Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Prosecution
The Washington County District Attorney's Office recognizes that violence among family members devastates victims, children, and the community at large. As a result, we aggressively prosecute all cases of physical and sexual violence among family members. Our primary concerns are safety and intervention for the victims and children who witness violence throughout the criminal process and afterwards. When defendants are sentenced to domestic violence crimes, part of their sentence typically includes a period of probation where the defendant is required to seek counseling and have no contact with the victim.

Mandatory Arrest
In Oregon by law, a police officer must arrest a suspect and take them to jail if the officer believes more likely than not that an assault has occurred to family members or intimate partners or that the suspect has placed their family member or intimate partner in fear of imminent serious physical injury. ORS 133.055

Filing Charges & Victim's request for dismissal
The decision to file charges and prosecute a defendant is made by a Deputy District Attorney, not by the victim. The victim's wishes are taken into consideration but the ultimate decision is up to the district attorney. When a defendant is in custody or is released from custody pending domestic violence charges, the defendant is prohibited from contacting the victim or the victim's family. Once charges have been filed, it is the deputy district attorney's decision if the case will continue. The victim has no authority to dismiss a criminal case. The only requirement for the victim is to tell the truth and appear in court when summoned.

Domestic Violence Deferred Sentencing Program
This diversion program is aimed at first time domestic violence offenders who are willing to take responsibility for their crime early in the criminal process. If a defendant meets the criteria for the program, they are given the option to enter into the program and if they successfully complete it, their charges will be dismissed. A defendant needs to plead guilty to the crime and make a statement detailing what they did to enter the program. Once in the program, a defendant is required to complete various requirements including complete a qualified domestic violence treatment program, abstain from alcohol and drugs, complete alcohol or drug treatment or parenting classes if applicable, and have no contact with the victim until allowed have for the duration of the program. If the defendant successfully completes all of the requirements, the charges they plead guilty to will be dismissed. If the defendant fails any requirement, they will be revoked from the program and sentenced to the charge.