(971) 205-3266
Free Consultation

Felony and Misdemeanor Assault

Portland Oregon Assault Lawyer

Oregon has strict definitions of the term “assault,” despite the wide variety of images and ideas the phrase brings to mind.  Unfortunately, almost any type of intentional or reckless conduct that injures another person can be charged as an assault.

That last sentence is important.  As you will see in the definitions below, you do not have to intend to cause injury.  Thus, it is possible to be found guilty of assault even when you made a simple mistake.  Assault is categorized in degrees, from 1st-Degree (most serious) to 4th-Degree (least serious).

Many assault charges, regardless of the degree, result from accusations of Domestic Violence.  If the assault charge is 1st or 2nd degree, then that is a Measure 11 crime, punishable by a mandatory minimum of 70 months in prison, without reduction or time off.  Even misdemeanor assault can result in jail time, probation, anger management, and the loss of your right to own firearms.

Thus, you can see that any level of assault is a very serious charge.

If you, or someone you know, has been accused of assault, they need legal representation immediately.  Contact Portland Assault Lawyers Kroll & Johnson P.C. today for a free and confidential consultation.

 

Defenses to Criminal Assault Charges

Defending an assault charge is a complicated process that deserves a serious defense.  Kroll & Johnson P.C. will explore every possible defense, and aggressively pursue your case each step of the way.

Perhaps you did injure someone else, but you did so in self-defense.  If you reasonably believe that you were in the path of imminent harm, you are allowed to defend yourself with proportionate force.  In other words, if someone tried to punch you, you could probably punch them back, but you certainly could not shoot them.

Perhaps you injured someone, but you did so in defense of another.  The same proportionality rule discussed above also applies.

Or, perhaps the allegations against you are complete fabrications.  With careful investigation and research, we may be able to show that the other person is making up the events, or that their injuries were caused by someone or something else.

 

Classifications of Assault Crimes

Assault in the First Degree (ORS 163.185)

Assault in the 1st degree is the most serious assault charge.  It is a Measure 11 crime, and you will do 90 months in prison without reduction if you are found guilty.  You can be charged with Assault I if you

  1. Intentionally cause serious physical injury to another person by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon (e.g. shooting someone with a gun);
  2. Intentionally or knowingly cause serious physical injury to a child aged 6 or younger; or
  3. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause serious physical injury to another, and you are driving under the influence, and you have at least 3 prior DUII convictions.

Each subsection of Assault in the 1st Degree requires a “serious physical injury” to another.

Serious injury is defined by Oregon law as a substantial risk of death, protracted disfigurement, impairment of health and/or the loss or protracted impairment of a bodily organ.  So a cut or a bruise, even a very painful one, probably would not suffice.  A broken leg or a serious gunshot wound likely would suffice.

Assault in the Second Degree (ORS 163.175)

Assault in the 2nd degree is also a very serious charge, and is classified as a Measure 11 offense.  If you are convicted of Assault II, you can expect to spend 70 months in prison.  You can be charged with Assault II if you

  1. Intentionally or knowingly cause serious physical injury to another;
  2. Intentionally or knowingly cause physical injury to another with the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon; or
  3. Recklessly cause serious physical injury to another through the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life.

There are substantial differences between subsections of this law.  For example, beating someone very badly with your fists and causing serious physical injury (section 1) is the equivalent of hitting someone with a hammer and causing a run-of-the-mill bruise (section 2).  In other words, any injury caused with a weapon can bring this Measure 11 charge down against you.

You should also know that “weapon” has a broad definition, beyond what one might normally picture.  In past Oregon cases, prosecutors have alleged that a flowerpot, a grill spatula, and the ground itself were weapons.

Assault in the Third Degree (ORS 163.165)

Assault in the 3rd degree is always a felony, and can occur in many different ways, though most are fairly uncommon.  You can be charged with Assault III if you

  1. Recklessly cause serious physical injury to another person with a dangerous or deadly weapon;
  2. Recklessly cause serious physical injury to another person under circumstances manifesting “extreme indifference to the value of human life;”
  3. Recklessly cause physical injury to another person with a dangerous or deadly weapon person under circumstances manifesting “extreme indifference to the value of human life;”
  4. By means other than a motor vehicle, you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause injury to a transit operator or a taxi operator while that operator is in control of the vehicle;
  5. You cause physical injury to another person while you are aided by somebody else actually present;
  6. You intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause physical injury to a cause injury to a staff member of a youth corrections facility while you are a prisoner;
  7. You intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause injury to an emergency medical service worker while that person is performing official duties;
  8. You are at least 18 or older and you intentionally or knowingly cause injury to a child aged 10 years olf or younger; or
  9. You cause injury to another with a dangerous or deadly weapon, or under circumstances manifesting “extreme indifference to the value of human life,” and the assault is the result of an accident occurring while you were driving a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants.

Subsection 9 deals with injury caused from DUII, and carried higher penalties than subsections 1-8.  If you are convicted of subsection 9, Oregon’s felony sentencing guidelines dictate a prison term, even if you have no prior criminal history.

You should also be aware that many assaults that would otherwise be misdemeanor Assault IV’s (see below) are changed into felony Assault III’s based on the status of the person who was injured – if they are a taxi driver, prison guard, EMT, etc, then you will face the felony-level charge.

Assault IV (ORS 163.160)

Assault in the 4th degree is the least serious degree of assault, and it is the only assault charge that can be a misdemeanor.  An Assault IV charge generally requires that you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause physical injury to another person.  Unlike the above degrees, the injury does not need to be severe or substantial, and no weapon needs to be used.  Thus, a punch that causes a bruise can suffice.

Assault IV can also be a felony.  This occurs if

  1. You have been previously convicted of assaulting this person (in any degree) before;
  2. The assault was witnessed by either your or the other person’s minor child (apparently, the minor children of other, uninvolved parties do not enhance this to a felony);
  3. You have 3 or more prior assault convictions of any degree, regardless of the identity of the victim; or
  4. The person who was assaulted was pregnant.  The state must prove you knew they were pregnant in order to make this into a felony.

 

Contact Us Today

If you or a loved one is accused of assault in any degree, this can be a difficult and stressful time.  You don’t have to go at it alone.  Contact Portland assault attorneys Kroll & Johnson P.C. today for a free and confidential consultation, so we can begin crafting your defense.

Leave a Reply

Criminal Law

Fill out the form below and a member of our staff will be in touch with you regarding your case.