menacing is always a level A misdemeanor.
- Strangulation (misdemeanor): Under Oregon law, Strangulation is always a felony when charged as an offense constituting domestic violence. Strangulation is the crime of knowingly impeding the normal breathing or blood circulation of another by applying pressure on the throat, neck or chest, or blocking the nose or mouth, of that person.
- More Violent Felonies often charged as constituting domestic violence include Measure 11 offenses, including Kidnapping in the First and Second Degree, Assault in the First or Second Degree, and Robbery in the First or Second Degree, all of which carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.
By statute, domestic violence investigations trigger mandatory arrests for Oregon law enforcement officers. When called to a domestic disturbance, law enforcement must attempt to determine the initial aggressor, assess injuries, review any prior instances of abuse, and make an arrest as they deem appropriate, oftentimes after only a cursory investigation.
If you or someone you care about is arrested for domestic violence in Central Oregon, it is generally best to say as little as possible, until their lawyer arrives. Getting an experienced, effective lawyer involved as quickly as possible is paramount—before unfortunate mistakes are made.
Our attorneys understand domestic violence arrests can happen at any time of day, or night. For that reason, and because of the serious of domestic violence charges, the domestic violence attorneys at Donahue Law Firm make every effort to be available 24/7 for domestic violence emergencies.
Once an arrest is made, a no-contact order will issue between the arrestee and the alleged victim, again by operation of law. No-contact orders are different from stalking orders and restraining orders. Any violation of a no-contact order could result in a subsequent arrest and additional charges. These orders can create difficulties for all parties involved, and often have a serious impact on families. Whether it’s finding yourself unable to coordinate household finances, retrieve personal items such as clothing, or making it impossible to address matters related to your children, no-contact orders can wreak havoc with everyone involved.
However, just like domestic violence charges themselves, there are options to deal with and address no-contact orders. In times like these you need an attorney with experience successfully navigating the unique challenges domestic violence charges present, like no-contact orders, from start to finish.
A Comprehensive and Personalized Approach
Your best domestic violence defense is ultimately one that is personal to you. However, only an attorney with the requisite experience, skills, and compassion can counsel you on all of your available rights and options when facing an allegation of domestic violence. The domestic violence attorneys at Donahue Law Firm have the comprehensive knowledge and experience to assess your situation and determine the best direction to proceed. Whether it’s convincing a prosecutor to decline prosecuting your case, advocate for entry into the Domestic Violence Deferred Sentencing Program (DVDSP), negotiating a fast resolution to a case already filed, or mounting a full defense at trial, your domestic violence attorney should make you feel confident and secure every step of the way.
If you are facing domestic violence criminal charges, get in touch with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney at the Donahue Law Firm right away. The team of domestic violence attorneys at Donahue Law Firm want to ensure you get the most effective defense possible. Call today to speak with an effective, aggressive, domestic violence attorney at the Donahue Law Firm. Your initial consultation is always free.