FAQs

Case Companion - Adult

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that being a victim of crime is a difficult, complicated, and traumatic process. We know you will likely have many questions while navigating criminal justice system, and we're here to help.

Right now, what would you like more information about?

Reporting a crime

The District Attorney's Office does not take first reports of crimes, or investigate new criminal activity. All crimes must be reported to the police before a prosecutor can review a case for issuing charges. Usually, you need to first report a crime to the police agency where the crime happened. For crimes that took place in Multnomah County, the main police agencies are the Portland Police Bureau, the Gresham Police Department, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, and the Port of Portland. Please remember that crimes can still be reported long after the crime occurred by contacting a police agency, or by calling the non-emergency reporting line for Multnomah County at (503) 823-3333.

When a crime is first reported to police their job is to get information about what happened and include that in a police report. They may also collect other forms of evidence, such as photographs, recordings or information about other witnesses. Some arrests happen quickly while others take time. Just because an officer doesn't make an arrest immediately does not mean the case cannot move forward and be prosecuted. Cases are usually referred to the District Attorney's Office for review once the police investigation is complete.

If you have reported an incident to police and want an update on the investigation, you may contact the police agency directly. You may also contact the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office directly at (503) 988-3222 to confirm whether or not a case has submitted to the District Attorney's Office for review. When calling the District Attorney's Office it is helpful to have the police report number or DA case number connected to your case so that it can be looked up quickly.

Contacting law enforcement in Multnomah County

Call the police at the numbers below to report crimes that happened in Multnomah County:
Emergency Number: 9-1-1
Non-emergency number: (503) 823-3333

To contact the appropriate agency to check on the status of a report online click the link below:

What happens after a crime is reported

After reporting a crime three things may happen:

  1. An investigation is completed, and a suspect is arrested;
  2. An initial investigation is completed, but no arrest is made; or
  3. The investigation may be ongoing or forwarded for further review.

In every case where an arrest is made the District Attorney’s Office will review the police report the next business morning before noon. In many cases it is important that we hear from you before we issue the case. Crime victims have rights in Oregon, and we want to make sure that you are aware of your rights and the next steps in the process. If you know that an arrest has been made, you may want to reach out to the District Attorney’s Office at (503) 988-3162 before 10:00 am so that we can explain the review process and next steps with you.

If an investigation is completed, but no arrest was made the police agency may still send the reports to the District Attorney's Office to be reviewed for charges. This can be a long process which may involve additional investigation.

If you have already reported a crime to law enforcement you can call the District Attorney's Office to ask whether a case has been referred for prosecution. Sometimes, if an investigation is complete, the District Attorney's Office can order the police reports and review for prosecution, even if an arrest has not happened yet

When a case is reviewed

When a law enforcement agency submits a case to the District Attorney's Office for review a prosecutor reviews the police report to decide if there is enough evidence currently available to prove the possible charges beyond a reasonable doubt in court. This decision is generally based on the information contained in the police report given to the District Attorney's Office and the rules regarding what can be used in court. If a prosecutor does not believe that a criminal charge can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt based on the information provided, the case will not be issued (also called no-complainted or rejected). Often, cases are rejected and returned to the police with a request that police collect more information. You may be contacted by the District Attorney's Office or by police for more information or to clarify the facts of the case.

If criminal charges are issued, the criminal process (described in more detail below) will begin. If no one has been arrested yet, an arrest warrant can still be issued by a judge.

Please note that sometimes if a defendant is contacted by police outside of Oregon they may not be arrested even though they have an outstanding warrant. If you know the location of a defendant with an outstanding warrant you can contact the police to to let them know. This may help with making an arrest. You can also call the Multnomah County Courts during business hours at (503) 988-3235 to check if an arrest warrant is active.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ What's the status of the investigation?

Some cases require more extensive investigations. To check on the status of an investigation or to request a copy of a police report you should contact the police agency investigating the crime. In some instances police agencies will not release police reports during an active investigation or open criminal case. Click here for a list of police agencies in Multnomah County.

What happens during prosecution

Once the District Attorney's Office files a charging instrument, the prosecution begins. The first step in the prosecution process is called an "arraignment," which is the first court appearance in a criminal case.

Arraignment

Most arraignments happen at 2:00 pm or 2:30 pm in the Justice Center, located at 1120 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, on the business day after an arrest has been made. At arraignment the following four things will happen:

  1. The defendant will be informed if they are being charged with a crime and if so, what crimes they are being charged with,
  2. The defendant will be given an attorney, if one has not already been hired,
  3. The court will set the next court date, and
  4. The court will make a release decision and set "conditions of release".

