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Oregon Domestic Violence Charges: What to Know from an Experienced Portland Criminal Defense Attorney

December 9th, 2013 by Daniel Woram

The consequences of a domestic violence charge or conviction to you or a loved one can be severe and far-reaching. (Common domestic violence charges include: Assault, Harassment, Stalking, Menacing, Strangulation, Coercion, and associated internet crimes, such as cyber-harassment and cyber-stalking).

District Attorney’s offices are quite aggressive in prosecuting these cases. The following are recurring problems and patterns that my clients have experienced after being charged with domestic violence crimes:

  1. Charges can uproot you from your day-to-day life. Because of the no-contact orders that automatically issue in these cases, many fundamental aspects of your life are disrupted–where you live, being able to access your belongings, taking care of children, for instance. Moreover, it is notoriously difficult to persuade a court to modify a no-contact order. (For more details on this, see the article, Oregon Domestic Violence Charges and No Contact Orders (NCOs).  There are other consequences that you may find surprising. For instance, your landlord even has the right to evict you if you are charged with a domestic violence crime. See generally the article, Five Things You may not Know about Domestic Violence Charges.
  2. Charges can result in a “lifetime ban” on your Second Amendment rights. Even a misdemeanor, non-felony domestic violence conviction will ban you from owning or possessing a firearm until you take certain steps to recover these Second Amendment rights. For more information on this aspect of domestic violence charges, see our forthcoming article, Domestic Violence and the Firearm Restriction, Prohibition, and Consequences.
  3. Charges can jeopardize your current employment. Most people are employed under an “at-will” arrangement, which means they can be fired for any reasonable cause, including a domestic violence charge or conviction. Further, if your work requires an occupational license, then your license may be subject to suspension (temporary) or, in extreme circumstances, revocation (permanent). For most people, such a charge will mean that the licensing agency will conduct its own, separate investigation of the matter, often resulting in, essentially, a “second probation”, with the licensing board imposing their own “probationary-type” terms if you want to keep your license in good standing.
  4. Charges can impair and limit your future employment prospects. Employment-related background checks, especially in this ailing economy and job market, are ubiquitous. A conviction makes you stand out in a negative sense.
  5. Charges can impact your parental rights through DHS involvement. If children are involved, a domestic violence incident can initiate a DHS (Department of Human Services) investigation, which can then lead to children being placed in the temporary custody of DHS. If this occurs and if you fail to abide by the conditions that DHS and the court imposes, your rights as a parent might be at risk.

These direct and indirect consequences of a domestic violence charge underscore the need for and value of a skilled and experienced criminal-defense lawyer.

Daniel Woram has nearly 25 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney who represents people facing Oregon domestic violence charges in the Portland and Oregon City area, including Clackamas, Washington, and Multnomah Counties. Contact Woram Law today for a confidential consultation and guidance on your case or that of a loved one.