The Types of Misdemeanors in Oregon and Their Consequences

Oregon classifies crimes as either felonies or misdemeanors. People often misjudge the impact of what these charges can bring to one’s social and personal life. In order to understand the consequences, one must understand the various actions that fall under the two.

Here you’ll find the different types of misdemeanors and their potential consequences.

Different Classes of Misdemeanors

There are four different categories to misdemeanors: Class A, B, C, and unclassified. You may think that unclassified is the most serious, but Class A is more serious and will result in a longer jail sentence and a higher fine.

Crime ClassMaximum SentenceFine
“Unclassified” MisdemeanorThe penalties will be specific to the event
Class “C” Misdemeanor5 to 30 days$1,250
Class “B” Misdemeanor30 days to 6 months$3,500
Class “A” Misdemeanor6 months to 1 year$6,250

It’s important to note that the different classes of misdemeanors, their sentences, and their fines can all vary. For example, a judge may decide the fine amount for an unclassified misdemeanor—it will not be the same across the board.

Crimes Against a Person

  • Assault

Assault is typically a physical attack on another person and may not typically cause or involve serious injury or harm. Assault in the fourth degree is a Class A Misdemeanor. Misdemeanor crimes that typically fall under this category are simple assault and domestic violence.

Simple assault will include things like punching someone with an intent to cause harm, but it can also include threatening to hurt someone without following through. Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors in an intimate relationship used by one partner to maintain power and control over the other. 

  • Harassment

Continuous unwanted actions—whether that be verbal, physical, or emotional—toward another person or group is harassment. Stalking is a typical example of harassment. Harassment is a Class B crime.

Public Safety Crimes

Public safety crimes are violations that could threaten the safety of passerby. Here are a few examples.

  • Disorderly Conduct

Often called “disturbing the peace,” disorderly conduct is unruly behavior that effects the general public. Disturbing an assembly and obstructing traffic are but two examples of disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct can either be Class A or Class B depending on the action.

  • Interfering with Public Service Officials

This can mean getting in the way of a firefighter or slowing down Emergency Medical Services. Either way, interfering is a Class A misdemeanor.

  • Reckless Driving

Drinking and driving and driving under the influence are the most common form of reckless driving. For these reasons and the harm that often results, reckless driving is a Class A misdemeanor.

  • Prostitution

Prostitution is Class A misdemeanor in Oregon. Prostitution and solicitation are both quite prevalent in the state, even though they are not often talked about.

Crimes Against Property

These types of misdemeanors refer to taking, damaging, or entering a property that is not your own.

  • Trespassing

Entering another person’s property without their express permission is trespassing. Trespassing, depending on the situation, can either be a Class A or Class C misdemeanor—the first or second degree, respectively.

  • Theft

Theft is also referred to as larceny, and it is defined as taking property owned by another person without their permission. Theft does not have to involve threats or violence. Theft in the second degree (Class A misdemeanor) and in the third degree (Class C misdemeanor) are considered as such when the amount stolen falls under a specified amount. It is still technically theft if you did not steal something but have it in your possession. This is also the case if you possess a stolen item without the knowledge of its theft.

  • Vandalism

Vandalism—or mischief—is an act that destroys or damages another person’s property without that person’s permission. Breaking a person’s window and spray-painting someone’s house are two examples of mischief. Criminal mischief in the second and third degree are Class A and C crimes, respectively.

Consequences of a Misdemeanor on Your Record

Although misdemeanors may not be as serious as felonies, they are still crimes. The different types of misdemeanors create various potential consequences.

Direct Consequences

If a judge finds you guilty of a crime, you will have to face the direct consequences. Since misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, the consequences are going to be lower and less significant. They can still easily distance you from loved ones and impact social aspects of your life.

  • Jail

In Oregon, the most time you will spend time in jail for a misdemeanor is one year.

  • Fines

Fines in Oregon for misdemeanor crimes will not exceed $6,250. These will include things like court fines, supervision fees, and any other fees ordered by the court.

