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 Class||Maximum Sentence||Fine|
|“Unclassified” Misdemeanor||The penalties will be specific to the event|
|Class “C” Misdemeanor||5 to 30 days||$1,250|
|Class “B” Misdemeanor||30 days to 6 months||$3,500|
|Class “A” Misdemeanor||6 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 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.
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 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.
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 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—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.
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.
In Oregon, the most time you will spend time in jail for a misdemeanor is one year.
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 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 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.
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.