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The Guide To Oregon Domestic Violence Laws


Oregon Domestic Violence Law

Acts of domestic violence in Oregon can result in protective orders, mandatory arrests, criminal penalties, and firearm restrictions. This guide will discuss the criminal penalties and policies in Oregon that aim to prevent and punish domestic violence crimes and to protect victims. 







What Is Domestic Violence In Oregon?


In Oregon, domestic violence is defined as “acts of physical assault, attempted assault, threatened assault, or sexual abuse committed against a family member or household member. Family and/or household members include:


  • Persons who are or were living together

  • Adults related by blood or by marriage

  • Current and former spouses

  • Persons who’ve been in a sexually intimate relationship, and

  • Persons who share a child together.


Under the Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA)---also called a family abuse restraining order, victims of domestic violence in Oregon can ask a court for a protective order. A protective order is meant to prohibit the abuser from harming or contacting the victim and may also direct the abuser to surrender firearms and/or to move out of a shared residence.  


Types Of Domestic Violence In Oregon


Oregon doesn’t have a specific domestic violence crime. However, certain crimes carry more severe penalties if committed:


  • In the presence of a child

  • Against the same victim multiple times

  • Against a family or household member


A few examples include assault, strangulation, and reckless endangerment.


Domestic Violence Determination


 Court records will typically indicate whether a charge, arrest, or conviction involved domestic violence for purposes of determining conditions of pretrial release and sentencing. For example, misdemeanors involving domestic violence can create significant collateral consequences. A domestic violence determination will also impact future charging and sentencing decisions and increased penalties with repeated conduct.





Domestic Violence Sentencing and Alternatives to Jail


Some counties in Oregon offer domestic violence deferred sentencing or intensive supervision programs. These programs typically require batterer intervention and also require the batterer to abide by other conditions as well. Below we will review the crimes that are commonly associated with domestic violence and the corresponding arrest, bail, and firearm restrictions.


What Are The Penalties For Domestic Violence In Oregon?


The crimes we will list below represent only a few domestic violence crimes in Oregon; specifically those with penalties specific to the offenses committed against family or household members or in the presence of a child. You can scroll down to the penalties section to see the maximum punishment associated with the different offense levels.


Assault and Domestic Assault Crimes


There are four degrees of assault in Oregon, with first degree being the most egregious and fourth degree being the least serious. In general, the greater the harm is, the more severe the penalty. 


Definition of assault


In the state of Oregon, a person commits assault by causing physical injuries or serious physical injuries to another individual. Physical injuries include substantial pain and physical harm such as cuts, bruising, or sprains. Serious physical injuries are those that create a substantial risk of death or cause serious and protracted injuries, such as severe lacerations, gunshot wounds, broken bones, or injuries that require surgery. 


Felony assaults


A felony assault in Oregon is any assault that results in serious physical injuries or where a defendant used a deadly or dangerous weapon intending to cause harm. These will be considered to be either a first, second, or third-degree assault. Penalties range from a class A to C felony.





Misdemeanor assaults


Assaults that result in less severe injuries are generally misdemeanors and usually fall under fourth-degree assault.


Domestic Violence Assaults


In Oregon, a fourth-degree assault ( a misdemeanor) moves up to a class C felony in several instances common to domestic violence, including:


  • The defendant committed the assault in the presence of a minor

  • The defendant knowingly assaulted a pregnant woman

  • The defendant has a prior conviction for assault, strangulation, menacing  involving the same victim, or

  • The defendant has three prior convictions for assault, strangulation, or menacing.


Menacing is a class A misdemeanor involving a person who intentionally tries to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.


Strangulation Involving Domestic Violence


The crime of strangulation is defined as “knowingly impeding another’s normal breathing or blood circulation by applying pressure to their throat, neck or chest or by blocking their nose or mouth." A strangulation conviction in Oregon generally carries class A misdemeanor. However, if the victim was a family or household member or the crime was committed in the presence of a child, the penalty bumps up to a class C felony. 


