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Bringing More Than 20 Years of Criminal Defense
Experience To Achieve Excellent Results

My promise to each of my clients is my very best effort to prevent or end the prosecution against them completely and, in those cases where this is not entirely possible, to minimize the impact of the criminal justice system on their lives. I represent each client with both short term and long term objectives in mind. Every effort is made to resolve cases before they "go public."

Oregon Criminal Defense Attorney, Wm. Bruce Shepley

Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyer Wm. Bruce Shepley will aggressively defend your rights and freedom if you are facing any of the following criminal matters: 

  • DUI & TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS
  • FELONY CRIMES
    • Burglary
    • Drugs
    • Kidnapping
    • Murder
    • Sexual Assault
  • WHITE COLLAR CRIMES
    • Corporate Theft
    • Embezzlement
    • Fraud
    • Bad Checks
  • DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
  • ARRAIGNMENTS

To prevent potential criminal cases from becoming formal charges in the public courts, contact Criminal Lawyer, Wm. Bruce Shepley BEFORE being interviewed by police or prosecutors: Call 503-683-3967.

About Criminal Law

Individuals who are found to have violated a criminal law, whether through their own admission of guilt or through the determination of a jury, can be subjected to fines, imprisonment, probation, and community service, among other penalties.

At all stages of the criminal process, an individual suspected of or charged with a crime is entitled to certain fundamental rights that derive from the U.S. Constitution and key court decisions. These include the right to an attorney, and the right to a fair trial. These constitutional rights enforce a balance between the government's interest in ensuring that criminal behavior is identified and punished, and the need to protect an individual's freedoms as set forth by a democratic society.

The outcome of any criminal case depends upon the crime charged, the strength of the evidence, the legal validity of law enforcement and courtroom procedure, and the goals and strategy of the government and defense. When all is said and done, there may be no legal consequence for a person charged with a criminal law violation, as the charges may be dismissed, or a trial may end in criminal conviction as set forth by a jury.

Criminal Law FAQs

What is the difference between criminal law and civil law?
Civil law is the area of law by which private individuals resolve their differences with the help of a civil court. Criminal law involves a citizen, or a business, and the state.

The rules of the federal government and all individual state governments are codified into statutes. When an individual violates the rules, as listed in the statutes, the federal government or the state will prosecute the individual. The remedies available in civil court are generally limited to monetary damages. The remedies available in criminal court may involve monetary damages and/or a prison sentence.

What happens if I am arrested for breaking a criminal law?
If you are arrested for breaking a criminal law, the case is taken before a magistrate who may issue a warrant if necessary and set bond for appearance in court. If the defendant cannot post bond, he or she may be incarcerated pending appearance in court. If bond is posted, he or she will remain free pending appearance at an arraignment. An arraignment usually occurs within 24 hours of the arrest, or the first date available if on a weekend or holiday. The arraignment is held before a judge who formally tells the defendant the offense in which he or she is being charged, informs the defendant of their constitutional rights, and of the possible penalties involved. The defendant will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at this time, bond may be reviewed, and a date for the next hearing will be scheduled.

Can police officers use force to arrest me?
A police officer may use as much force as necessary for a criminal arrest, as long as it is law abiding.  After an arrest is made, a police officer may apply handcuffs to the defendant if the officer deems it necessary to prevent injury or escape. If the defendant claims an unlawful application of force was used by the arresting officer, a judge will hear the defendant's argument, and decide whether or not the force used was reasonable for the circumstances.

Will I be fingerprinted or have to be in a line-up?
If you are arrested, the police have the right to take your fingerprints and photographs. You may also be required to participate in a line-up, to provide a sample of your handwriting, to speak phrases associated with the offense, and/or to have samples of your hair taken. However, you may insist that an attorney be present during this time.

What happens at an arraignment?
A suspect has the right to be arraigned without unnecessary delay, usually within two court days, after being arrested. He or she will appear before a judge who will read the offenses in which the suspect is officially being charged, they will be informed of their constitutional rights, and advised of applicable penalties. At the arraignment, an attorney may be appointed in the event of financial hardship, and bail can be raised or lowered.  A suspect may also ask to be released on personal recognizance at this time, even if bail was previously set.

A suspect has the right to be arraigned without unnecessary delay, usually within two court days, after being arrested. He or she will appear before a judge who will read the offenses in which the suspect is officially being charged, they will be informed of their constitutional rights, and advised of applicable penalties. At the arraignment, an attorney may be appointed in the event of financial hardship, and bail can be raised or lowered.  A suspect may also ask to be released on personal recognizance at this time, even if bail was previously set.

If charged with a misdemeanor, a suspect can plead guilty or not guilty at the arraignment. Or, if the court approves, a suspect can plead nolo contendere, meaning the charges will not be contested. Legally, this is the same as a guilty plea, but it cannot be used against the suspect in a non-criminal case.

If misdemeanor charges are not dropped, a trial will be held later in court of law. If charged with a felony, however, and the charges are not dismissed, the next step is a preliminary hearing.

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