  • Mandatory Classes

If you get charged with a DUII, you may be required to complete Oregon’s DUII Diversion Program.

Personal Consequences

Personal consequences are civil penalties and, as such, can truly impact your daily life in many negative ways. You can find some common examples of public consequences below.

  • Inability to gain public benefits

Different housing organizations can deny you housing if there is compelling evidence that you have been or still are involved with drug- or alcohol-related activities. Such activities may also impact student loans, grants, or welfare benefits.

  • Trouble getting a job

Oregon law prohibits employers from asking applicants about criminal history until after the first interview. However, that does not mean you are completely in the clear. Your criminal history can result in a denied application after a second interview, or it can impact your relationships with co-workers.

  • Public information

Since criminal convictions are public information, this can mean that anyone can learn about a conviction, therein affecting relationships with everyone around you.

License Consequences

License consequences are going to be a mixture of both direct and personal consequences. Driver’s license suspension is going to be more of a direct consequence, whereas loss or denial of a professional license because of the charge is a bit more of a personal consequence.

Get Help

Misdemeanor crimes aren’t exclusive to Oregon—they’re quite prevalent throughout the country. In an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, Alexandra Natapoff—a former federal public defender—stated that, “Thirteen million misdemeanor cases are filed every year in this country.”

If you live in Oregon and find yourself facing a misdemeanor charge, contact a Clackamas county criminal defense attorney. Jared Justice is there to help you face the road ahead.

consequences of a misdemeanor on your record

Learn When to Say No to a Police Officer: Know Your Rights

Consider this situation: a police officer pulls you over and approaches your car asking to conduct a search. Under what circumstances can you withhold consent? If you’ve never considered the proper way to respond to such a situation, you’re not alone. Even the most cautious drivers may find themselves ill-prepared to deal with an insistent police officer. Before you get back on the road, familiarize yourself with the U.S. citizenships rights and responsibilities and learn when to say no to a police officer.

When You Should Say “No”

It’s not unheard of for police officers to try and push citizens to accept a search—even going as far as ignoring someone when they simply say “no.” If you ever find yourself in this situation, you’ll want to make sure you clearly and forcefully use one of the following statements:

  • “I do not consent to a warrantless search.”

or

  • “No, officer (sir or ma’am), this is a private place/home/event, you may not enter without a warrant.”

Officers will try to get you to comply voluntarily to their searches. According to an article in Stanford Politics newsmagazine, they found that “an estimated 90 percent of warrantless searches are conducted pursuant to consent, and they are an important law enforcement tool.” Thus, meaning that people tend to say yes when they have the right to say no. This allows police officers to confuse individuals while simultaneously reinforcing their contention against you if you were to go to court.  

Remember, unless they have a warrant or probable cause, police cannot search without your consent. Understanding when you can say no to police officers and why you should is imperative to protecting your rights.

When they ask for consent to search your car or your person

You are allowed to say no when an officer asks to search you or your vehicle. Officers may use language such as “taking a look” inside your car to diminish the seriousness of the act. Make sure you are vocal, yet polite, about not allowing them to do so.

When they ask you questions after your arrest

If you are under arrest, the arresting officer should immediately read you your Miranda rights, which will inform you of your right to an attorney. After this, the first and only thing you’ll want to say is that you want to speak to an attorney. Once you do that, you do not want to say anything else. Your Clackamas County criminal defense attorney will be grateful if you stay quiet, no matter how much the police provoke you to incriminate yourself.

Why You Should Say “No”

It’s your constitutional right

The Constitution protects individuals against unreasonable search and seizure; the 4th Amendment states that citizens have the right to refuse random police searches anywhere, anytime. Only if an officer has strong evidence to believe you’re involved in criminal activity can they perform a search of you or your property.

