Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Convictions for assault put you at risk of being sentenced to severe penalties, including jail, prison, parole, and probation. In Oregon, assault charges are categorized into four different degrees. Depending on which degree of assault you are charged with, you may face a mandatory prison sentence. First- and second-degree assault charges are considered Measure 11 offenses and are subject to such mandatory sentences.
Four Degrees of Assault
Assault IV: Oregon Revised Statute §163.160 defines assault in the fourth degree as the crime of “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical injury to another person,” or with “criminal negligence causing physical injury to another by means of a deadly weapon.” Typically, Assault IV is a Class A misdemeanor. Based on a person’s criminal history or other circumstances, however, Assault IV can be a Class C felony. These cases often involve fistfights, domestic assault allegations, car crashes involving negligence, and accidental firearm discharges that cause injury.
Assault III: Under Oregon Revised Statute §163.165, assault in the third degree is a crime that generally involves “intentionally”, “knowingly,” or “recklessly” causing “serious physical harm” to another. “Serious physical harm” is defined as a “physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.” ORS §161.015 (8). Assault in the third degree is considered a Class C or B felony in Oregon, depending on the nature of the case.
These cases can encompass a wide range of allegations, including:
- That a deadly weapon was used
- That the actions alleged show an “extreme indifference to the value of human life”
- That the alleged victim is a youth correctional facility employee and the defendant is committed to the facility
- That the alleged victim is an operator of a public transit vehicle performing his or her duties
- That a person was being “aided” by another in intentionally or knowingly causing physical harm to another
- T hat the alleged victim is an “emergency medical service provider” performing his or her duties
- That the defendant is 18 and the alleged victim is 10 or younger
- That the alleged victim is an operator of a taxi while operating his or her taxi
This charge can encompass a wide range of behavior and is thus subject to a great deal of prosecutorial discretion and creativity.
These cases often do not require proof that someone specifically intended to cause harm. They do, however, require proof of “serious physical harm.” Important legal nuisances are at play in these cases that an experienced trial lawyer can help you navigate if you are accused of assault in the third degree in Oregon. If you are charged with an assault in the third degree, you need to contact an attorney immediately as these are serious allegations with huge implications.
Assault II: ORS §163.175 defines assault in the second degree as a crime involving “intentionally or knowingly” causing “serious physical injury” to another person in general or with a “deadly or dangerous weapon.” It can also involve “recklessly” causing “serious physical harm” to another by using a “deadly or dangerous weapon under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.” Second-degree assault is always a Class B felony.
These cases typically involve allegations that a “deadly or dangerous weapon” was used. A “dangerous weapon” is defined as “any weapon, device, instrument, material or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.” ORS § 161.015 (1). “Deadly weapon” is defined as “any instrument, article or substance specifically designed for and presently capable of causing death or serious physical injury.” Thus, both of these terms are open to interpretation, and whether something is a deadly or dangerous weapon often is a question for the jury. These cases can also involve an accusation of an intentional act that causes “serious physical injury.” The government is required to prove this level of harm.
Assault II is considered a Measure 11 offense and is subject to a mandatory minimum prison sentence. You need an experienced attorney if you are facing these complex laws that carry life-changing consequences.
Assault I: This type of offense is a Class A felony and a Measure 11 crime, which means it is subject to a mandatory minimum prison sentence. It is the most serious level of assault in Oregon and generally involves allegations of intentionally causing serious physical injury to another person with a dangerous or deadly weapon; intentionally causing harm to a child under six years of age; committing a second-degree assault against someone known to be pregnant; or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing harm to another while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants by someone with three prior DUI convictions or certain convictions involving a motor vehicle incident that caused death or harm.
Proof of intent is critical in these cases, as is the correct use of prior convictions. Also, understanding the importance of lessor included offenses, self-defense, and other trial strategies is important in handling these cases. If you are accused of this crime, you face a mandatory prison term and a felony conviction for a crime of violence. You need a serious trial lawyer to help you defend against these serious allegations.
Bend Assault Defense Attorney
Any assault is a serious charge, regardless of whether it is a felony or misdemeanor, because it is considered a crime of violence. Also, in Oregon, Assault I and II are Measure 11 crimes with mandatory minimum jail sentences. Developing a strategy early on is important whether you are claiming lack of intent, lack of injury, self-defense, or any other possible defense. Hiring an experienced trial attorney who has handled and won these cases in the past is critical. I have extensive jury trial experience in handling all sorts of assault allegations.