Next Court Dates: The next court date depends on the case and the charges alleged. For misdemeanor cases, the court will set a "trial readiness" date at arraignment. The "trial readiness" date is when trial dates will be set. For felony cases, the next date set will be a second arraignment hearing following the grand jury hearing.

Release Decision: At arraignment the court will decide to hold or release a defendant from jail. All defendants who are released are given "conditions of release" by the court. All crime victims in Oregon have a right to make a statement to the court regarding if the defendant should be released and release conditions are ordered. Victims can make a statement to the court in person or by providing a statement to be read by the prosecutor. This statement is a crime victim's opportunity to give their thoughts or concerns regarding release and any safety issues they may have. If a victim wishes to make a statement regarding release at arraignment, they need to contact the District Attorney's Office at (503) 988-3162 prior to 12:00 p.m. on the arraignment date.

Grand Jury (cases with felony charges)

After a felony case is issued, a grand jury hearing typically takes place within five business days. As a victim it is likely you are also a witness and will be subpoenaed to testify at grand jury. Grand jury does not happen in an open court room. Grand jury does not happen in front of a judge. It is held in a small conference room with five to seven jurors and is audio recorded.

Witnesses testify one at a time and cannot be present for or overhear what is said by other witnesses. The defendant and/or defense attorney will not be present for your testimony at the grand jury hearing. There are rules about what information the grand jury is allowed to consider, the prosecutor will ask you specific questions about what happened during the incident that charges are being considered for. Questions are usually similar to what police already asked during the investigation. You should plan on being at grand jury for about an hour. Your testimony will likely take about twenty minutes but the prosecutor can let you know approximately how long your testimony will take. If you have safety concerns about being in the same space as anyone who may be called as a witness please contact the District Attorney's Office before grand jury. The grand jury will typically vote on what charges to go forward with immediately after the hearing. You may be able to know the results before leaving.

There are several times a defendant may be before the court after a crime is committed, including:

Other Pre-Trial Court Hearings

Depending on the case, there may be other hearings before the court that occur after arraignment and grand jury, but before trial. These other hearings include release hearings (also called bail hearings) and settlement conferences.

Release Hearings (also called Bail Hearings): The purpose of a release hearing is to revisit the first release decision made by the court at arraignment. These hearings can be set by either defense or by the District Attorney's Office. All crime victims have a right to attend these hearings, and have a right to make a statement to the court regarding release and conditions of release. These hearings usually last one hour and take place in the main courthouse located at 1021 SW 4th Ave, Portland, or at the Justice Center located at 1120 SW 3rd Ave, Portland. The exact courtroom and judge for the hearing are usually set the day before the hearing. The defendant, defense attorney, prosecutor, and a judge will be present at these hearings, but there will be no jury. If you wish to be present for or make a statement to the court related to release at this hearing, please contact the District Attorney's Office the day before the hearing.

Settlement Conferences: The purpose of a settlement conference is to allow the defendant, defense attorney, and prosecutor DA an opportunity to meet with a judge to discuss the case. The judge in these conferences will not be the trial judge. The judge will listen to all parties and will make suggestions for the possible resolution or outcome of the case via a plea agreement. These suggestions are not binding on any party. Crime victims also have a right to be present at certain parts of these hearings, and may make a statement at the settlement conference. All settlement conferences occur in the main courthouse located at 1021 SW 4th Ave, Portland. These hearings typically last one hour. If you wish to be present for or make a statement to the court at the settlement conference please contact the prosecutor the day before the hearing. Please note that while most felony cases have a settlement conference, most misdemeanor cases do not.

Plea Negotiations

Prosecutors and defense attorneys engage in plea negotiations in almost every case. These discussions are usually fluid, and may involve multiple back-and-forth communications between the parties.

Usually, the prosecutor will make a pre-trial offer to the defense attorney, or the defense attorney will let the prosecutor know that the defendant would like to resolve the case through a plea and will make an offer. Sometimes offers made are the product of input received at a Judicial Settlement conference (see above).

A plea agreement involves both the District Attorney's Office and the defendant making some compromises. This usually means that the prosecutor will agree to dismiss some of the charges or to have the sentence include less probation or jail time than the defendant might otherwise get if they went to trial. This is in exchange for the defendant admitting that they are guilty or admitting that the prosecutor could prove that they are guilty at trial. The judge usually follows what both sides are asking for, but in the end, the judge decides the sentence and is not bound by the shared recommendations of the parties.