It’ll protect you if you end up in court

If there’s any chance that an officer may find incriminating evidence, agreeing to a search can be incredibly destructive for you in court. If the police find something, it can kill your case before you even get to prepare your argument.

Remember to stay alert and say no to unwarranted searches.

The 3 Forms of Distracted Driving & Tips to Avoid It

"the 3 forms of distracted friving and tips to avoid it" in text with a picture of a woman putting on lipstick in the mirror while driving

Distracted driving is not something to take lightly. A few short seconds of distraction is all it takes to cause car crashes, injuries, and even deaths. Unfortunately, people usually don’t think these crashes will happen to them, and they continue to use cell phones or allow themselves to get distracted by other things.

This is the truth: “During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving.” When drivers use their phones, they exponentially increase their chances of crashing. Driving 55 miles per hour while texting is like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. The consequences of distracted driving are endless and should be taken quite seriously.

That said, there are more forms of distracted driving than just cell phone use. In recent years, organizations have focused on three main types of distracted driving.

The 3 Forms of Distracted Driving

Cognitive Distraction

This is a mental distraction—when the driver’s mind is not focused on the task at hand. A lot of crashes happen because the driver zones out or becomes lost in thought.

Examples:

Listening to a podcast or thinking about work, family, or personal issues.

Manual Distraction

A manual distraction is when the driver takes their hands off the wheel for any reason. This is the most well-known form of distracted driving, and it can severely impact the driver’s reaction time to different scenarios.

Examples:

Eating and drinking in the car, reaching for items in the car, adjusting the radio.

Visual Distraction

Taking your eyes off the road for any amount of time counts as a visual distraction.

Examples:

Looking at billboards, checking kids’ seatbelts.

A lot of other distractions can combine several of the types of distractions. Texting and driving, for example, includes all three. If you find yourself the driver in a distracted driving crash, find yourself a West Linn criminal defense attorney who can help you in your reckless driving case. These cases should be taken seriously since distracted driving can lead to jail time. Here are a few tips to inhibit your distractions while driving.

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

  • If you’re tired, pull off the road and stop driving.
  • Limit the level of activity within the car.
  • Eat before you start driving.
  • Use your cell phone for emergency purposes only, and pull to the side when doing so.
  • Just wait. Almost every task you may attempt to complete while driving can wait until you arrive at your destination.

Important Signs of Drug Addiction You Should Know

Although there are around 3,000 certified addiction counselors in Oregon, more than 300,000 Oregon residents have an untreated substance abuse disorder. Drug addiction is something that anyone can struggle with, regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, gender, or sex. When someone takes a drug, whether it is recreational or prescription, they have a chance to develop an addiction.

There are many signs of drug addiction, but some are easier to detect than others.

Physical Signs

The physical signs of drug addiction are often hidden, disguised, or occur gradually. Despite this, these are also the signs that people most notice first.

Common physical signs of addiction:

  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes
  • Abrupt and constant weight changes
  • Problems sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Poor physical coordination

Behavioral Signs

Drug abuse will often significantly alter a person’s behavior because most drugs impact the brain’s ability to focus and think clearly.

Common behavioral signs of drug addiction:

  • Secretive behavior
  • Changes in normal activities and behavior
  • Consistent and repeated lying and dishonesty
  • Self-isolation
  • Changes in common social circles
  • Neglecting responsibilities

Psychological Signs

When someone struggles with drug addiction, along with looking and acting in different ways, there will also be changes in their thoughts and emotions. Drugs often impact a person’s thought patterns, beliefs, attitudes, and priorities.

Common psychological signs of drug abuse:

  • Depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses (not meaning that those who struggle with these illnesses mean someone is dealing with drug abuse)
  • Paranoid or obsessive thoughts
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feelings of disinterest or apathy
  • Negative self-image
  • Sudden mood swings

Withdrawal Signs

When drug users attempt to stop abruptly or wean themselves off a particular drug, it can be incredibly hard on their body and mind. If you or someone you know is addicted to drugs, seek help when trying to quit.

