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Oregon Domestic Violence Laws

All forms of assault and battery are illegal. However, there are special domestic violence laws that criminalize acts of assault and battery between family and household members. Under Oregon's Family Abuse Protection Act, domestic abuse is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:

  • Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury
  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly placing another in fear of imminent bodily injury, or
  • Causing another to engage in involuntary sexual relations by force or threat of force

Under Oregon's domestic violence laws, "family or household members" can only mean one of the following groups of people:

  • Spouses
  • Former spouses
  • Adults related by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • People who are living together, or who have previously lived together
  • People who have been involved in a sexually intimate relationship within the last two years, or
  • The unmarried parents of a child

Mandatory Arrests

When a peace officer in Oregon responds to a domestic disturbance call and has probable cause to believe that an assault (or the fear of imminent serious physical injury) occurred between family or household members, the officer will arrest and take into custody the alleged assailant. The police officer is required to make every effort to determine which party is the assailant. In order to make this determination the officer will consider the comparative extent of the injuries inflicted, the history of domestic violence between the parties involved (if reasonably ascertainable), whether the alleged crime was committed in self-defense, and the potential for future assaults.

Restraining Orders

Under Oregon's Family Abuse Protection Act, a victim of domestic violence can apply for a restraining order to help dissuade their attacker from harming them again. By showing that the petitioner has been the victim of abuse committed by the respondent within 180 days of filing the petition, that there is an imminent danger of further abuse, and that the respondent represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the petitioner (or to the petitioner's child) the following restraining orders may be issued:

  • Temporary custody of the children of the parties awarded to the petitioner
  • Requires respondent to move out of the shared residence if the home is in the petitioner's name, if it is jointly owned or rented, or if the parties are married
  • A police officer will accompany the party who is leaving the shared premises to remove their essential personal effects
  • Restrain the respondent from entering a reasonable area surrounding the petitioner's residence
  • Respondent restrained from intimidating, molesting, interfering with, or menacing the petitioner (or any children in the petitioner's custody)
  • Restrain the respondent from coming within a reasonable distance of the petitioner, and
  • Any other relief that the court considers necessary

If the court orders a restraining order then the respondent must be served with notice of the protective order. The respondent then has 30 days from the date that he or she is served with the restraining order to request a court hearing if they would like to contest the order. If a hearing isn't requested within 30 days, then the restraining order is confirmed by operation of law

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Oregon's domestic violence laws contact a local criminal defense attorney or a family law lawyer.

If you or someone that you know has been the victim of domestic violence there is help available. During an emergency dial 911, and the contact an organization dedicated to promoting victim rights.

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