An assault charge in Oregon should be taken seriously, as being convicted of assault can have major consequences.
Aside from the potential fines, jail time, probation or other criminal penalties, your employment or immigration status could be in jeopardy. Having a criminal record could also prevent you from holding certain professional licenses or pursuing educational or job opportunities.
Degrees of assault in Oregon
There are four different degrees of assault under Oregon law. First, second and third-degree assault are felonies, while fourth degree assault is a misdemeanor. First-degree assault is the most serious degree and comes with the highest penalties.
The degree of assault you are charged with depends on various factors, such as your mental state at the time, the injury the victim allegedly suffered and whether you had a weapon.
Generally, first-degree assault involves intentionally causing serious physical injury to someone else with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Second-degree assault is the same, although it does not require the use of a weapon.
You could face a lesser charge of third or fourth-degree assault if you did not act intentionally or the physical harm you caused was not considered serious.
Common defenses to an assault charge
A thorough evaluation of the situation is necessary to determine if there are any assault defenses that are available to you. Some common defenses include lack of intent or self-defense.
Perhaps you were in a situation where you did cause physical harm to someone, but you did not mean to. Remember that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you acted intentionally or recklessly.
Self-defense means proving that although you committed the crime of assault, you did so to avoid being killed or sustaining serious physical harm yourself. Self-defense is often difficult to prove.
Putting on a strong defense is extremely important. Knowing how to gather evidence and use it to your advantage is part of a good defense strategy.