Common withdrawal signs of drug abuse:

  • Trembling, jumpiness, and shakiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Headaches and fever
  • Seizures
  • Loss of appetite

A person may face certain obstacles when they’re trying to overcome their addiction. Thankfully, there are people and organizations willing to help. It doesn’t matter if someone made mistakes and now needs a Clackamas county criminal defense attorney or if someone needs help finding a rehab facility. An addict is never alone in their fight for a better life.

The 5 Types of Road Rage & How to Control Each

Road rage happens more often than you would think. Drivers swerve in, cut someone off, and hands fly up in the air in anger. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that almost 80 percent of drivers in 2015 displayed signs of road rage while behind the wheel. While road rage is common, that does not mean it is right to succumb to frustration and let your emotion take over.

It is beneficial to know the types of road rage and how to control each—this will help you combat the issue the next time you are behind the wheel.

The 5 Types of Road Rage

Passive Aggressive Road Rage

This type of road rage comes from the person who wants to maintain control of the road covertly. Wanting to avoid direct confrontation, this type of driver tries to speed up to disallow another car from merging into their lane. They seldom acknowledge the presence of another driver.

Competitive Road Rage

This type of rage comes from a person with competitive behavior when behind the wheel. They will want to be the first through the intersection and will weave in and out of traffic to arrive at their destination “first.” Competitive road rage often results in reckless driving because a meltdown will ensue if things do not turn out the way this type of driver wants.

Impatient Road Rage

A lot of people get impatient while driving—and impatience typically leads to reckless driving. Impatient drivers believe that what they have to do or where they have to go is more important than everyone else on the road. An impatient driver is someone who, for example, might merge last second just before a construction zone.

Vocal Road Rage

Drivers can yell about something in the privacy of their car, or they can roll down the window and let other drivers know exactly what they think. Though these actions can be small, they can lead to a screaming match, which could escalate into physical violence.

Violent Road Rage

Violent road rage will often result in the enraged person getting out of their vehicle—typically at a stop. While out of their vehicle, enraged drivers will continue with vocal threats and may even cause physical harm to the other driver’s person or vehicle. Drivers who experience violent road rage sometimes use their vehicle as a weapon as well.

Tips on Controlling Road Rage

  • Stay in your car—getting out of the car should never cross your mind
  • Do not use driving as a way to blow off steam
  • Breathe through the frustration
  • Do not take someone else’s driving errors or mistakes personally
  • Remember that it is not your job to punish others for poor driving
  • Train yourself on how you properly react to certain driving situations
  • Recognize that other drivers are human and thus susceptible to mistakes

If your road rage gets the best of you and results in an accident, you will want to hire a West Linn criminal defense attorney to help you with your case. Do not go to court alone.

6 Common Strategies of a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Chances are, if you were charged with a crime, you are currently searching for a criminal defense attorney. There is a lot to think about when it comes to the trial, the severity of the charges, what will happen after the fact, and so on. What is truly going to make the difference for your case is having the best defense possible.

The best criminal defense attorney in Clackamas County and across the country is one who develops a strong case in your favor. This is often achieved by using a few different approaches. Here are a few common strategies that many criminal defense lawyers employ.

6 Common Strategies of a Criminal Defense Lawyer

1. Self-Defense

It is true that someone can use physical force on another for self-defense or to defend a third person from what seems to be an imminent force of danger. However, the claim does not hold up in court if the person stating self-defense was the initial aggressor.

Self-defense is an affirmative defense—the defense must prove innocence by presenting evidence. If the defense presents a sound argument that meets the requirements for a self-defense claim, the court will issue an acquittal.

2. Unreliable Informant/Witness

If a defense attorney can make a witness appear inconsistent or catch them in a lie, the judge or jury is going to be much less likely to believe the testimony. Unreliable witnesses are quite common, and a good defense attorney will challenge everyone’s reliability.

