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Evaluating Your Legal Options Inside and Outside the Courtroom

Since 1982, our Oregon criminal defense attorneys have focused on protecting the rights of our clients by exploring all potential avenues that could lead to a successful outcome — inside and outside the courtroom — using an important guiding principle: Each client we design legal solutions for is unique.

While our lengthy legal careers have driven nearly four decades of similar cases through our offices, whether we are representing clients charged with drunk driving, drug crimes, or federal indictments, there is no one size fits all approach to delivering successful results.

Each case, charges, and circumstances presents unique challenges and opportunities. At Mark C. Cogan, P.C., we welcome the chance to customize our defense tactics to provide tailor-made solutions for everyone we represent, so we can pursue the best outcome available for each unique case.

What Are My Legal Options After Being Charged with a Crime in Oregon?

If you have been arrested or are facing criminal charges, hiring an Oregon criminal defense attorney will allow you to understand each aspect of your case, including the evidence the district attorney has acquired during its investigation.

The more our clients know about their case and their unique legal defense options, the better prepared they will be to examine the process of accepting a negotiated settlement, proceeding with a bench trial, or continuing with a jury trial.

What is a Negotiated Settlement in an Oregon Criminal Case?

If you have been charged with a crime, the district attorney can engage in plea discussions or reach a plea agreement through your criminal defense counsel, called negotiated settlements.

A negotiated settlement is a binding agreement made between the district attorney’s office and the accused. The individual will either plead no contest or guilty to the charges waged against them to reach a negotiated settlement agreement that will allow the individual to avoid trial and the possible conviction of a more serious charge.

According to the Multnomah County District Attorney, approximately 85-95% of criminal cases result in negotiated settlements, which can include:

  • Pleading guilty to a less serious crime than the one he or she was initially charged with
  • Pleading guilty to a fewer number of crimes than the ones he or she was initially charged with
  • Pleading to an established sentence proposed by the district attorney’s office before agreeing to it

At Mark C. Cogan, P.C., our Oregon criminal defense attorneys will review the charges, evidence, and the offer submitted by the state before considering each segment of our client’s negotiated settlement and its impact on their future.

What is an Oregon Bench Trial?

A bench trial is overseen solely by a judge who will make all fact-finding and evidentiary decisions and determine whether the defendant is innocent or guilty.

Depending on your criminal charges, there are benefits and drawbacks to proceeding with a bench trial.

The benefit of a bench trial is the judge presiding over the case has the legal education and experience to hear the evidence and facts to make an informed decision.

The drawback to proceeding with a bench trial is our client being judged by a single person who makes the ruling, instead of their case being heard by a jury of their peers.

What is an Oregon Jury Trial?

Like a bench trial, there are benefits and drawbacks to participating in a jury trial.

A jury trial entails the accused’s case being tried inside the courtroom where a judge presides over the evidence and facts of the case, but the final decision is rendered by a jury of the defendant’s peers.

If the client is charged with a misdemeanor in the State of Oregon, the jury will be comprised of six people. If the client is charged with a felony, the jury will be comprised of 12 members.

The benefit is that most jurors — either all six in a misdemeanor case or ten of 12 unless it is a capital murder trial — must agree that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes he or she is charged with. If the jury cannot come to that consensus after hearing the facts and evidence of the case, our client can be acquitted of the crime altogether.

The disadvantage of a jury trial is that jurors are human, and therefore completely unpredictable. Even in the most tightly defended cases, jurors have ended trials with convictions when the defense thought they were winning.

Have You Been Charged with a Crime in Oregon?

At Mark C. Cogan, P.C., our Portland criminal defense attorneys have offices in Multnomah County, but pride ourselves in representing clients throughout the State of Oregon — no matter how remote their location. If you have been charged with a crime, contact our experienced criminal lawyers today by calling (503) 827-8092 to explore our resources and discover a unique strategy that will allow you to gain a significant advantage in pursuing success inside or outside the courtroom.

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