Jefferson County Criminal Defense Attorney

People charged with crimes in Jefferson County can count on Attorney Michael R. Hughes to defend them against all manner of criminal offenses. Whether you are facing local, state, or federal charges, he will aggressively protect your rights and work to clear your good name. 

Hughes appears before the court in the Jefferson County Courthouse in Madras, and can represent clients from Warm Springs to Culver, and everywhere in between.

Jefferson County Cannabis Criminal Defense 

Even though the state of Oregon has legalized the limited use of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes, the production, possession, sale, and use of marijuana are still highly regulated, and in some cases still illegal.   Not to mention the fact that the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule I drug. 

Marijuana laws are rapidly evolving, and as an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney and Cannabis Expert, Attorney Michael R. Hughes understands how difficult it is to stay in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. He and the other members of The Cannabis and Psychedelics Law Section of the Oregon State Bar, which he helped found, often point out that conflicting local, state, and federal laws mean the definition of many criminal acts are not as straightforward as they were in the past. 

Hughes has seen firsthand how well-meaning Oregonians can get tripped up by conflicting or unclear regulations. That is one of the reasons why he is passionate about defending Jefferson County residents charged with cannabis crimes. 

Because he knows the cannabis industry from the ground up, Hughes has an unmatched familiarity with marijuana laws. Even government officials recognize his unique knowledge of cannabis law and the cannabis plant itself. Because they know him to be an honest broker, he has been able to persuade prosecutors to drop cannabis and other drug charges his clients are facing after educating them about changes to the law and its interpretation. 

Jefferson County DUII Defense 

DUII or driving under the influence of intoxicants — alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two — is illegal in all 50 states. Other states call it driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating under the influence (OUI), operating while intoxicated (OWI), or driving while ability impaired (DWAI), but they all refer to the same general action. 

It is important to defend yourself against a DUII charge because a conviction can result in not just fines or jail time, but the loss of driving privileges. Attorney Michael R. Hughes understands that in rural areas like Jefferson County, where many people live or work on farms, where driving is a necessity.

Hughes puts up a strong defense in DUII cases. He digs into the evidence to find out what the government thinks it can prove, then attacks. 

In most alcohol DUII cases, the key evidence is blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test results. Attorney Hughes knows what testing mistakes and weaknesses to look for, and how to show that certain results should be thrown out. 

If a DUII charge stems from a law enforcement officer’s belief that you were driving under the influence of an intoxicant rather than BAC test results, Attorney Hughes can question the subjective nature of such a charge. This is especially relevant in marijuana and other drug DUII cases, where there has been little research on ways to properly identify someone who is under the influence. When police are relying on flimsy field sobriety tests, or their gut instincts and observations, there is plenty of room for error. 

Jefferson County Federal Crimes 

While Americans tend to think of criminal law as something that is controlled by each state, the federal government’s appetite for prosecuting people is endless. The number of potential federal crimes is growing so quickly that it is likely that you or someone you know has committed one without even realizing it. 

A federal offense is one that:

  • Violates a specific federal law;
  • Crosses state lines; or
  • Is committed on government property.

The number of specific federal offenses continues to climb, but what tends to get Jefferson County residents in trouble are crimes that cross state lines or occur on government property. 

Although Jefferson County is located about as close to the middle of the state as possible, geography does not play as big of a role in determining if a crime crosses state lines as you might think. Living in the modern world, where it is easy to connect with someone outside of the state online, through the mail, or by phone, means putting yourself at risk of committing a federal offense just by going about your day-to-day activities. 

It is also easy to commit a crime on federal property in Jefferson County. Think about how big the Crooked River National Grassland, Deschutes National Forest, Mount Hood National Forest, and Willamette National Forest are. The National Forest Service actually owns 24% of the whole county. Certain banks, courthouses, and other public buildings may also be considered federal property based on who owns them or what activity occurs in them. 

If you have been charged with a federal offense, or suspect you are being investigated by the feds, it is time to lawyer up. 

Serious Consequences 

The penalty for a criminal conviction varies based on the type of offense, the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense, and your criminal history. Some crimes will get you a slap on the wrist, and others will put you behind bars or require you to pay hefty fines. 

A criminal conviction will also tarnish your reputation. It can make it difficult to get a job or find housing, increase your insurance rates, and give the government a reason to deny you benefits. Depending on the crime, you may also lose your right to own guns and vote. 

There is simply too much at stake for you to sit back and see what happens or gamble on a guilty plea. At the first sign of trouble, you should reach out to Attorney Michael R. Hughes. He can tell you what the worst-case scenario is if you are convicted and advise you on what the most likely outcome is if you chose to fight the allegations against you. From there, you can decide what to do next. For most Jefferson County residents, the best option is to work with Hughes to fight the charges. 

Putting Up A Strong Defense 

No matter what stage the case against you is at, Attorney Michael R. Hughes will help you put forward as strong a defense as possible. However, the sooner you contact him the better. 

Contacting Attorney Hughes early in the process gives him a chance to clear your name before the government really starts to drag you through the mud. After you tell him your side of the story, he will typically reach out to law enforcement officials and prosecutors he has developed a working relationship with to determine exactly what illegal activity is alleged. It is sometimes possible to get charges dropped at this stage just by opening up that line of communication. 

If the government intends to proceed with prosecution, Hughes will start to attack the government’s case against you. He will go through the police report with a fine-tooth comb:

  • Did the police fail to read you your rights? 
  • Was evidence obtained without a proper search warrant? 
  • Were you coerced into making a confession? 

Illegal police action can also make any incriminating evidence they turn up inadmissible in court. If the only evidence against you was improperly obtained, the case against you may be quite weak. 

The charges against you may be dropped if Attorney Hughes’ investigation reveals inconsistencies or potential mistakes by law enforcement officials too eager to slap the cuffs on someone.  

If the case is still moving forward, Hughes will also:

  • Identify and interview potential defense witnesses
  • Collect and preserve evidence
  • Challenge any lab results or other evidence collected by law enforcement

Based on the strength of the defense Attorney Hughes has prepared, the government has dropped the charges in numerous criminal cases. In other cases, the government sees a likely conviction slipping away and offers a plea bargain. While Attorney Hughes is committed to completely clearing his clients’ names, he will carefully weigh the evidence against you and advise you if negotiating a plea bargain is your best option. 

If your case is not dismissed, and you are not offered an acceptable plea bargain, Attorney Michael R. Hughes will aggressively defend your reputation at trial. He will force the government to shoulder the full burden of proof. Remember, they must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless and until they do so, you remain innocent.

An Attorney Who Understands Your Side 

If you or a loved one in Jefferson County, Oregon has been charged with a crime, or suspect you may soon be charged, it is time to reach out to Attorney Michael R. Hughes. He will aggressively defend you against prosecution and fight to clear your good name. Please reach out today to schedule an initial consultation.