3. Entrapment

Simply put, entrapment is when a normally law-abiding citizen commits a crime because of coercion or intimidation. A good defense lawyer will use this strategy for cases in prostitution crimes and drug offenses.

4. False Confession

False confessions happen more often than most care to admit. According to the Innocence Project, “130 DNA exonerees were wrongfully convicted for murders; 40 (31%) of these cases involved eyewitness misidentifications and 81 (62%) involved false confessions.”

5. Police Misconduct

Unfortunately, law enforcement officials sometimes embellish facts or commit misconduct during an investigation. Police misconduct occurs when officers lie in their testimony or reports, improperly handle evidence, and coerce someone innocent to admit guilt. If someone finds themselves on the receiving end of police misconduct, they may even be able to pursue a civil rights claim.

6. Reasonable Doubt

If your guilt cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the court cannot charge you—this is easily one of the most common defense strategies of a criminal defense lawyer. There are times where a case can be so fragile and filled with entirely circumstantial evidence that attorneys will show how the plaintiff cannot prove any wrongdoing.

Potential Consequences of Driving While Suspended in Oregon

In 2017, a sheriff’s office in southern Oregon issued 984 citations to drivers who already had a suspended license. There are three levels of charges for driving while suspended in Oregon—violation, misdemeanor, and felony. We briefly detail the potential consequences of driving while suspended in Oregon andhow someone might commit each of these three different crimes.

Violation Driving While Suspended

Action Committed

This is the least serious offense and is a Class A traffic violation. If you drive with a suspended or revoked license, the court will still charge you for the offense—even if it is not considered a misdemeanor or felony.

Possible Consequences

The potential consequence is most likely a substantial fine. The maximum fine amount is $720.

Misdemeanor Driving While Suspended

Action Committed

A misdemeanor DWS is a Class A offense. A person will be charged with this crime if they drive a car on public premises after they have been charged with one of the following acts:

  • Recklessly endangering another person with a car
  • Menacing or criminal mischief
  • Perjury or false statements to the DMV
  • Refusing to take an intoxication test
  • Failing an intoxication test

Possible Consequences

The maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is one year in jail. You may also receive probation or community service in addition to the fines you must pay. The minimum fine you’ll have to pay is $1,000.

Felony Driving While Suspended

Action Committed

Felony DWS is a Class B felony. You will be charged with this offense if your license was revoked or suspended due to some of the following convictions:

  • Murder, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide with a vehicle
  • Felony driving under the influence
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide

Possible Consequences

You may receive up to 10 years in prison if you receive the maximum penalty for a Class B felony. You will most likely get incarcerated for a felony DWS. If your license was suspended due to driving under the influence, you may be subject to a minimum fine of $1,000 the first time you are convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Reasons Why Your License May Get Suspended

There are numerous actions that could result in a suspended driver’s license—and some are more serious than others. Here are a few examples:

  • Murder, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide with a vehicle
  • Certain drug offenses
  • Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer
  • Criminal trespassing with a vehicle
  • Failing to report an accident when you are required to do so
  • Contributing to an accident that kills someone
  • Habitually incompetent, reckless, or negligent when it comes to driving
  • Commit a serious driving violation

Find Legal Help

If you get your license suspended or revoked and continue to drive, you will face serious consequences. Whatever criminal situation you find yourself in, you want to make sure that you have a strong and reliable Beaverton criminal defense attorney in your corner.

6 Publicly-Funded Rehab Facilities in Clackamas County

According to Aspire Health Network, “Only about 10.9% of Oregon drug addicts receive the treatment they require.”

There are many common obstacles that one faces when recovering from addiction, but affordability should not be one of them (even though it, sadly, is). Many people don’t know about publicly-funded facilities for drug and alcohol recovery, which is a shame because these facilities are—typically—more affordable than traditional options.

These facilities are also a better alternative to prison for anyone charged with an alcohol or drug-related Clackamas County crime.

