Oregon strictly controls the possession and use of firearms. There are special statutes in place that require extensive prison time for most gun crimes, even if the person has no prior criminal history. Most gun charges are felonies, and as the penalties are so severe, seeking out experienced representation is always in your best interests.
Edward Kroll is a former prosecutor who has handled gun cases from both sides of the aisle. He has a strong track record in obtaining favorable outcomes for clients charged with firearm crimes, and his knowledge of the courts and of the law is a valuable asset.
Most gun crimes are charged by way of enhancement. In other words, the “base” crime is modified to include firearm language. For example, if you threatened someone with a knife, you could be charged with “Unlawful Use of a Weapon.” If you did so with a gun, you could be charged with “Unlawful Use of a Weapon With a Firearm.”
Other statutes forbid even owning or possessing a gun. For example, anyone convicted of any type of felony is not allowed to possess a gun or any other firearm. If a person is a convicted felon and is caught with a gun – even if the gun was not used in any way at all – they will be charged with another felony: “Felon in Possession of a Firearm.”
In Oregon, ORS 161.160 requires mandatory prison sentences for any gun felony. This is true even if the person has no prior criminal history at all. A first-time conviction carries a 5-year prison sentence. This is increased to 10 years in prison if the firearm is a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, is a machine gun, or has a silencer attached.
If the person has a prior gun conviction, then the mandatory sentences are doubled – 10 years for a standard gun crime, and 20 years for a modified gun crime.
Oregon law also states the operability of the firearm doesn’t matter. So even if the gun is broken, it can still count as a firearm for purposes of Oregon’s gun laws. With a minimum of 5 years of your life on the line, seeking legal advice is definitely recommended.
If you have an experienced defense attorney helping you, they may be able to remove your case from this mandatory sentencing structure. If you have no violent priors, no one was injured, and your criminal act was not especially aggravating, you can qualify for a one-time-only “escape clause” if you are found guilty. Basically, assuming you meet the statutory requirements, the court has discretion to deviate from the mandatory prison sentence and impose a more appropriate sentence. Depending on the facts, this is often probation, anger management, and little to no jail time.
You should know that the court rarely does this on its own, and the court usually won’t do it unless the DA’s Office agrees. Your attorney will collect mitigating evidence, challenge the state’s case, and perhaps get you into an early treatment program, all in order to convince the DA to remove the prison sentence from over your head.
In certain circumstances, you may not be eligible for the escape clause, or you may simply wish not to take any sort of deal. If that is the case, then you must prepare for a high-stakes trial. You should choose an attorney who will aggressively attack all parts of the state’s case.
Edward Kroll will challenge all aspects of the case against you – in particular the reason why you were stopped and how the police found the gun. If the police stopped you for an invalid reason, or if they performed an illegal search, then we could get the gun suppressed. And without a gun, the state has no case.
In other circumstances, you may have had a legally valid reason for possessing the gun or using it in the manner you did. Witnesses and accusers may be mistaken, or even downright deceitful. We will explore every option available.
Edward Kroll is an experienced gun crime defense lawyer. If you have questions or are facing a firearm charge, contact Edward Kroll today for a free and confidential consultation, so we can start working on your defense.