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Using self-defense to defend against Oregon assault charges

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

If you have been charged with assault in Oregon, you could face serious consequences if you are convicted.

Under state law, first degree assault is classified as a Class A felony and could result in up to 20 years in prison and $375,000, while second degree assault is considered a Class B felony and could result in up to 10 years in jail and up to $250,000 in fines.

When is self-defense justifiable?

A criminal defense attorney can review your cased and come up with a defense strategy that could help you avoid these consequences.

One possible strategy may be proving that you were acting in self-defense when you exerted physical force upon another person.

According to ORS 161.209, a person is justified to act in self-defense or in defense of someone else if:

  • They reasonably believe the party they are defending against the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force, and
  • The degree of force they use is reasonably necessary.

When is self-defense not justifiable?

Self-defense is a strong defensive strategy but may not be appropriate in all situations. Under ORS 161.209, you are not legally justified to use self-defense if you provoked or escalated the situation.

If you were the initial aggressor, you must have clearly backed away from the situation and communicated your intent to retreat to the other person. If the other person continues to threaten you or use unlawful force against you, self-defense may be justified.

If you claim self-defense, prosecutors may argue that your actions were unnecessary or were too extreme for the level of threat you were facing.

For example, if you pointed a gun at someone without a weapon, even if you did not fire the gun, prosecutors may say that you used deadly force when your life was not in danger.

Your attorney will help determine if claiming self-defense will be effective in your case. If not, your attorney can help come up with a strategy that will be more effective for you.