Clackamas County Publicly-Funded Facilities for Drug and Alcohol Recovery

Address998 Library Ct., Oregon City, OR 97045

Phone Number: (503) 655-8401

This location mainly focuses on mental health and addiction services. Their services range from adult mental health and substance abuse treatment programs to children, youth, and family treatment programs. At Hilltop Behavioral Health Center, you’ll find peer support and focused individual psychotherapy.

Address38872 Proctor Blvd., Sandy, OR 97055

Phone Number: (503) 722-6950

This is a convenient location for families and individuals who seek access to quality, affordable medical care. They have adult and youth substance abuse treatment programs. Sandy Behavioral Health Center doesn’t refuse someone if they can’t pay.

Address1002 Library Ct., Oregon City, OR 97045

Phone Number: (503)-655-8264                        

Stewart Behavioral Health Center has a ton of different community support team services, one of which is for substance abuse treatment. They focus on alternative coping strategies that help individuals deal with the different thoughts and emotions that lead to substance abuse.

Address110 Beavercreek Road, Suite 100 Oregon City, OR 97045 

Phone Number: (503)-655-8471

Beavercreek is convenient for families and individuals, whether it’s for family planning, health education, or alcohol and drug treatment. Their drug and alcohol treatment services help patients overcome dependencies, adjust to life, and make necessary changes.

Address9775 SE Sunnyside Road, Suite 200, Clackamas, OR 97015

Phone Number(503) 655-8471

An all-in-one health center for individuals and families, Sunnyside Health Center provides medical, dental, mental health, and alcohol and drug treatment services.

Address18911 Portland Ave., Gladstone, OR 97027

Phone Number: (503)-655-8471

Gladstone Health Center provides many different medical services, and they offer everything at an affordable price for the entire family. Their on-site Mental Health Specialist provides outpatient counseling services for both mental health and drug and alcohol issues.

The Benefits of Publicly-Funded Rehab Facilities

Professional Staff

You’ll still get an extremely knowledgeable staff at a publicly-funded facility. These centers employ qualified addiction counselors and have a medical staff that’s there to help individuals recover from substance abuse.

Lower Costs

The services at publicly-funded facilities are, in general, a lot more affordable than they would be at a private facility. If the center is not free, then most will use a sliding scale system; in other words, most facilities adjust treatment costs according to a person’s income.

What You Need to Know About Measure 11 Crimes & Who Can Help

Serious crimes come with serious consequences—Oregon truly believes in this idea, and brings it to fruition with ballot initiative Measure 11. If you’ve been charged with a  Measure 11 crime  in  Lake Oswego or any other cities or counties within Oregon, find a  criminal defense attorney  right away.  Here is some important information you’ll want to know about what exactly a measure 11 crime is, and how criminal defense attorneys can help you fight this charge. 

What is Measure 11? 

To put it simply,  Measure 11 crimes  are the most serious “one strike you’re out” crimes. According to  Multnomah County, “Oregon voters approved Ballot Measure 11 in November 1994 to apply  mandatory minimum  prison  sentences  to certain crimes against persons committed on or after April 1, 1995, with no possibility for any reduction in sentence, such as for good behavior.”  

The Measure also takes away sentencing authority from the judge; there is no longer the opportunity for case-by-case sentencing—minimum prison terms are all up to standard protocols. These mandatory minimum sentences vary depending on what exactly the crime committed was. Here are a few examples of what crimes are considered to be Measure 11 crimes and their  sentencing guidelines

CrimeMandatory Minimum Sentence
Assault II5 years and 10 months
Manslaughter II6 years and 3 months
Rape II6 years and 3 months
Arson I (represented a threat of serious physical injury)7 years and 6 months
Kidnapping I (when the victim is under 12 and is for the purpose of committing Rape I, Sodomy I, or Unlawful Penetration)Otherwise25 years  7 years and 6 months
Unlawful Penetration I8 years and 4 months
Attempted Aggravated Murder10 years
Murder25 years
Aggravated Murder30 years to Life

Why a Criminal Defense Attorney is Necessary 

Since a Measure 11 charge is the most serious type of charge you can face in Oregon, you’ll need to find the right criminal defense attorney for you, right away. Remember, there is mandatory prison time, even if you have never been convicted or accused of anything in your past. Because of this there are many numerous devastating effects to Measure 11 crimes. 

