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Portland Criminal Defense Law Blog

Understanding field sobriety tests: The single leg stand

If a law enforcement official suspects that a driver is under the influence of alcohol, that officer may stop the person's vehicle to investigate the situation. In Oregon, a police officer may ask a suspected drunk driver to perform one or more field sobriety tests to demonstrate the driver's level of sobriety. One common test that drivers are asked to perform is the single leg stand, also sometimes called the one-leg stand.

During this test, a person is asked to exit his vehicle and to lift one of his feet off of the ground. He is asked to hold the foot at a certain level for a period of time. If the person leans, wobbles, puts his foot down, uses his arms for balance, or shows any other signs that he is unable to maintain his stance, the test may be used as evidence of his intoxication and may serve as a basis for the individual's drunk driving arrest.

What is a Measure 11 crime?

In Oregon, a person may be charged with a crime based on how his conduct aligns with the statutorily established offenses recognized by the state government. For example, Oregon has on its books crimes related to drunk driving, the use and possession of certain drugs, violence, and many others. If a person is convicted of a crime, he will receive penalties that must be fulfilled before he may resume his regular life outside of the criminal justice system.

Criminal penalties may include serving time in jail, paying a fine, and completing other obligations. In some cases a court may have some flexibility with regard to how severe of a sentence it may hand down in a criminal case. If the crime that the individual is convicted of is a Measure 11 crime, however, the court must at least impose an established minimum sentence on the individual, and may add to the minimum to impose more serious consequences.

Portland man charged with possession of heroin, other drugs

Drug charges are serious legal matters that can impose significant hardships on the lives of Portland residents. A single conviction for a drug-based offense can mar a person's record and stand between him and better employment and other positive opportunities. For this reason, individuals who must confront criminal drug charges often enlist the help of experienced criminal defense attorneys.

A local man may choose to utilize the services of a lawyer when he begins his fight against a myriad of drug charges. The man was arrested by Portland authorities after he was allegedly found with heroin and methamphetamines in his possession, as well as other paraphernalia that suggested to law enforcement officials that he may be involved in selling or distributing the drugs to other people.

Fight misdemeanors with the help of criminal defense attorneys

Not all criminal charges carry the same consequences. For example, Portland residents may find themselves facing apparently minor infractions for traffic violations, and may only have to pay modest fines to have their legal matters remedied. They may also be charged with felonies; felony convictions often result in individuals spending significant periods of time in prison for their alleged criminal wrongdoing.

Between infractions and felonies exist misdemeanors, a class of crimes that generally are punishable by less than a year of incarceration. However, just because a misdemeanor is not punished as severely as a felony does not mean that a person facing a misdemeanor charge should simply give in to the charges without actively defending against the claim. Conviction on a misdemeanor charge can force a person to relinquish some of his rights and submit to criminal penalties that can alter his life forever.

Making a strong defense following a drug offense

A criminal record can be a very daunting situation. Having a serious drug offense conviction on your record will likely impact your personal and professional life. It might not only be challenging to obtain and maintain employment, but also housing prospects may be limited due to a criminal background. In some ways, the damage caused is irreversible, making it essential for an accused person to initiate a defense as soon as charges are filed against them.

At the Short Law Group, our attorneys understand the importance of safeguarding a defendant's rights through all phases of the case. The criminal defense process can be complex and difficult to navigate; therefore, our legal team is dedicated to helping Oregon residents facing criminal charges, ensuring that they fully understand their situation and available options.

What is a DUII charge in the state of Oregon?

It is often a stressful situation for motorists when they are stopped by a police officer following a presumed traffic violation or an automobile accident. Drivers in Oregon often consider what types of traffic violations they could be charged with and what types of penalties they could face. In some cases, this could only amount to a warning or a fine; however, for more serious offenses, a driver could lose their privilege to drive for a period of time, and endure other harsh penalties such as hefty fines and jail time. If officers believe that a driver has an intoxicating substance in their system, he or she could face with a DUII charge.

What is a DUII charge in the state of Oregon? Under Oregon law, DUII stands for driving under the influence of intoxicants. An individual commits this offense if they are diving a vehicle and have a 0.08 percent or more blood-alcohol content; is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a controlled substance or an inhalant; or is under the influence of any combination of these three.

Determining the right criminal defense strategy

As a pervious post highlighted, some criminal offenders might seek to take measures to clear their criminal history. While taking the step to have a criminal conviction expunged could greatly benefit an offender, this process is not available for all criminal charges. Therefore, those accused of criminal charges should take the appropriate steps to fully understand their defense strategies no matter the severity of the charges.

Planning a criminal defense strategy is not a one size fits all process. Every defendant is different, has a diverse criminal history and they have varying goals and needs. Moreover, the details of the crime the defendant is accused of are often very unique, causing the defense process to be just as unique.

Oregon officer charged with nine misdemeanors following DUII

Being arrested for criminal allegations does not only mean the accused could face serious penalties but also means that the allegations could impact the criminal suspect's personal and professional reputation. Depending on the type of charges, a defendant could face harsh penalties, even if they are accused of a misdemeanor. Moreover, the pending charges could greatly impact the offender's current or prospective career path, causing some criminal charge to have long-term effects.

According to recent reports, the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office filed nine misdemeanor charges against a Portland Police officer, all stemming from a suspected drunk driving crash. Based on preliminary reports, the officer was charged with three counts of recklessly endangering another person, two counts of second-degree criminal mischief, one count of DUII, fourth degree assault, reckless driving and first-degree official misconduct. All of these are considered Class-A misdemeanor charges.

Sentencing and diversion options for misdemeanor charges

Facing criminal charges, no matter the severity, is never an easy time. Even when a defendant is facing misdemeanor charges, this could still mean serious penalties that could impact the offender's life if he or she is convicted. In order to limit the effects misdemeanor allegations or convictions could have on an offender, it is important to be aware of the defense options available.

Misdemeanors are considered lesser criminal offenses with the maximum penalty being a fine, jail time or both. Misdemeanors are divided into four different classes, and each classification carries a different maximum penalty. For a class A Misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is $6,500 and up to a year in jail, a class B Misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of $3,500 and up to six months in jail, a class C Misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of $1,250 and up to 30 days in jail and unclassified misdemeanors carry penalties that are specific to their particular statute.

How do you get a conviction expunged in Oregon?

Having a criminal history is not something residents in Oregon and elsewhere desire. However, when individuals are convicted of a criminal charge, he or she will have to suffer the consequences associated with the charges. A criminal record could mean personal and professional consequences such as difficulties obtaining a job, housing or financial aid for school. Therefore, it is important to consider options that could alleviate or reduce the impacts a criminal charge could have.

How do you get a conviction erased in Oregon? Expungement is the process that allows an individual to have a criminal conviction erased from court files. If an individual is determined to be eligible, in the eyes of the law, his or her arrest or conviction did not occur. Thus, the records of these events will no longer exist. There are three situations that could result in expungement or setting aside an arrest record or criminal conviction.

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