What is Domestic Violence?
To put it simply, domestic violence is a crime committed by an intimate partner, a family member, or a household member, against the other partner or house member.
However, that is really putting it simply; there is a lot to know about domestic violence and its different levels. There are major differences between felony and misdemeanor domestic violence, and it’s important to note that Oregon does not make the distinction between domestic violence and criminal assault. In fact, they are often paired together. In Oregon, ‘Domestic Violence’ can be used as a modifier attached to criminal charges. Take, for example, a bar fight where one person punches the other—this would be considered “Misdemeanor Assault IV.” However, if a family member punches another family member, that is considered “Misdemeanor Assault IV—Constituting Domestic Violence.” We’ll continue to outline below the specifics of domestic violence and the potential penalties of domestic violence charges.
Degrees of Assault & Mandatory Arrest
In Oregon, assault is defined as an act that causes injury to another person, and the state has assigned four different degrees of assault. Below is a list of the four different degrees, ranging from the most serious crime to the least serious.
1. Assault in the First Degree
The most serious assault crime. A person is charged with this if the assault is intentional and causes serious physical injury with a weapon, causes intentional injury to a child under the age of six, or drives drunk and injures somebody.
2. Assault in the Second Degree
The differences between First Degree and Second Degree are pretty minor, but still focuses on the fact that the harm has been done intentionally.
3. Assault in the Third Degree
Third Degree assault is a mixture of both intentionality and recklessness. If someone recklessly causes serious harm, it is considered Assault in the Third Degree.
4. Assault in the Fourth Degree
The least serious assault crime, Fourth Degree assault is when someone intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes physical injury to another—note, this is not serious injury.
In Oregon, there seems to be more of a hyper vigilance when it comes to domestic violence charges. For example, if police respond to a domestic disturbance call and have probable cause to believe that either an assault has occurred or one person has placed the other in fear of serious physical injury, then the police have to make an arrest. This is called Oregon’s mandatory arrest rule, and all it takes is an allegation.
What this means is that even if a couple get into a spat, and one calls the cops saying something offhand about their partner scaring them, then the police have to come and take the accused into custody. This is what makes the rule hyper vigilant, but it shows that the law takes claims seriously. However, there are often false allegations.
There is a lot that goes into a domestic violence trial. It is important to know about the variety of charges and the potential penalties that come from a domestic violence charge.
Here is a list of some of the most commonly charged Domestic Violence offenses:
- Assault IV Misdemeanor: This offense involves intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing injury to another.
- Assault IV Felony: Assault IV is considered a felony when the offense happens in the presence of one of the parties’ children (who is a minor), or when someone commits a misdemeanor against someone they have already been convicted of assaulting in the past.
- Harassment: A misdemeanor, harassment is someone intentionally annoys or harasses another. No injury is required for the crime to be considered harassment.
- Coercion: Considered a felony, this is when someone threatens another to keep that person from doing their entitled right or threatening someone to do something that they do not want to do.
- Menacing: Considered a misdemeanor, Menacing is when someone intentionally places another in fear of imminent and serious physical injury.
- Strangulation: This offense occurs when someone intentionally or knowingly impedes the breathing and blood flow of another individual—strangulation is considered a misdemeanor.
There are many other variations of domestic violence charges ranging from robbery to rape. If you or someone you know lives in Oregon and is charged with any Domestic Violence crime, seek help from a Clackamas County’s criminal defense attorney Jared Justice.
Besides five to thirty days or more of jail time, there are a plethora of serious consequences for domestic violence. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you can expect the following.
- Formal Probation
This will be supervised, and it will typically last 24–36 months
There are many different fees one can expect from a domestic violence conviction. There are the court costs that—at the very least—will add up to $750. There are then fees for classes and treatment, which vary according to the seriousness of the crime.
- Forfeiting Firearms and Ammunition
If you are convicted of domestic violence, you forfeit your right to own, possess, or purchase firearms and ammunition.
- Batterer’s Intervention Program
These programs were first established in the late 70s. According to the Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services, an estimated 100,000 people in the U.S. have been sentenced to complete this program. It usually lasts for 48 weeks with a strict minimum of 36 weeks, and failure to complete the program can lead to jail time for the maximum allowable time on your case.
- No Contact Order
These orders will also take place during the trial itself—not just afterward when a conviction is in place. If someone is arrested for a domestic violence crime, No Contact Orders are mandatory. No Contact Orders can result in someone leaving their home and having no contact with family regardless of anyone’s wishes.
Felony convictions roughly have the same penalties, but they also have the potential for substantial prison time. There are steps to take to help you in your domestic violence case, just make sure to get in touch withcriminal defense attorney Jared Justice.