Without a tenacious lawyer, you will be subjecting yourself to low chances of fighting this charge. However, once you’ve found the right criminal defense attorney that will help you with your case, your case will be fought with the passion and intensity it deserves. 

Jared Justice, a  criminal defense attorney, can help you battle these charges across all counties in Oregon. Retaining investigators, forensic psychologists, forensic computer experts, and many more will help to prepare you with the best defense possible. The best attorneys understand the importance of witness testimony, witness backgrounds, and social media, and how these can affect the case outcome. Make sure you have the best criminal defense attorney to help you through this difficult time. 

Hit-and-Run Consequences and What Makes a Responsible Driver

According to a press release from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “An average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes occurred each year since 2006.” They also noted that “hit-and-run deaths in the U.S. have increased an average of 7.2 percent each year since 2009.”

From this report, we can see that many individuals lose their lives when people flee the scene. When people follow the steps of a responsible driver, they can save lives. We’ll look at the consequences of hit-and-run accidents below and discuss what protocols you should follow.

What is Hit-and-Run?

Hit-and-run accidents become an offense when an individual involved in a vehicular accident illegally leaves the scene of the crime—whether it be when two drivers collide or when a driver hits a pedestrian.

Most states have traffic laws which outline certain tasks a driver must undertake after an accident to ensure that everyone is safe and that they exchange proper information. It is important to note that there are two different types of hit-and-run accidents—misdemeanor and felony.

No matter which type, there are various hit-and-run consequences and penalties—we have outlined these below.

Penalties of Leaving the Scene of an Accident

The consequences of a hit-and-run accident can vary and may include one or all of the following penalties: criminal, administrative, and/or civil.

Criminal Penalties

As stated above, criminal penalties for hit-and-run accidents are either felonies or misdemeanors.         

A hit-in-run involving a driver who knowingly leaves the scene of an accident when there is property damaged is a misdemeanor. A driver charged with a felony hit-and-run is one who leaves the scene when the accident involves injuries—to either a pedestrian or vehicle occupant.

Leaving the scene when there is a death or serious injury to another person will typically result in significant jail time and fines. Hit-and-run felonies can fall under Class B or C, which means that the driver could serve up to 10 years of prison time. Leaving an injured person will not only bring about criminal hit-and-run punishments but civil punishments as well.

Administrative Penalties

When it comes to a hit-and-run, almost every state will impose administrative penalties to your driver’s license. Regardless if it’s a misdemeanor or felony, this will likely result in an automatic suspension or revocation of your license. In Oregon, license suspension will last up to a year; however, if an injury from the accident is serious or fatal, the revocation will happen for no less than 3 or 5 years, respectively.

Civil Penalties

A victim of a hit-and-run accident can pursue civil penalties against a driver for the harm that he or she experienced. These penalties can include medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Punitive damages are also a possibility depending on remorse shown by the driver and whether or not the crime is egregious.

Driver Responsibilities in an Accident

To make sure that you don’t have to deal with any of these hit-and-run consequences and punishments, follow these guidelines.

  1. Stop immediately and move vehicles to a safe location
  2. Provide assistance to any injured person
  3. Call the police
  4. Exchange all necessary information. Leave notes if the owner is not available
  5. Evaluate any damage that has occurred—on property and individuals
  6. Wait for the police. Do not leave until they have spoken to you and allow you to leave

If you find yourself in a hit and run situation, make sure you get in contact with a Lake Oswego criminal defense attorney.  These situations are serious and call for reputable lawyers—speak with Jared Justice for more information.