OREGON ASSAULT LAWS

OREGON ASSAULT LAW GUIDE



David N Lesh
Oregon Assault Charge Defense Attorney
Oregon Super Lawyer 2018, 2019, 2020

Call today to speak with Mr. Lesh about your assault charge 
(503) 546-2928
Photo of attorney David Lesh

2020 GUIDE TO OREGON ASSAULT CRIMES

Assault in the First Degree known as Assault I or Assault One (ORS 163.160)

Assault in the Second Degree known as Assault II or Assault Two (ORS 163.165)

Assault in the Third Degree known as Assault III or Assault Three (ORS 163.175)

Assault in the Fourth Degree known as Assault IV or Assault Four (ORS 163.185)

 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, David Lesh will conduct consultations in person or via telephone.  He will continue to serve and represent his clients (current and new) and attend court appearances.  If possible, he will waive his clients' personal appearance. 
Please call 503.546.2928 or email INFO @ DAVIDLESH.NET (no spaces).


 

 

I just got arrested / cited for an Oregon assault charge.  What happens now?

As a so-called person crime, assault charges are treated more seriously than many other charges.  Often times, a person arrested for assault is booked into custody and brought before a judge the next business day.  This is particularly true for a domestic assault or a felony assault charge.  Sometimes though a person charged with a minor assault charge (such as assault in the fourth degree) may be given a citation or release agreement to appear in custody a few weeks down the road.

If you are charged with assault in the second degree or assault in the first degree, you will likely have a very high bail, because these are Measure 11 offenses.  If you are unable to post bail, your attorney may be able to set a bail reduction hearing in an attempt to get a judge to lower your bail. 

If you are released from custody after your arrest (whether on bail or on your own recognizance), be sure to read, understand, and obey any release agreement or release conditions.  This is especially true of any "no contact" order.  Do not have contact, direct or indirect, with the complaining witness in your case or you risk being taken into custody.  This can be difficult if the complaining witness is your spouse or significant other, but it is critically important.  Your attorney may be able to request the judge to modify the no contact order at a later time. 

What is the difference between the various Oregon assault charges?

 

There are four degrees of assault charges in Oregon.  The different assault charges are summarized in very general terms below.  Please note that the charges are abbreviated as follows: 

  • Assault in the fourth degree = Assault IV (referred to as "assault 4");

  • Assault in the third degree = Assault III (referred to as "assault 3");

  • Assault in the second degree = Assault II (referred to as "assault 2"); and

  • Assault in the first degree = Assault I (referred to as "assault 1").

CHARGE CLASSIFICATION HOW COMMITTED (most common way in bold)
Assault in the fourth degree

ORS 163.160
Either a Class A Misdemeanor
or
Class C Felony

intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another person (commonly seen in a fist fight situation without the use of weapons or a DUII crash where another person is injured); or

—with criminal negligence causes physical injury to another by means of a deadly weapon. 

Assault in the third degree

ORS 163.165
Either a
Class C Felony

or a
Class B Felony
—recklessly causes serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon; or
—recklessly causes serious physical injury to another under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; or
 
—recklessly causes physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; or
—intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes, by means other than a motor vehicle, physical injury to the operator of a public transit vehicle while the operator is in control of or operating the vehicle; or
—while being aided by another person actually present, intentionally or knowingly causes physical injury to another (commonly seen when two or more persons beat up another person); or
—while committed to a youth correction facility, intentionally or knowingly causes physical injury to another knowing the other person is a staff member of a youth correction facility while the other person is acting in the course of official duty; or
—intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to an emergency medical technician or paramedic, while the technician or paramedic is performing official duties; or
—being at least 18 years of age, intentionally or knowingly causes physical injury to a child 10 years of age or younger; or
—knowing the other person is a staff member, intentionally or knowingly propels any dangerous substance at the staff member while the staff member is acting in the course of official duty or as a result of the staff member’s official duties; or
—intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes, by means other than a motor vehicle, physical injury to the operator of a taxi while the operator is in control of the taxi.
Assault in the second degree

ORS 163.175
Class B Felony

Ballot Measure 11
70 months minimum sentence
with possible opt out
—intentionally or knowingly causes serious physical injury to another; or
—intentionally or knowingly causes physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon
(commonly seen when someone uses a weapon such as a knife (stabbing) or club (beating) and injures another person); or
—recklessly causes 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

ORS 163.185
Class A Felony

Ballot Measure 11
90 months minimum sentence
—intentionally causes serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon (commonly seen when someone uses a weapon such as a gun or knife and seriously injures another); or
—intentionally or knowingly causes serious physical injury to a child under six years of age (no weapon needed).

