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Portland Criminal Law Blog

Knowing your rights can help you land a job after incarceration

Getting a job is one of the most important things to do to get back on your feet after being incarcerated, but it can be a challenging step for many people. A criminal record decreases a person’s chances of receiving a job offer or being called back by about 50 percent, according to a Harvard study. However, Oregon’s Ban-the-Box statute aims to make the hiring process a fairer one for job applicants statewide.

What does the Ban-the-Box statute do?

Drunk driving during the winter

For some people, the winter months are difficult due to poor weather and a sense of boredom. Some may drink more during this potentially difficult season and, unfortunately, this can lead to drunk driving accidents and DUI charges. When winter weather arrives, driving can be difficult for those who are sober, let alone those who are under the influence of alcohol. As a result, it is crucial to be mindful of these issues and the potential consequences that drivers may face if they decide to operate a vehicle during the winter while under the influence of alcohol.

Operating a vehicle in the winter months can be especially hard in certain parts of the U.S. There may be snow and ice on the road, and snowfall may affect visibility or even cover up traffic signs. For someone who is intoxicated, it can be even more difficult to drive in comparison to the warmer months and the likelihood of being pulled over by a law enforcement official may be even greater. For example, many law enforcement officials look for drunk drivers during the holiday season and set up checkpoints.

Eligibility requirements for Oregon Diversion

If you have been arrested and charged with a drunk driving offense in Oregon, you will logically want to understand your defense options. A conviction for driving under the influence of intoxicants can be something you want to avoid and the state's program called Diversion may present with you the ability to avoid this conviction.

Diversion is a program via which you complete required activities in exchange for not having a criminal conviction on your record. The program lasts for one year and includes things like participation in substance treatment classes and support group meetings and the required use of an ignition interlock device. Not everyone can qualify for Diversion, however. As explained by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, there are several things that may disqualify you from this program.

Oregon man’s conviction reviewed for lack of deportation advice

In 2012, police arrested Javier Garcia-Navarro, a legal resident, on drug trafficking charges. He pled guilty because his attorney told him that it was his best chance at probation. The attorney said that if he only got probation, immigration officials may not flag his case. If the judge sentenced him to prison after trial, however, the sentence “essentially guaranteed” deportation.

Challenging the conviction

DUI charges and your teen’s reputation

Drunk driving charges can shatter someone’s reputation in many ways, whether their friends and loved ones no longer look at them in the same way or they are unable to find work in a field because of their record. When a teenager is charged with DUI, their reputation may also be shattered, and this could haunt them years down the road when they are trying to get into college or apply for a job, for example. If your teen has been accused of drunk driving, it is essential for you to help them through this difficult time.

A young person’s future could be adversely affected by these charges in multiple ways, such as trying to get into college. It can also affect their current school performance as well, which may result in poorer grades and other challenges due to their drunk driving case. For example, high levels of stress and the loss of driving privileges could get in the way of school.

What are the main factors in a wrongful conviction?

If someone is found guilty of a crime, it should mean the prosecution proved their case. That evidence shows the accused is guilty, without a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, too many have found that this is not always the case.

Despite discrepancies in testimony or missing information, courts can convict someone of a crime they did not commit. In fact, it’s happened so often that researchers can determine factors common in wrongful conviction cases. They include:

DUI charges during Halloween

Every year, people across the country celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costumes and heading out to parties. Some of these parties involve alcohol consumption and this can lead to DUI charges for drivers in Portland and across the state of Oregon. If you plan on celebrating Halloween this year, it is very important to be aware of how much you drink and never get behind the wheel while intoxicated. If you do find yourself pulled over for drunk driving, whether you are over the legal limit or not, it is crucial to be aware of your legal options.

Holidays can be especially tough when it comes to DUI charges for various reasons. First, law enforcement officials may place more of their focus on finding drunk drivers. Second, people may exhibit unusual behavior during the holidays. For example, someone who rarely drinks may have a couple of drinks at a party and drive drunk without even realizing that it is against the law for them to operate a vehicle in such a state. Sometimes, people can have difficulty determining how much alcohol is in a mixed drink and they may take to the road without recognizing that they are over the legal limit.

Finding the truth behind eyewitness accounts

Eyewitness testimony can be the deciding factor in major criminal cases. Juries can put heavy stock into eyewitness accounts, and these accounts can swing a case. These were people who saw the crime take place, and identify who committed it.

However, evidence is mounting that eyewitness accounts aren’t as accurate as many believe. Here’s why:

A closer look at plea bargains and why they exist

If there was a formal trial for every single criminal in Oregon who was ever accused of committing a crime, there would be too much work and not enough professionals to take care of the job. As such, it is imperative that legal professionals find alternative means to leveling just punishments on those who have broken the law, without wasting time and resources in time-consuming negotiations about a criminal's proposed punishment.

According to Cornell Law School, plea bargains are designed to reduce the amount of time that each criminal case takes as it moves throughout the legal system. In severe cases, plea bargains are not considered and alleged criminals go to trial where objective persons can hear the witness accounts and testimonies of people who may have been involved in the case. When a prosecutor offers a plea deal to his or her client, the accused may admit to specific charges in exchange for a lesser sentence or some other type of compromise. Additionally, criminals may be asked to testify in other trials where their testimony may be used to persuade a jury one way or another. 

How the new grand jury law will affect criminal defense

Last year, Governor Kate Brown signed a new law into the state that’s been present throughout the rest of the country for quite some time. Senate Bill 505 will soon require grand juries in Oregon to be audio recorded.

These changes will have drastic effects on legal proceedings, as more prosecutors will now question if they want to pursue grand jury indictments or preliminary hearings. If you or a friend find yourself facing potential charges in the near future, it is important to know the difference between these two hearings and how the new law can affect your case.

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