Reasons to Call a Portland Criminal Defense Attorney


Recently, we wrote about how to prepare for your first meeting with a Portland criminal defense attorney. But when should you call them in the first place?

In this post, we’ll outline scenarios when you should call a Portland criminal defense attorney like Adam Greenman to put yourself in a good position legally.


You’ve been charged with a DUII

One of the most common reasons to call a Portland criminal defense attorney is when charged with a driving under the influence of intoxicants, or DUII, charge.

DUII charges are often thought of as a charge related only to alcohol, but can refer to any controlled substances, even marijuana and prescription medications

A DUII can happen to anyone, even those whose blood alcohol level is below a .08.

That’s why it’s so important to call a Portland DUII attorney as soon as possible after being charged with a DUII. In fact, a lawyer should be one of the first people you call. The actions within the first 10 days of being charged can mean the difference between a severely impacted life and a manageable situation.

When you meet with a DUII attorney like Adam Greenman, you’ll discuss important aspects of your case to determine the right course of action for you, including:

  • If you refused a sobriety test, which can lead an immediate license suspension due to Oregon's implied consent laws

  • Whether you said anything to police officers or other drivers

  • If this is your first DUII offense

  • The actions of the arresting police officers and whether they followed proper police procedure

Learn more about Portland DUII Law.


You’ve failed a field sobriety test

Field sobriety tests set you up for failure.

These tests, which have you complete a series of actions to “determine” your sobriety, is administered and graded by an officer who believes you are intoxicated (they wouldn’t be testing you otherwise). This officer is not an unbiased administer.

Here at Adam Greenman Law, we always recommend clients NOT submit to field sobriety tests. Unlike breathalyzer, blood, and urine tests, field sobriety test do NOT fall under the implied consent law. You can refuse to take the test and not face an immediate suspension of your license.

Nonetheless, if you’ve taken the test and failed, calling a Portland DUII attorney can help put you in the best position to fight the case. When meeting and discussing your case, we’ll determine:

  • If there is a medical or legitimate medicinal reason for your failing the test

  • Whether any police procedural steps were missed or crossed

  • Whether there is a videotape of the test

  • Whether the field sobriety test, particularly the horizontal gaze test, was administered in a way that makes it scientifically legitimate

Learn more about Portland failed field sobriety test law.

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You want to enter a diversion program

If you’ve been charged with a DUII for the first time and you’ve meet certain other criteria (see below) you may be eligible to enter the Oregon DUII diversion program.

Although DUII charges cannot be expunged or erased like many other criminal charges in Oregon, the DUII Diversion program spares you from having a criminal conviction on your record. This can make all the difference any time you’re asked in the future if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. You can answer truthfully, “No” because your record will show that you were diverted, not convicted.

Oregon’s DUII Diversion program is available to those who meet the following criteria:

  • The charge is your first DUII conviction and you’ve never completed a diversion program in any state in the last 15 years

  • You’ve never been charged or have any pending charges for aggravated vehicular homicide or driving-related murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or assault

  • You do not have a commercial license or were driving a commercial vehicle at the time of arrest

  • You did not harm or kill anyone

A Portland DUII diversion attorney can help you take the complicated procedural steps needed to successfully enter and complete the diversion program.

Learn more about Portland DUII diversion law.

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You’ve been charged with an assault or theft

Theft and assault charges in Portland can become serious quickly when not defended properly. Given that assault and theft are so situational, making sure you have representation that is experienced in such situations and understands the complexities of the criminal justice system is paramount.


Oregon theft charge

As the value you’ve been accused of stealing goes up, so do the penalties:

  • Third degree theft: Value is less than $100, maximum 30 days in jail and $1,250.00 fine

  • Second degree theft: Value is between $100 and $1,000, maximum 1 year in jail and $6,250 fine

  • First degree theft: Value is over $1000 or the item is a gun, maximum 5 years in jail and $125,000 fine

With theft charges, the maximum does not have to be what you serve. With an experienced Portland defense attorney on your side you can defend yourself against the maximums.


Oregon Assault charges

Assault charges are similar to theft charges, in that the severity of the injury inflicted and the use of a weapon impact what you’re charged with:

Fourth-degree assault third-degree assault Second-degree assault First-degree assault
Charge Class A misdemeanor Class C felony Class B felony Class A felony
Maximum fine $6,250 $125,000 $250,000 $375,000
Maximum jail time 1 year 5 years 10 years 20 years
Drivers license suspension 1 year 5 years 8 years Lifetime
Will be charged if…. • The assaulted individual was a public safety officer
• A child was witness to the assault
• There is a past conviction for assaulting the same person
• The assaulted individual was pregnant
You were driving under the influence of intoxicants You intentionally assaulted a child under 6

If you’ve been charged with any of these crimes, a Portland assault defense attorney may be able to help determine:

  • Your criminal history or lack thereof

  • The victims claims

  • Your employment situation

We’ll also investigate the background of the situation to determine the best course of action for your case.

Learn more about Portland theft and assault law.

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You’ve been charged with possession of illegal narcotics or a weapon

Possession charges can be serious. If you’ve been charged with a possession crime, be it due to possession of drugs or firearms, it’s important you get the details right.

We always recommend that those charged with possession exercise their right to remain silent when arrested. Police may tell you that they can help if you cooperate, but realistically they cannot make things better for you without the DA.

With possession cases, the devil is in the details. Having a experienced attorney who knows the legal system will put you in the best position to avoid jail time and serious penalties.

With gun charges, this could mean everything from probation for concealed carry of a switchblade, to guaranteed jail time for those who threaten to or operate a banned weapon.

With drug charges, this could mean anything from a $250 fne to 10 years in jail for those having or selling large quantities of addictive drugs like cocaine, heroin, and LSD.

Learn more about Portland possession law.

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You’ve been charged with a prostitution related crime

Many people have been charged in the Portland area for prostitution for reasons that are hard to understand. There have been cases where someone was arrested simply for looking over their shoulder and a teacher was handcuffed for simply walking on the wrong street.

With the help of an experienced Portland prostitution attorney you could have a serious sentence reduced to a $1000, 8-hour class, and the record can be expunged immediately, instead of after the standard 3 year waiting period.

Fortunately, an experienced Portland criminal defense attorney can help you get these charges dropped. They have the knowhow of proper police procedure and can help you investigate the charges to put you in the best position in your case.

Learn more about Portland prostitution law.


Do any of these sound like you? Call Adam Greenman Law today!

Adam Greenman Law is focused on helping clients through their darkest days. Adam centers his representation around 1-on-1 attention and getting to the bottom of your situation. He’ll do everything he can so you’re put in a position for a positive result for you and your future.

Contact Adam today to learn more and schedule a free 1-on-1 consultation.


Adam Greenman
Adam Greenman has been a trusted criminal defense and personal injury attorney in Portland for over 15 years. A graduate of Lewis and Clark School of Law and an experienced former prosecutor, Adam is a proud member of the Oregon State Bar Association, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, and the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He is known for providing personal, one-on-one attention to clients.