Criminal Law

Criminal Defense

Being charged with a crime is a difficult experience. Going to court can be confusing, and taking time off work for court dates is frustrating. The idea of jail time, hefty fines, license suspensions, and the damage to your reputation can be very stressful. If you are charged with a crime and you’re not sure where to turn, PDX Law Group can help. We vigorously defend our clients’ rights through every step of the process, from arraignment and release conditions, through plea negotiations, to trial before a jury or the Court.

Practice areas:

DUII – Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants in Oregon can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the defendant’s prior history of DUII. Any DUII conviction comes with a hefty fine and a driver’s license suspension, along with a lengthy term of probation. Ignition Interlock Devices (IID’s) are now mandatory. The amount of jail time for DUII depends mostly on the number of prior DUII convictions and the county where the DUII is charged – because sentencing policies and jail alternatives are different in each county. At PDX Law Group, our attorneys have the knowhow to get the best results for our clients in any county.

DUII Diversion – Oregon law allows a person to avoid a conviction for DUII by entering and completing a court ordered Diversion program. PDX Law Group understands the pros and cons of DUII Diversion so our clients can make the best choice for them. We have successfully entered clients into Diversion over the District Attorney’s objection. We have strategies to keep our clients in Diversion if they are accused of violating the rules.

Civil Compromise – Some kinds of criminal charges can be settled out of court and dismissed. Why have a trial if the charge can be compromised? PDX Law Group pursues all possible resolutions for criminal charges.

DMV Hearings – When a person is arrested for DUII, they are usually taken to a police station and asked to give a breath sample to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). If a person’s BAC is over the legal limit, or if the person refuses to give a breath sample, their Oregon driver’s license (ODL) will be suspended by the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Although this ODL suspension is related to the DUII charge, the process to challenge it is separate from the DUII court dates. The DMV will hold their own trial to determine if the ODL suspension is legal – but only if the accused driver requests a hearing within 10 days of arrest.

It is absolutely crucial to request a DMV hearing and to have an attorney represent you there, for a number of reasons:

The DMV hearing happens fast, usually within a month or so of the DUII arrest. This is much quicker than the DUII will get to trial in the county Circuit Court.

The arresting officer must testify under oath about the facts of the case and the accused driver (or their lawyer) is allowed to cross examine the officer. The DMV hearing gets the officer’s story on the record and they cannot change their testimony later on at trial for the DUII.

The DMV judge can also ask questions of the arresting officer. It is always helpful to have an extra set of eyes reviewing the case.

A public defender can’t/won’t represent you at a DMV hearing. The appointment from the Court covers the DUII charge but not the DMV hearing. Sometimes the DMV hearing will be scheduled before you’ve even been to court to request a public defender.

Drivers License Suspensions – The Oregon DMV can suspend an Oregon driver’s license for a lot of different reasons. The DMV does make mistakes, but challenging them is not easy. The Administrative Rules and the Oregon Vehicle Code are lengthy and confusing. A DMV hearing is like a trial, and certain proof, evidence, or testimony may be required. PDX Law Group can help because we are experienced trial lawyers who understand the rules DMV plays by.

Traffic Tickets – There are lots of different ways to deal with traffic tickets. Sometimes the charges can be dismissed, reduced, or the fine can be lowered. Other times the ticket is wrong and must be challenged in court. At PDX Law Group, we look for the best outcome for each situation.

Domestic Violence Charges –Protecting victims of DV is increasingly a major focus of US law enforcement. That is a noble and necessary goal, but there are some unfortunate side effects. Families are treated in cookie-cutter fashion by police and the courts, a one-size-fits-all approach that often increases the stress of an already difficult situation. Police have little incentive to challenge dubious or false allegations, and they may be forced to make an arrest because of restrictive department policies. Even the accusation of DV can damage a person’s reputation.

For those accused of DV, PDX Law Group has extensive experience

Negotiating and litigating release conditions,

Finding DV diversion-type programs

Defending against false or trumped up charges at trial

Assisting and facilitating our clients’ success on probation

Defending against probation violation (PV) accusations

Restraining Orders – Oregon has several kinds of restraining orders (ROs), intended to address different situations, but they all share the same goal: to stop ongoing abuse and prevent it from happening in the future. Typically this goal is accomplished by ordering the abuser to stop all contact with the victim. If an abuser violates an RO they can be punished by jail, fine, probation, or some combination of all three.

At PDX Law, we have extensive in court experience litigating ROs. If you think you need an RO for yourself or someone else, we can to evaluate the situation and give an honest assessment. If someone is trying to take out an unjustified RO against you, we can help you fight it in court. We can also help modify the conditions of an existing RO.

Family Abuse Prevention Act Restraining Order (FAPA) – The FAPA RO is the most common and most well known RO in Oregon. The victim/petitioner must allege “abuse” within the past 6 months, the abuser/respondent must be “family member,” and there must be “ongoing danger.”

Elderly Persons & Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act Restraining Order (EPPWDAPA) – Intended to protect disabled persons and persons over 65 from abuse. Victim and respondent need not be “family members.” The definition of “abuse” is expanded to include wrongful taking of property or money, neglect or abandonment, and emotional abuse that causes harm. Not only can the court restrain the abuser/respondent from further contact, the court can order them to return money or property, give up control of the victim’s assets, or follow other instructions.

Stalking Protective Orders – Oregon defines stalking as repeated unwanted contact which causes alarm or coercion and results in reasonable fear or apprehension of personal safety. Stalking can be investigated by the police and charged as a crime. Another way to prevent stalking is to seek a Stalking Protective Order (SPO) from the court. An SPO functions similarly to a restraining order, restraining the stalker/respondent from contacting to victim. However, SPOs differ from ROs in one crucial way: it must be objectively reasonable for the victim to be alarmed by the unwanted contact. In other words, the victim must convince the judge that the stalker/respondent’s behavior would make anyone alarmed and fearful for their safety. PDX Law Group’s experienced attorneys can help assemble the evidence and witnesses necessary to successfully petition the court for an SPO.

Expunction/Expungement – Most criminal convictions and arrests can be expunged (removed) from your record if enough time has passed and if you’ve stayed out of trouble. PDX Law Group can assess your situation and help you remove past mistakes from your record.