There are times when a defendant wants to enter a guilty plea, but both the prosecutor and defense attorney do not agree on the same sentence. When this happens the prosecutor, defense attorney and victim can make a statement to the judge about what they think the sentence should be, and the judge will decide the outcome.

In violent felony cases, crime victims have a right to be notified of plea negotiations and to be informed of plea offers extended to a defendant. It's important for the prosecutor to know if you want to discuss the pre-trial offer or to be informed of or be present at a plea. Even when there are plea negotiations happening, there will almost always still be a trial date that is set while the case is ongoing.

Plea

If the case resolves with a plea, a hearing will be set, and there will not be a trial. Crime Victims have a right to be present, and make statements to the court during a plea, but a victim does not need to attend a plea hearing or make a statement unless they want to. Crime victims can submit written statements to the court to be read at a plea hearing, or can ask to appear by phone.

Scheduling Trial

Subpoenas are given to anyone who will be testifying in the trial. It is common for trial dates to change several times. It is important to call the District Attorney's Office and let them know if you have dates you are unavailable. It is also important for witnesses to call the business day before trial to see if trial date has changed or been cancelled. If you are expected to testify and do not receive a phone call from the District Attorney's Office before the trial, please call the phone number on the subpoena to verify if the trial is still going forward.

The trial date can change for many reasons, including availability of witnesses. It's important for the District Attorney's Office to know that you are available for the current trial date as well as your availability for future trial dates if the trial date is changed. Please call the number on the subpoena to confirm your availability for each trial setting. If you don't have that number you can call (503) 988-3222.

You can also check online after 6pm to see what trials are scheduled for the following day. This online docket displays scheduling information for pending cases for the next court day. If a case has been delayed (set-over) and the new date is known, that date will be displayed in the "Additional Information" column. In the column at the far right, contact information for the subpoena clerk in the unit handling the case is shown. If you have any questions or concerns about the case, please call that phone number during business hours. If you call after business hours please leave a message.

Trial

The prosecutor and advocate (if one is assigned) will meet with you before the trial starts to talk about your testimony and answer questions that you have. In many cases you will have met the prosecutor and have already discussed the case with them. You can request to meet with them before the day of trial.

A trial will happen in a courtroom that is open to the public. The defendant will be present for the whole trial and in nearly all cases, will have a defense attorney with them. In most situations crime victims will also be a witness and be subpoenaed to testify. Witnesses are usually kept out of the courtroom until they have testified. This is so their testimony isn't influenced by hearing the trial or what other witnesses said. Crime victims have a right to be present inside the courtroom for the whole trial process.

Jury Selection: In most cases the defendant will decide if they want to have the judge or a jury decide if they are found guilty of the crime(s) alleged. If a defendant decides to have a jury trial, the attorneys will select a jury before any witnesses are called to testify. The jury selection process can take several hours. If a defendant elects to have a "court trial" there will be no jury selection.

Opening Statements: After jury selection is complete, the lawyers will begin with opening statements. This is where the prosecutor and defense attorney will each have a chance to briefly tell the judge or jury what they expect the evidence to be in trial. It is a short summary of what happened.

Evidence: After opening statements, the prosecutor will present evidence to the judge or jury. Evidence includes witness testimony. The defense will then present any evidence they may have to the judge or jury; although they are not required to present any evidence at all. There are many rules that prevent the parties from presenting certain kinds of evidence at trial. If the judge or prosecutor tells you that you cannot talk about certain things in your testimony, you must follow those rules or the judge can discontinue the trial and the whole case must be presented again.

Closing Statements: At the end of all evidence and testimony, both the prosecutor and defense attorney will present arguments to the judge or jury. These are called closing statements, and this is the last phase of a trial.

Sentencing

Sentencing is the last phase of a criminal prosecution. Sentencing happens after:

  • a defendant enters a guilty or no contest plea, or
  • a judge or jury finds a defendant guilty after trial
Sentencing may occur immediately following a plea or guilty finding or can be set days, weeks or even months later.

At sentencing the judge decides the defendant's formal sentence and conditions of supervision if a defendant is sentenced to probation. All crime victims have a right to be present and make a statement at sentencing. Victims can attend the hearing in person, by phone or make a statement in writing. The prosecutor can read your statement or provide it to the court; a victim's rights attorney can read your statement or you can select another person, such as a friend or family member to read your statement. Please be sure to call the District Attorney's Office the day before a sentencing hearing if you wish to attend and/or make a statement.

What sentence will a defendant receive?