 

Keep in mind, this is only a general summary of the various assault charges.  Another assault crime is Assaulting a Public Safety Officer or APSO.  You commit the crime of assaulting a public safety officer if you intentionally or knowingly causes physical injury to another person, knowing the other person to be a peace (police) officer, corrections officer, youth correction officer, parole and probation officer, animal control officer, firefighter or staff member, and while the public safety officer is acting in the course of official duty.  APSO is a Class C felony. 

Oregon criminal law does not use the term "battery" as some states do.  Oregon does not use the term "simple assault" either.  That would be similar to assault in the fourth degree.

How does assault in the fourth degree become a felony crime in Oregon?

Ordinarily a charge of assault in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor; however, an assault in the fourth degree becomes a Class C felony if the defendant:

      (a) Has previously been convicted of assaulting the same victim;

      (b) Has previously been convicted at least three times of assault and all of the assaults involved domestic violence;

      (c) The assault is committed in the immediate presence of, or is witnessed by, the person’s or the victim’s minor child or stepchild or a minor child residing within the household of the person or victim; or

      (d) The person commits the assault knowing that the victim is pregnant.

What about "assault and battery," "aggravated assault" or "assault with a deadly weapon?"

Oregon doesn't use those terms in this state's criminal code, although if someone is assaulted with a gun, the state may add the words "with a firearm" such as assault in the first degree with a firearm.

What about the crime of "vehicular assault" in Oregon?

Oregon does have a distinct crime called vehicular assault which is found at ORS 811.060; however, it is rarely charged.  If you injure someone while recklessly (or intentionally) driving a vehicle (i.e. you're DUII) you generally face one of the assault charges outlined in the table above (usually Assault 4, Assault 3, or Assault 2).

If a defendant is convicted of an assault charge involves operating a vehicle the court must impose a license suspension or revocation depending on the offense.

   ORS 809.235 Permanent revocation of driving privileges upon conviction of certain crimes; restoration of privileges. 
   (1)(a) Notwithstanding ORS 809.409 (2), the court shall order that a person’s driving privileges be permanently revoked if the person is convicted of any degree of murder and the court finds that the person intentionally used a motor vehicle as a dangerous weapon resulting in the death of the victim, or if the person is convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide, manslaughter in the first or second degree resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle, criminally negligent homicide resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle or assault in the first degree resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.
* * * * *
   ORS 809.411 Suspension for conviction of crime. 
* * * * *

      (10)(a) The department shall take action under subsection (1) of this section upon receipt of a record of conviction of assault in the second, third or fourth degree resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.

      (b) A person who is convicted of assault in the second degree and whose driving privileges are suspended under this subsection may apply for reinstatement of driving privileges eight years from the date the person is released from incarceration for the conviction, if the sentence includes incarceration. If the sentence for the conviction does not include incarceration, the person may apply for reinstatement of driving privileges eight years from the date the department suspended the privileges under this subsection.

      (c) A person who is convicted of assault in the third degree and whose driving privileges are suspended under this subsection may apply for reinstatement of driving privileges five years from the date the person is released from incarceration for the conviction, if the sentence includes incarceration. If the sentence for the conviction does not include incarceration, the person may apply for reinstatement of driving privileges five years from the date the department suspended the privileges under this subsection.

      (d) A person who is convicted of assault in the fourth degree and whose driving privileges are suspended under this subsection may apply for reinstatement of driving privileges one year from the date the person is released from incarceration for the conviction, if the sentence includes incarceration. If the sentence for the conviction does not include incarceration, the person may apply for reinstatement of driving privileges one year from the date the department suspended the privileges under this subsection. [2003 c.402 §3; 2005 c.403 §1; 2011 c.355 §15]

What is meant by "domestic violence" in Oregon?

Domestic violence is a term that refers to abuse between family or household members.  Accusations of assaults between family or household members are usually treated more seriously by the courts and the various DA's Offices than assaults between strangers.  Your lawyer can explain more about domestic assaults.  Keep in mind that there is no crime in Oregon called "domestic violence" or "domestic assault."  The charges are the same as in the table above.

What is a civil compromise?