Violating a Family Abuse Restraining Order and Endangerment


Family abuse restraining orders prohibit an abuser from contacting, intimidating, or harming the victim and may direct the abuser to move out of a shared residence. It is also possible for the judge to prohibit the abuser from possessing any firearms during the duration of the order if the abuser represents a safety threat to the victim. The result of violating a family abuse restraining order can be contempt or criminal proceedings. If the abuser is found guilty of contempt, he or she faces up to six months in jail, a fine, and loss of any security placed with the court. Violations relating to the unlawful possession of a firearm carry class A misdemeanor penalties.


Class C felony penalties apply if a defendant intentionally violates the order in a way that:


  • Intentionally causes the protected person to fear imminent physical harm, or

  • Recklessly creates risk of substantial harm to the protected person.


This felony offense is a separate crime referred to as “endangering a person protected by a Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order.”


Penalties for Felonies and Misdemeanors


Below is a list of the maximum penalties for the above-listed offenses:


  • Class A misdemeanors: up to 364 days in jail and a $6250.00 fine

  • Class C felony: up to 5 years in prison and a $125,000.00 fine

  • Class B felony:  up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine

  • Class A felony: up to 20 years in prison and a $375,000.00 fine


Some particular felonies, such as assault in the first or second degree, may also carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.




Arrest, Bail, and Firearm Restrictions for Domestic Violence Charges in Oregon


In Oregon, the law also imposes the following restrictions and conditions in domestic violence cases:


Mandatory Arrests in Domestic Violence Cases


When a police officer responds to a domestic disturbance and believes that an assault has taken place or was about to take place, the officer must arrest the suspected assailant and take them into custody. This mandatory arrest policy will also apply if police believe a person violated a family abuse restraining order or no-contact order.


Pretrial Release for Domestic Violence Charges


A releasing assistance officer or District Attorney must try to contact the victim to hear their position on releasing the defendant before the officer will release the person suspected of domestic violence or violating a no-contact order. 


Generally, pretrial release conditions must include a no-contact order that prohibits the defendant from contacting the victim directly or indirectly. The judge can prohibit the defendant from possessing a firearm. Violating these conditional release terms can result in detention, rearrest, and forfeiture of bail.


Firearm Restriction in Domestic Violence Cases 


Under Oregon law, any individual convicted of a felony or “qualifying misdemeanor” will be prohibited from possessing a firearm. Qualifying misdemeanors are defined as “involving the use or attempted use of force or threatened use of a deadly weapon against a family or household member”. Firearm prohibition is also applicable to individuals who are subject to family abuse restraining orders where the judge has found the person to be a safety threat.


What If You Have Multiple Convictions?


Recklessness In  Domestic Violence


Recklessness in domestic violence is committed when the person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. Recklessly endangering another person is a Class A misdemeanor.


Restitution


The court can order the defendant to pay restitution in an amount that equals the victim’s full economic damages. Court-ordered restitution is paid by the defendant to the court, which then distributes that money to the crime victim.


Civil Compromise In Oregon


A civil compromise is a way to have a criminal charge dismissed. Four conditions need to be met to enable judges and courts to dismiss charges. These conditions are:

  • The defendant is charged with a misdemeanor crime

  • The victim has a remedy by civil action

  • The victim acknowledges in writing before trial that he/she has received satisfaction for the injury; and

  • The defendant pays costs and expenses incurred

Most Domestic Violence crimes are prohibited from being civilly compromised.


Guide To Oregon Domestic Violence Laws: Conclusion


Criminal cases involving family can be extremely difficult for everyone involved.  When facing something as serious as this you want to be certain you have proper legal guidance and representation.  


If you live in Oregon and need a domestic violence lawyer and need legal guidance, contact us at Oregon Gun Law for a free legal consultation. Our years of experience will help protect your rights and give you the legal help you need.







*Nothing herein constitutes legal advice. You should obtain independent legal counsel regarding your specific factual situation.

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