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|THE OREGON DRUG CRIMES GUIDE|
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I just got arrested for an Oregon drug charge. What happens now?
If you were arrested for solely a possession charge (possession of cocaine for example), you were probably given a citation or release agreement directing you to appear in court at a future date. Sometimes, the police will book you into custody on a possession charge, and then you will appear in court shortly thereafter. Possession charges are sometimes referred to as PCS charges. [CS means controlled substance.]
If you were arrested for a delivery or manufacturing charge, you will most likely be booked into custody and brought before a judge the next business day unless you post bail or are released on your own recognizance. Most delivery and manufacturing charges are Class B or Class A felony crimes. Delivery and manufacturing charges are sometimes referred to as DCS (delivery of a controlled substance) and MCS (manufacturing a controlled substance) charges. If you are accused of causing the overdoes death of another you may be charged with DCS / manslaughter / criminally negligent homicide though the penalties you face will be more severe.
What should be my primary concerns?
With almost any criminal charge two primary concerns are (1) the potential punishment you face; and (2) what "record" you will have at the conclusion of your case. Punishment refers to the penalties that you face upon conviction. As with many crimes, the penalties for drug offenses can vary widely from a short period of probation and little or no jail to years in prison. More on that below.
If you have no criminal history, your number one concern may be having a conviction on your record. Most drug crimes are felonies, and, for a variety of reasons, you don't want a felony on your record if possible. If you're unable to avoid a felony conviction, you'll want to discuss with your lawyer if expunging / sealing your record will be possible at a later date.
What are the most common type of drug crimes?
The major drug crimes in Oregon fall into three specific categories: possession; delivery; and manufacturing. The terms are defined as follows:
“Possess” means to have physical possession or otherwise to exercise dominion or control over the controlled substance. Possession charges are commonly seen when you have drugs in your home, in your vehicle, or on your person.
“Deliver” or “delivery” means the actual, constructive or attempted transfer from one person to another of a controlled substance. Under Oregon law, deliveries generally include possession with the intent to deliver. Delivery charges stem from giving, providing or selling drugs to another person and from possessing large amounts of drugs which the state believes you intend to deliver to another.
“Manufacture” refers to the production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion or processing of a controlled substance by extraction from substances of natural origin, or independently by means of chemical synthesis, or by a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and includes any packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container. Manufacturing charges are most often seen when someone is manufacturing (growing) marijuana.
Refer to the table below for specific offenses. ORS refers to Oregon Revised Statutes.
How much jail / prison time will I have to do if I am convicted?
By definition, conviction of any criminal offense comes with the possibility of jail and sometimes prison time. However, some drug convictions (especially drug possession charges) result in either no custody time or a very short jail sentence. Many delivery / manufacturing charges will result in a prison sentence of a year or more if the amount of drugs involved is large or if a sale is made to a minor or if the defendant has a significant prior record of convictions.
The amount of incarceration (jail / prison) received will depend on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the following:
What are "substantial quantities" of drugs that can lead to greater penalties?
The following amounts of drugs are referred to as "substantial quantities" and usually result in increased penalties over lesser amounts:
What is meant by a "commercial drug offense" (CDO)?
A commercial drug offense (CDO) is defined by statute. If the state can prove three or more of the following CDO factors, increased penalties usually result:
The offender was in possession of drug transaction records or customer lists;
The offender was in possession of stolen property;
Modification of structures by painting, wiring, plumbing or lighting to facilitate a controlled substance offense;
The offender was in possession of manufacturing paraphernalia, including recipes, precursor chemicals, laboratory equipment, lighting, ventilating or power generating equipment;
The offender was using public lands for the manufacture of controlled substances;
The offender had constructed fortifications or had taken security measures with the potential of injuring persons; or
The offender was in possession of controlled substances in an amount greater than any of the following:
Three grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin;
Eight grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine;
Eight grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine;
Twenty or more user units of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of LSD;
Ten grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of psilocybin or psilocin; or
Four grams or more or 20 or more pills, tablets or capsules of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of: MDMA / Ecstasy.
