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I’ve been charged with a crime in Oregon: What Happens Next?

Public law librarians hear this question a lot.  In a perfect world, you would have an attorney who will answer the question to your satisfaction, but we don’t live in a perfect world.  (People need to ask their doctors questions too, but that doesn’t happen either – just ask medical librarians.)
The “What Happens Next?” question is a tough one, first because procedures can very from county to county, and second, because each person and each person’s charged offense is different.
Also, the questions vary greatly: sometimes the question is “what happens next?” and sometimes the question is “how could they charge me at all?” and sometimes the question is “wasn’t it an illegal stop (or search or whatever)?”
My answer to you is, please don’t just “search online” for an answer.  You can do that until you turn blue and all you will achieve is wasted time, frustration, misdirection, and anger, none of which is particularly helpful.
Instead, stop and think about your legal situation and about what laws or books or websites about the law might have useful and reliable (accurate and up-to-date) information.  Talk to a law librarian, too.
But, please, talk to a lawyer. Please talk to a lawyer. Please talk to a lawyer.
I can’t say that enough.  It is false economy not to.  As I tell everyone who comes into my law library, “I know what I’m doing in a law library.  I can research the heck out of the law.  I can talk to lawyers every day of the week (yikes).  AND I STILL HIRE LAWYERS!”
Yes, I do research and it’s a great idea to learn about the law, to read the law under which you were charged, to find out how to work with a lawyer, etc.
But, I HIRE LAWYERS.  Lawyers hire lawyers.  Legislators hire lawyers.  (Surely you didn’t think they really believe that “it’s all online” myth did you?)
You can also look at lawyer blogs, e.g. one attorney has basic guides titled: “I just got arrested / cited for an Oregon drug charge.  What happens now?” There is one for sex crimes, Measure 11, reckless driving, and more.  These helpful guides may answer a few of your questions, but you will need to talk to your lawyer, not just any lawyer, for specific information and advice.
The “Oregon Criminal Jury Instructions” may be useful, too, depending on your question and on how sensible you are about researching your legal problem and talking to your lawyer. (You’ll need to visit a law library to read the book in print or online.)
Oregon doesn’t yet have any guide like this one in California, but it may in time:
Other non-Oregon criminal law blogs that might be educational:
There are also the “what to do if you’re stopped …”  types of resources, e.g. the ACLU Know Your Rights website.
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One response to “I’ve been charged with a crime in Oregon: What Happens Next?”

  1. If you are charged with a certain crime and are arrested, it is possible for you to get help from public defense lawyers or what is usually called as the court appointed criminal defense attorneys.

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