Domestic violence usually occurs between spouses or other partners who are involved in an intimate relationship, but it also can happen between family members too. It is always extremely unfortunate when problems in a relationship escalate into a physical altercation. This is why the law views domestic violence harshly and why you should hire a domestic violence lawyer sooner in your case than later.
Police responding to a domestic violence call will almost always make an arrest because they are required by law to do so. This means that once the police have arrived it may be too late to avoid a criminal charge. The officers will immediately try to collect statements from everyone involved and, due to a quirk in the evidence code, they are allowed to testify at trial about what was said at the scene of the incident. This is a rare exception to the hearsay rule and important to understand if you are considering taking your charges to trial. Often, it doesn’t matter if the victim does not want to testify against you when it comes around to trial and prosecutors can get a conviction with the testimony of the police alone.
There are many types of domestic violence charges and the type of charge, as well as the potential consequences, vary greatly depending on the degree of contact with the victim and the extent of injuries to the victim, if any. Here is a quick guide to what the most common Oregon domestic violence charges mean:
You hurt somebody and the injury was caused either recklessly or intentionally. Assault varies in degree from Assault 4, being the least serious, to Assault 1, being the most serious. The degree of injury and whether a dangerous weapon was used can make all the difference here between a misdemeanor charge and a serious felony charge.
You engaged in offensive physical contact with someone.
You impeded somebody’s breathing or circulation by applying pressure to their neck.
You put another in fear of imminent serious physical injury.
These examples are organized from most serious to least serious and often when someone is charged with one of these crimes they may be charged with several of them for the same incident. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with these charges that can result in their dismissal without having to win at trial. Sometimes going to trial is the best option, however, and we will advocate on your behalf and present the strongest defense possible at trial.