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Frequently Asked Questions In Criminal Law

A key part of our job is educating clients about the law and their rights. Below are some of the most common questions we hear when someone has been investigated or arrested in connection with a crime.

For answers to your specific situation, call our Oregon City law office to arrange a free consultation: 503-683-3967.

What Happens If I Am Arrested For A Criminal Offense?

There are several steps in the arrest process. Police will read you your Miranda rights and take you into custody. They will search your person and confiscate and catalog any personal property. Once you have signed the inventory, you will be “booked,” which may involve fingerprinting, a photo (mug shot), a line-up and other identification. After booking, you will likely be taken to a jail holding cell. Meanwhile, your case is presented to a prosecutor to decide if you should be charged.

The next step is an arraignment hearing, which is usually held within 24 hours of arrest. The formal charges against you will be read in court, and you will be asked to enter a plea (guilty or not guilty). At arraignment, the court will decide whether you can post bond and the amount, and set a trial date. If you post bond (bail), you will be released until your next court appearance. If bond is denied or you cannot raise bail money, you will remain in jail until the next appearance. You have specific rights once arrested, including the right to decline to answer questions and the right to talk to an attorney and have an attorney present during questioning and arraignment.

Can Police Officers Use Force To Arrest Me?

Police are authorized to use necessary force when making a capture or arrest, as long as it is reasonable and lawful. In the process of arrest, police might employ takedowns, handcuffs and other physical restraints to prevent escape and to prevent injury to the suspect or officers. But striking, kicking, choking or other actions may cross the line into excessive force, which is not legal. If a defendant claims the officer(s) used an unlawful application of force, a judge will hear arguments from both sides and decide whether the force used was reasonable under the circumstances.

Will I Be Fingerprinted Or Have To Be In A Lineup?

If you are arrested, the police have the right to take your fingerprints and photographs. You may also be required to participate in a lineup, to provide a sample of your handwriting, to speak phrases associated with the offense, and/or to have samples of your hair taken. You cannot refuse to cooperate. However, you may insist that an attorney be present during these procedures.

When Should I Hire A Lawyer?

If you are or may be accused of committing a criminal act, the process can be confusing, uncertain and frightening. It is almost always in your best interest to obtain legal representation as soon as possible. Portland criminal defense attorney Bruce Shepley protects clients from interrogation by the police, has critical witnesses promptly interviewed, contacts the prosecutors when appropriate, and performs other services that give as much control and information as possible to the accused. He is also able, with the client’s permission, to communicate with family and friends to assist in obtaining the best short-term and long-term results for his clients. The sooner our attorney is involved in your case, the greater the chances of success.

Am I Going To Remain In Custody While The Case Is Pending?

For those cases where an arrest has been made or charges have already been filed, it is important to attempt to procure release for those individuals who remain in custody. For a person facing a criminal charge, the process is difficult enough without the additional trauma of spending time in jail. The remainder of the case is made much easier when a person is out of custody. Therefore, we make every effort to procure the client’s release as quickly as possible.

What Is A Ballot Measure 11 Crime?

A number of years ago, the voters of Oregon voted to authorize mandatory minimum prison sentences for persons convicted of certain person-to-person crimes. These include certain homicides, robberies, kidnappings, serious assaults and a number of sexual offenses. These are very serious matters given the severity of the sentences and the general lack of discretion given to judges in sentencing for these crimes. Simply stated, the laws surrounding Ballot Measure 11 have given prosecutors substantial powers. The work that must be undertaken to meet this power is proportionately greater than many other criminal cases.

What Does Wm. Bruce Shepley, Attorney at Law, Charge For Representation?

Quality representation on criminal matters in not inexpensive. To say otherwise would be deceiving. The total cost of representation is affected by the complexity of the case, the seriousness and number of charges, and the work involved in handling the case to completion. In addition to attorney fees, costs for investigators, experts and other aids may be needed. Many cases that are handled before criminal charges are filed are handled on an hourly basis. Those cases involving public charges are usually handled on a flat-fee basis.

If you or someone you know in Portland and the tri-county area of Clackmas, Multnomah and Washington counties, needs the legal representation of an experienced trial attorney and criminal defense lawyer, call the Wm. Bruce Shepley, Attorney at Law, today at 503-683-3967.