As a victim of crime, you can often feel alone within the criminal justice system. You need an Oregon crime victim's lawyer. The person who hurt you has a lawyer and there are numerous situations where his or her rights as a defendant will be heard in court. The State has a lawyer, called a Deputy District Attorney or Prosecutor, to represent their interests. The prosecutor assigned to your case may not be keeping you informed of developments in the case. You may or may not hear from a “victim’s advocate” who works for the State.
Of all the people involved in the case, you are probably the only one without representation. As your case is moving along through the system, you may wonder what sentence the defendant may get and whether you will be financially compensated. The short answer is that without proper representation you are at the mercy of the system. Don’t be the only person in the case without representation. Get an experienced Oregon crime victim's lawyer. Chad Stavley is a former Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney (prosecutor) who has successfully represented crime victims many times. Contact us for a free consultation.
There are two different types of court cases: criminal and civil. When you are the victim of a crime, both cases are potentially involved. First, the criminal court process begins. This is when the defendant is arrested and may or may not be held in jail awaiting a criminal trial. A Deputy District Attorney (prosecutor) is assigned to the case. The defendant will likely have hired an attorney or have one appointed for him/her. Without representation, your involvement will be limited to testifying at a preliminary hearing called “grand jury” and possibly being kept up to date by the prosecutor. If there is a trial you’d need to testify at that. They might send you a form to list your out-of-pocket expenses so that they can try to get those covered. But their job is not to get money for you. That is for the civil court system. And for that part of the process, you’ll need your own lawyer. An experienced Oregon crime victim's lawyer can get to work early, while the criminal case is still open. It is important to contact an attorney who has familiarity with both the criminal and civil systems and how they can operate together. Before going into private practice, Chad Stavley was a Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney. He handled thousands of criminal cases as well as hundreds of civil cases.
You will likely have a lot of questions about how the criminal process works such as: What is a grand jury? Are you entitled to recover money for your losses? Will there be a trial? What will happen at a trial? What kind of sentence will the defendant likely get? You may not get much help from the District Attorney’s Office. This isn’t generally because they don’t care; they do. But they have a lot of cases and not a lot of time. A good Portland crime victim lawyer will make sure you are fully aware of what is going to happen and what your rights are.
The Oregon Constitution addresses crime victims' rights. Basically, victims of crime have the right to be involved in significant matters related to the criminal case. You’ll want to hear about the plea negotiations so that justice is served. You’ll want to be heard about scheduling and compensation too. We’ll work with the prosecutor to make sure your wishes are in the front of their mind. And we’ll work to make sure all who are responsible are held accountable. This includes the offender and any organization that allowed or helped the action to happen. This could include bars that over-serve alcohol leading to devastating car crashes, or organizations such as DHS, churches, nursing homes or daycare facilities where abuse happens.
Some crime victims do not need their own lawyer. But sometimes they will need an advocate to make sure the financial impact of the crime is dealt with. Criminal courts are not set up to handle that and district attorneys are not tasked with making sure you get paid.
The types of crimes that often result in damages that warrant victims getting their own lawyers includes, victims of drunk drivers, assault victims and sexual assault victims.
The biggest challenge is often collecting money. Most criminals do have have assets that make bringing a civil action against them worthwhile. But in some cases there are insurance policies or companies that may be responsible. For instance, in drunk driving crashes there may be auto insurance to deal with. In assault and sexual assault cases, we need to know whether the criminal was working for someone that could be responsible or being supervised by a state agency that may be responsible.
Call us or a send a message to have your case reviewed.