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Portland Criminal Defense Attorney: Court Clarifies the Right to a Jury

Two Oregon Supreme Court decisions came down on the same day regarding the right to a trial by jury. The case of State v. Benoit was one such decision. In that case, during the Occupy Portland protests, the defendant was arrested and booked on second-degree trespassing charges, a Class C misdemeanor. At her arraignment, the court decided to treat the offense as a violation instead of misdemeanor, which carries less severe penalties. Because of this, a defendant loses the right to a trial by jury as well as the right to represented by a Portland criminal defense attorney. After examining certain factors, the Court ruled that the defendant was, in fact, entitled to a jury trial and therefore remanded the case back to the circuit court.

Portland Criminal Defense Attorney on Criminal Prosecutions

At issue was whether this defendant was facing a criminal charge and therefore had the right to be represented by a Portland criminal defense attorney. While this defendant was not facing incarceration, there were factors that made her case rise to the level of a prosecution. The factors the Court looked at were:

  • The type of offense
  • The penalty and the potential for incarceration or a heavy fine
  • Collateral consequences, such as a suspended driver’s license
  • Punitive significance of the prosecution
  • The role of pre-trial arrest and detention

Because this woman was handcuffed and arrested at the scene, she suffered the stigmatizing effects that come with an arrest. Just because the state chose to reduce the charges does not change the fact that the woman was booked and processed. Because the officers chose to arrest her instead of simply citing her at the scene, the defendant was entitled to a trial by jury.

As a Portland criminal defense attorney, our office knows how scary an arrest can be. At Corbridge & Kroll, we will fight aggressively to preserve your freedom. If you have been charged with a crime in Oregon, call us today.

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