Ordinary lives can be turned upside down by domestic violence charges. A single phone call to the police may trigger a series of disastrous consequences and seemingly irreversible outcomes: criminal charges, nights in jail, difficulty making bail, a looming criminal case, a criminal record, and mounting legal costs.
When domestic violence calls are received, law enforcement officers perform on-the-spot evaluations, which sometimes result in improper arrests. In some cases, emotions that run high during domestic situations can make a loud argument seem like a serious crime. In other instances, police may have erred on the side of caution. In either event, you want to work with a Hillsboro criminal defense lawyer who knows how to get the best results in cases involving allegations of domestic violence.
At Harris Velázquez Gibbens, P.C., we have successfully represented many clients accused of domestic violence, assault and harassment. As Hillsboro domestic violence lawyers, we have the legal skills and courtroom reputation needed to resolve these charges whenever possible. If you’ve been arrested or believe you are about to be, call (503) 483-8896 immediately.
Domestic Violence Charges in Oregon
The law defines domestic violence as abuse between members of the same family or household. Abuse is the act of committing or attempting to commit physical injury or sexual abuse while family or household members refers to current or former spouses, those related by blood or marriage, current or former cohabitants, unmarried parents of a minor child, or people who have been in a sexually intimate relationship.
While law enforcement has a duty to take crimes of domestic violence very seriously, the reality is that this type of crime is, by its nature, prone to false accusations. When arguing, one party may be tempted to accuse the other of some form of violence to gain a temporary advantage. This is not to say that genuine domestic violence does not occur; it does with worrying regularly. But false accusations can and do take place.
In most domestic violence investigations, police arrest the suspect. When one party is injured, the other is arrested. If your spouse claims that you threatened them with violence, the police can take you into custody, even when they show no signs of injury. If this happens to you, the best action is to remain silent and speak only with a domestic violence defense lawyer.
Oregon Domestic Violence Charges
In Oregon, domestic violence arrests usually result in one or more of the following charges:
- Assault (misdemeanor): This form of assault can be charged if you intentionally or recklessly injure another person.
- Assault (felony): This offense applies when you deliberately or recklessly cause physical injury to another person using a deadly or dangerous weapon. You can also be charged with felony assault if you commit a misdemeanor assault in front of minor children or against someone you have been convicted of assaulting in the past.
- Coercion: This offense involves using physical violence to force someone to do something they do not want to do or to prevent them from doing something they are entitled to do.
- Harassment: The act of subjecting another to annoying or harassing physical contact without causing injury.
- Menacing: Menacing is the act of deliberately making another person fear serious physical injury.
Being found guilty of any of these charges can result in consequences that include but may not be limited to:
- A restraining order that can force you out of your home and leave you unable to see your children
- A felony on your criminal record, which can be difficult to remove
- Fines and/or incarceration
- Damaged community reputation
- Inability to access certain public benefits
- Failure to pass a background check for housing or employment
If you own firearms, you may also lose your gun rights. Those convicted of certain crimes, such as domestic violence, cannot possess firearms under the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968. If you are convicted of a domestic violence offense, you will be banned from buying, owning, and possessing firearms or ammunition for the rest of your life.
What if My Spouse / Family Member Doesn’t Want to Press Charges?
The prosecutor is the only one who can decide whether to press charges or drop the case. Although your spouse’s or family member’s wishes may be a factor in their decision, it isn’t the only one.
Domestic violence cases are pursued and prosecuted as part of the public interest, which emphasizes consequences for criminal behavior. Therefore, these cases can be (and usually are) prosecuted even when the complainant does not wish to pursue charges. Should this situation arise, your Hillsboro domestic violence lawyer will seek to present your family member’s decision as evidence in your favor.
How Can Your Criminal Defense Firm Help My Case?
Harris Velázquez Gibbens, P.C. has a team of skilled negotiators who know how to achieve favorable plea agreements for our clients. While each case is unique and requires an individual approach, we routinely create compelling reports that allow the prosecution to better understand our client as an individual rather than as a mere ‘defendant.’ Our goal is always to get the charges dropped, but if that’s not possible, we will seek the most beneficial outcome possible.
As our client, we promise to put all of our knowledge and skill into your domestic violence case in order to achieve an ideal result. As experienced trial attorneys, we will not hesitate to take your case to trial if the prosecution refuses to make a fair offer.
Questions? Speak to a Hillsboro Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you or someone you love is arrested for domestic violence in Oregon, a Hillsboro domestic violence defense lawyer can help. As well as involving severe criminal penalties, a conviction could permanently alter the way you are perceived by your friends, family, coworkers, and community. Charges of domestic violence require immediate legal attention, so if you’ve been charged, call Harris Velázquez Gibbens, P.C. at (503) 483-8896 or contact us online and we’ll respond as soon as possible.