What other types of penalties might I face if convicted of a drug crime?
Drug convictions typically come with a six month driver license suspension. See ORS 809.265. [Effective July 1, 2013, the court will no longer suspend your ODL for a conviction for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.] No hardship permit is available with a controlled substance license suspension. Your attorney may be able to convince the court to not impose the suspension.
Drug convictions also require a drug evaluation and usually treatment of some length.
I sold / gave drugs to someone who then overdosed and died. What is going to happen?
Many law enforcement agencies now aggressively investigate overdose deaths in order to build a case against the person(s) that provided the drug(s) to the deceased. If they are able to build a case (often through cell phone / text message records), the person providing the drugs may be charged with criminally negligent homicide / manslaughter in some jurisdictions or simply with delivery of a controlled substance.
Often times, the prosecutor will be seeking a substantial prison sentence with a threat of referring the case to federal court for prosecution (where the penalties are much more severe) under the so-called "Len Bias Law."
What is STOP Court?
Persons facing possession charges in Multnomah County Circuit Court may be eligible to participate in the STOP program. This program is essentially a deferred sentencing agreement where your charge will be dismissed if you successfully complete the intensive treatment program. The program lasts at least one year (and often longer). You must pay for treatment and attend numerous classes and court appearances. If you flunk out of the program, you will be convicted of the charge.
Other counties have some type of drug courts as well. Each has their own rules for eligibility.
What is a motion to suppress?
Most drug charges result after law enforcement officers find drugs following a search of your person, vehicle or residence. In a motion to suppress, your lawyers asks the court to suppress or throw out evidence seized from the search, because the search was conducted unlawfully (in violation of your constitutional or other rights). If the motion to suppress is successful, the charges often will be dismissed. If the motion is unsuccessful, the prosecutor can use the evidence against you.
Motions to suppress are used in non-drug cases as well. Sometimes, your lawyer will seek to suppress your statements (admissions / confessions) or other evidence (blood alcohol, urine results, etc.).
Can I expunge or seal an Oregon drug conviction?
Arrests (without a conviction) for drug charges are usually subject to sealing / expungement. Some drug convictions are also eligible to be expunged or sealed if the applicant meets the eligibility requirements. As a general rule, many possession convictions can be expunged, and most delivery manufacturing convictions cannot be expunged. Delivery of marijuana for consideration is an exception; this charge may be sealed if you otherwise meet eligibility requirements. In the table above, the drug charges in bold may be expunged.
How do I contact David Lesh for help with my drug case?
Mr. Lesh does not charge for an initial consultation. Call his office at 503.546.2928 to speak with him. Mr. Lesh's office is located at 434 NW 19th Avenue in Portland, Oregon.
David N Lesh
Oregon Drug Defense Attorney
No cost initial consultation
434 NW 19th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
David Lesh Mini Biography
Oregon attorney since 1990;
Former drug prosecutor;
Former attorney for the Portland Police;
Sought after criminal defense attorney.
"I would like to thank you again for helping me through that difficult time. You helped make me feel confident I had your full attention & best interest through-out the process. I also feel you took great lengths to provide all scenarios & possibilities. I can't thank you enough."
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B.R. and N.R.
Oregon Drug Charge Lawyer
State of Oregon
Controlled Substances Offenses
Hood River County
Defense includes defending persons arrested in Interdiction Stops along Interstate 5 and Interstate 84 and persons alleged to be responsible for overdose deaths (Len Bias prosecutions).
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David Lesh provides drug defense assistance to the communities of: Portland Ore., Portland OR, Gresham; Beaverton; Hillsboro; Tigard; Lake Oswego; McMinnville; Oregon City; Tualatin; West Linn; Woodburn; Milwaukie; Forest Grove; Wilsonville; Troutdale; Sherwood; Canby; Moro; St Helens; McMinnville; and Multnomah County; Clackamas County; Columbia County; Yamhill County, Hood River County, Wasco County, Sherman County, and Washington Counties. VUCSA. Read our privacy statement. Mr. Lesh accepts American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard and other credit cards / card. Copyright 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.