The sentence ordered by the court will depend on the crimes, the facts of the case, and the criminal history of the defendant. Sentencing in Oregon is guided by many laws and administrative rules. Certain defendants may also be able to enter special programs depending on their offenses and criminal history. The laws controlling sentencing are complex. Please contact the prosecutor assigned to your case for more specific information about sentencing and the sentence a defendant is likely to receive from the court.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ What can I be notified of? How can I request notifications?

As a victim of crime you have the right to be notified in advance of all critical stage hearings. This is a right that you must request in advance.

Critical stage hearings can be release hearings, plea or sentencing as well as many other matters where the defendant will be present.

You can request your rights online or by contacting the District Attorney Victim Services at (503) 988-3222.

You can request to be notified about hearing regarding parole violations by filling out this form.

+ How do I get a copy of the police report?

Contact the arresting or responding law enforcement agency directly.

Law enforcement records from Multnomah County can be found here.

Public Records Requests to the City of Portland can be found here.

+ What other information am I entitled to?

If you are involved in a DUI case, you have the right to access any information about the case that the defendant has.

If you are involved in a sexual assault case, you have the right to have the defendant tested.

You may have the right to have the defendant tested for HIV and other communicable diseases. This right must be requested by you after the defendant has been charged by the District Attorney’s Office with a crime that involves the transmission of body fluids and before the defendant has been convicted of the crime. Please call the District Attorney’s Victim Assistance Program at (503) 988-3222 to inquire about this right.

+ Can I be involved in sentencing?

If you are the victim of a violent felony crime, you have the right to be consulted regarding plea bargaining and negotiations. All victims of crime have the right to make a statement to the court at the time of sentencing. This is called a victim impact statement, often victims share with the court how the crime has impacted them and what they would like to see as a punishment or outcome.

Talk to your advocate or prosecutor about your rights.
Contact the District Attorney Victim Services at (503) 988-3222.

Who to Call

Multnomah County District Attorney Victim Services
(503) 988-3222

What happens after sentencing

As mentioned above, the sentence given to a defendant will differ greatly depending on the charges, facts, and criminal history of a defendant. Defendants can receive sentences that include:

  • local jail time;
  • prison time, and post-prison supervision;
  • formal probation;
  • bench probation;
  • simple discharge or credit for time already served;
  • a combination of any of the above

In most cases, a defendant will receive a sentence that includes some form of community supervision. This supervision will come in the form of bench probation, formal probation or post-prison supervision. Whatever the form of supervision, the court and possibly a probation or post-prison supervision officer will impose conditions on a defendant as part of their supervision. Crime Victims have a right to request the court impose certain conditions as part of a defendant's supervision. One of the most commonly requested conditions of supervision is that a defendant have no contact with a victim.

What is Community Supervision?

Community supervision generally means that the court and/or a probation or post-prison supervision officer are overseeing the behavior of the defendant while they are in the community. There are two types of community supervision: post-prison supervision* and probation. Almost all forms of community supervision include restrictions and other conditions that a defendant is required to comply with. These conditions are case and offender specific, and may include a variety of requirements ranging from no contact with a victim to completion of drug and alcohol treatment programming. Some conditions have to be ordered by a judge, while others are up to the probation officer to decide. In order to understand what community supervision conditions can be requested in your specific case please contact the assigned case prosecutor. *Prior to 1989, Post-Prison Supervision was called Parole. Parole is still used today if the offender was sentenced to prison prior to 1989. It is the same as Post-Prison Supervision in that the offender has to follow conditions of supervision after release. These conditions are set by the Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision. In probation cases conditions are set by the probation officer.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ What should I do if I have information about the terms of supervision being violated

If you believe the defendant has violated their probation by committing a new crime you should call a police agency and report the new crime as outlined in the section regarding how and where to report a criminal offense.

If you believe the defendant has violated their terms of supervision in a manner that is not itself a new crime, you need to report the violation to the agency supervising the defendant. If the defendant is on “bench probation,” reports of violations must be reported directly to the judge supervising the defendant. If the defendant is on formal probation or post-prison supervision, the violation must be reported directly to the defendant's probation officer (PO) or post-prison supervision (PPS) officer.

+ How can I learn about the conditions of a defendant's community supervision?

Every person on probation has conditions attached to their supervision. There are certain general conditions of probation that are applied to almost all offenders, and there are conditions that are unique to each individual offender. To learn more about the specific conditions of supervision for a specific offender, you need to contact their assigned probation/post-prison officer. Victims have the right to know these conditions and to know if the offender is in compliance.

+ How can I find out which probation/post-prison officer is assigned to a defendant?

