Oregon Criminal Trials

Oregon criminal trials can either be bench trials or jury trials. Bench trials are cases tried to the judge only. Jury trials are tried to a jury of either six or twelve. Six-person juries are used for misdemeanor cases, while twelve-person juries are used for felonies. When a six-person jury is used in Oregon, all six jurors must agree on the verdict. When a twelve-person jury is used in Oregon, typically only ten of the twelve jurors must agree on the verdict (however, a unanimous verdict is required in capital murder cases).

The standard of proof in all Oregon criminal trials is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The standard of proof in Oregon violation cases (such as a traffic ticket or “speeding ticket”) is “preponderance of evidence.”

Oregon criminal trials typically consist of pretrial evidentiary and housekeeping matters, jury selection (often called “voir dire”), opening statements, direct examination, cross examination, redirect examination, rebuttal, and then closing arguments. The Oregon Rules of Evidence apply in most cases (except violation trials, such as traffic tickets), and the Uniform Criminal Jury Instructions are typically used for jury trials.

If you are proceeding to trial, there is a significant advantage to having an attorney/lawyer assist you.  Oregon criminal trials are complex and the consequences of a conviction can often be serious (jail, probation, fines, fees, and driver’s license suspensions).

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