Certain crimes, including some assault crimes, may be compromised and dismissed if the complaining witness (victim) and the court (judge) agree. There is a formal process to apply to have charges dismissed pursuant to a civil compromise.  First, the complaining witness must acknowledge in writing that the person has received satisfaction for the injury.  Next, the court must be convinced that dismissal of the charge(s) pursuant to civil compromise is lawful and appropriate.  If both of these conditions are met, the court will sign an order dismissing the charge(s) pursuant to the civil compromise.

Several issues may affect the ability of a defendant to obtain a civil compromise.  Whether the DA objects, consents, or takes no position is a significant factor.  Also, if a defendant has a prior record or a prior civil compromise, getting the court to agree to a civil compromise may not be possible.  You cannot civilly compromise an assault involving family or household members (domestic violence), an assault in the first degree, an attempted assault in the first degree, or an assault in the second degree.

I was defending myself.  How can I be charged with assault?

Under Oregon law, "self defense" and "defense of others" and "defense of property" are valid defenses to assault (and some other) charges.  Ultimately, its up to the jury to determine if they feel the use of these defenses are an adequate defense to the crime charged.

Can I expunge or seal an Oregon assault conviction?

 

Some assault convictions (Class A misdemeanors / Class C felonies) are eligible to be expunged or sealed if you meet the eligibility requirements in the statutes.  Examples include:  assault in the fourth degree; assault in the third degree; attempted assault in the fourth degree; attempted assault in the third degree; and attempted assault in the second degree.

 

However, you cannot expunge a conviction for assault in the second degree or assault in the first degree or attempted assault in the first degree.  If you're found not guilty or the case is otherwise dismissed, you should be able to expunge the arrest record at some point.  Assaults involving domestic violence may be expunged if they are otherwise eligible.

 

What about an ATTEMPTED assault charge?

 

When a crime is listed as an "attempt" is lowers the crime one level meaning it is less serious than the underlying crime.  For example, while assault in the first degree is a class A felony, attempted assault in the first degree is a class B felony (and not subject to Ballot Measure 11 as is assault in the first degree).

 

How do I contact David Lesh for help with my assault case?

 

Mr. Lesh does not charge for an initial consultation.  Call his office at 503.546.2928 to speak with him.  Mr. Lesh's office is located at 434 NW 19th Avenue in Portland.

 

David N Lesh




About the Author: 

David Lesh is a Portland attorney emphasizing the defense of serious criminal charges.  He has been a member of the Oregon State Bar since 1990.  Mr. Lesh is a former Multnomah County prosecutor (5 years) and lawyer to the Portland Police Bureau (3 years).  He was named an Oregon Super Lawyer in 2018, 2019, and 2020.  His law practice has an A+ BBB rating.
Office Location:  434 NW 19th Avenue; Portland, OR  97209
Phone:  503.546.2928   |   Fax:  503.296.2935
Email: info @ davidlesh.net (no spaces)

Privacy Policy


"I defend and help people facing assault charges in the Portland metro area. 
Call me today at 503.546.2928 for immediate assistance with your assault case."


"Should you hire me to represent you, I will be your lawyer and point of contact.
I don't use-low level associates, paralegals, legal assistants, or case managers.
I personally respond to your phone calls and emails; I meet with you; I appear with you in court."



"David is extremely knowledgeable and an expert in the courtroom." 

 

W. Mitchell

5 stars



Websites, including this one, provide general information but do not provide legal advice or create a lawyer / client relationship.  Consult qualified Oregon assault lawyers / attorneys for advice about any specific charge that you face.  Oregon defense lawyers are governed by the Oregon Code of Professional Responsibility.  This website may be considered an advertisement for services under the Code of Professional Responsibility.  Information contained in this website is believed to be accurate but is not guaranteed or warranted in any way.  By David N Lesh, info@davidlesh.net.   All reviews and testimonials on this site are real and were unsolicited. 

 

 

David Lesh provides Oregon assault defense assistance to the communities of:  Portland Ore., Portland OR, NW Northwest, SW Southwest, SE Southeast, NE Northeast, and N North; Gresham; Beaverton; Hillsboro; Lake Oswego; McMinnville; Oregon City; Tualatin; West Linn; Milwaukie; Wilsonville; Troutdale; and Multnomah County; Clackamas Counties.  Read our privacy statement.  Mr. Lesh accepts American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard credit cards / card.  Copyright 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007.