Assault Defense Attorneys in Albany, Oregon
Like most states, Oregon has assault charges with different levels of seriousness, but all generally involve some form of physical injury to another person. Oregon does not officially use the terms “aggravated assault,” “assault with a deadly weapon,” or “assault and battery” but still has four classifications for assault, named for degrees one through four.
If you or a loved one is facing an assault charge in or around Albany, Oregon, contact Felling & Reid, LLC. Attorneys Dillon Duxbury, Timothy Felling and Tyler Reid are a team of legal experts who will investigate the charge and develop a sound defensive strategy to achieve the best result possible. Felling & Reid, LLC also proudly serves clients throughout Polk County, Lincoln County, Marion County, Benton County, and Linn County.
Types of Assault
Assault charges in Oregon can be complex and confusing, but two elements will generally determine the level of the crime: the injuries resulting and the mental state of the person inflicting the harm.
Assault in the Fourth Degree
Assault IV, or Assault in the Fourth Degree, can either be a Class A misdemeanor or Class C felony, depending on attendant circumstances.
The code states that a person commits the crime of Assault IV when he or she “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another,” or whose “criminal negligence causes physical injury to another by means of a deadly weapon.” A third definition involves “criminal negligence” in the operation of a motor vehicle that causes “serious physical injury to another.” Factors that take Assault IV from a misdemeanor to a felony include past domestic violence convictions and child witnesses.
Assault in the Third Degree
Assault III, or assault in the third degree, has many different definitions under Oregon’s criminal statutes. The key differentiating standards for a third-degree charge largely hinge on the use of “a deadly or dangerous weapon” and “extreme indifference to the value of human life,” whether a dangerous weapon is involved or not.
Assault in the third degree in Oregon is a Class C felony.
Assault in the Second Degree
Assault II, or assault in the second degree, has the modifier of “serious physical injury.” The three defining factors include:
intentionally or knowingly causing serious physical injury to another;
intentionally or knowingly causing physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon; or,
recklessly causing serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Assault in the First Degree
Assault I continues with the “serious physical injury” qualification but adds some qualifiers. For instance, the serious physical injury must be by “means of a deadly or dangerous weapon.” Or, the victim is either a child under six years of age or a pregnant woman.
Assault I also includes causing serious physical injury while operating a vehicle under the influence of intoxicants, but that charge must be backed by previous DUI (driving under the influence) violations in the previous 10 years.
Assault I and Assault II are both Measure 11 crimes.
Defenses to Assault Charges
The most famous defense for assault charges is self-defense. If someone initiated a confrontation and you fought back, that can be self-defense. This is your typical barroom brawl scenario, but it could take place anywhere. You might be assaulted on the street by someone seeking to rob you. In any situation, you would have to show that you were in immediate danger and that you used only the force necessary to defend yourself against that threat. A related affirmative defense is if you act in the defense of another person. Perhaps you were with a friend whom someone started to assault or abuse them, and you used only the force necessary to prevent harm to that person.
Of course, you can’t always claim self-defense. Assault cases often call for experts, from private investigators to doctors, to refute or mitigate the allegations. And it is important to have an attorney examine the case for any civil rights that may have been violated or any policies that law enforcement did not adhere to.
Remember - like with any criminal case - don’t answer any questions from police or prosecutors until you have the counsel of an experienced defense attorney. It may cause them to take you into custody, but at least you won't sabotage your case in the long run.
Assault Defense Attorneys in Albany, Oregon
The team at Felling & Reid, LLC will work aggressively with you to protect your rights and strive for the best possible outcome. You are innocent until proven guilty, and we will use every resource to aid your cause, including bringing your side of the story to prosecutors in hopes of a lesser charge or even a dropped charge. Reach out to us immediately when you face an assault investigation or charge.