WHAT IS THE PROCESS IF I HAVE AN IDEA THAT I MIGHT BE PROSECUTED BUT NO ONE FROM THE GOVERNMENT HAS TOLD ME THAT I HAVE TO APPEAR IN COURT?
Excellent news! You haven’t been arrested and therefore there is a lot that we can do. Sometimes we decide to go in and speak with law enforcement (TOGETHER ONLY) in order to educate the investigators that you are innocent. Other times, especially when someone on the other side of the case is interested in a polygraph, we discuss doing a polygraph with a private polygrapher of our choosing. Many a case has been dismissed when the other sides see that you passed the test. The cost of such an exam is approximately $500 but it can be the best use of limited time and money up front.
We have numerous other issues that we can discuss at the outset such as…….
IF I HAVE TO GO TO COURT AND BE ARRAIGNED, WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
In Oregon, sex crimes can be either Ballot Measure 11 offenses or non-Ballot Measure 11. There is more flexibility with what happens at arraignment when the sex crime charged is non-Ballot Measure 11.
Judges are required to impose a minimum of a $50,000 security release amount for a defendant charged with a Ballot Measure 11 crime and usually the security release amount that judges impose is much higher. When jails receive individuals charged with crimes, they normally impose initial security release amounts as follows:
- $250,000 for a Class A felony
- $100,000 for a Class B felony
- $50,000 for a Class C felony
However, be advised that amounts vary from county to county, release officer to release officer and judge to judge.
There is a lot more to discuss when it comes to bail and release conditions such as….
WHAT IS A BALLOT MEASURE 11 OFFENSE?
O.R.S. 137.700 and 137.707 list all of the Ballot Measure 11 offenses. The Ballot Measure referred to required that if a person is found guilty or pleads guilty to one of these offenses, the judge is required to impose a mandatory minimum sentence. (There is a very small group of people who may be “eligible” to argue that imposition of the mandatory minimum sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in their situation. This is something that you can discuss with your attorney once the two of you have met and your attorney has a good understanding of your particular situation.
In general, a person charged with any of the crimes listed in ORS 137.700 and 137.707 will be facing a mandatory prison sentence if convicted.
Ballot Measure 11 sex crimes include:
- Rape in the first and second degree
- Sodomy in the first and second degree
- Unlawful sexual penetration in the first and second degree
- Sexual abuse in the first degree
- Using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct
- Compelling prostitution
- Mandatory prison sentences under these statutes range from 70 months to 300 months depending on the crime charged and the age of the alleged victim.
Mandatory prison sentences are often used as a tool by the prosecution to coerce people who are afraid of the uncertainties of trial to plead guilty to a crime other than a Ballot Measure 11 offense. By offering a plea negotiation outside of Ballot Measure 11 many individuals are enticed into pleading guilty to a crime they did not commit just in order to avoid the risk of prison time if they go to trial and are convicted of a Ballot Measure 11 offense.