A central index exists where you can access information about probation/post-prison officer assignment. Please see the link below. You can also contact the District Attorney’s Office and ask to speak with the prosecutor assigned to your case for more information about the probation/post-prison officer assigned to an offender.
Look up the probation/post-prison officer

+ How much information can the probation/post-prison officer share with me?

As the victim of the crime you are entitled to information that can help keep you safe but there are limits to what information can be shared. Please reach out to the probation/post-prison officer to request information you need, talk about a concern, or share information that may be helpful for supervising the offender. You can also talk to the probation/post-prison officer about the offender’s behavior if they are contacting or harassing you, not complying with supervision conditions, or failing to pay restitution. While state and federal law limits the information a probation/post-prison officer or the District Attorney’s Office can give you about an offender on community supervision, generally speaking, the following information can be shared:

  • Why the person is under supervision/what their crimes of conviction are
  • An offender’s physical description and age
  • The offender’s conviction history
  • The offender’s conditions of supervision
  • The offender’s compliance with conditions of supervision and what the probation/post-prison officer has ordered.

+ Can I ask for conditions to be added to a defendant's supervision?

A crime victim can ask the court to impose certain conditions of probation at the time of sentencing or at probation violation hearings. You can also talk with the probation/post-prison officer about any concerns that you have and why you would want conditions added. There are limitations to what the probation/post-prison officer, or even a judge can require or prohibit an offender from doing while on supervision.

For offenders sentenced to prison and post-prison supervision, a crime victim can request special conditions (such as “no contact” orders) from the Parole Board before the inmate is released from prison. The Parole Board will make the final decision regarding conditions of post-prison supervision.

+ What if the offender keeps contacting or harassing me?

Call the probation/post-prison officer. The probation/post-prison officer may determine that it is a violation of the terms of probation or may request that you report it to police to determine if a crime was committed. If you feel like you are at immediate risk please contact the police.

+ What happens if the offender refuses to do what they are ordered to do?

The probation/post-prison officer has several options. The probation/post-prison officer can impose a sanction, which is a form of discipline. If an offender does not accept the sanction, they may request a hearing before a judge or hearings officer and the victim may attend and/or make a statement to the judge about what they believe should happen as a consequence. Common sanctions include time in jail, increased reporting to the probation/post-prison officer, drug testing, community service, and may include revocation of probation/parole. The probation/post-prison officer can also refer the person to services based on their unique needs.

If an offender is not reporting to their probation/post-prison officer the probation/post-prison officer may also ask the court or parole board to issue a warrant for the offenders arrest.

+ What is Probation Revocation?

Offenders violating a condition of probation are subject to having their probation revoked which means they would complete their sentence in jail or prison. Because one typical condition of probation is to obey all laws, a probationer who is rearrested on even a minor charge they may be subject to penalties for the current arrest and the probation violation.

+ Can I be notified about changes or violations of supervision?

The victim of a crime has the right to be notified about probation/post-prison violation hearings and changes to supervision. If the defendant is on formal probation, you need to register with the Department of Community Justice to receive notifications of changes and violation hearings. If the offender is on post-prison supervision, you need to register with the parole board to receive notifications of changes and parole violations.

+ How can I find out if a defendant is in custody, and where they are located?

Anyone can register to receive updates about an offender’s custody status or changes.

You can call the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center (downtown jail and Inverness jail) directly at (503) 988-3689. Press 0 to find out if an offender is currently in custody at the Multnomah County jail. You will be able to talk with staff and request to be notified if the offender is released for any reason.

All persons can also register with the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) or call them at (866) 277-7477 and select option 2. VINE will provide auto generated notifications based on changes in an offender’s custody status. For example, if an individual moves from community supervision to jail or if they are in prison and are transferred from one facility to another, VINE will notify you if you are registered.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can complete the request to be notified in advance of any release online. You can also look up an offender's custody status online.

Inmate Custody Information

Below are additional resources that provide inmate custody information Oregon Offender Search

OOS is a public web site that provides access to information on offenders currently in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections. OOS displays public information about offenders and includes offenses associated with their current incarceration. It is not a history of all of the offenses for which the offender has been charged, sentenced, or incarcerated.

Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator

The Bureau is responsible for the custody and care of sentenced Federal inmates, as well as a significant number of pretrial detainees and pre-sentenced offenders for the U.S. Marshals Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Bureau also has custodial responsibility for District of Columbia felons sentenced to terms of imprisonment.

Register with the Department of Community Justice for notifications

Who to Call

The Department of Community Justice has a victim advocate who will help victims of crime, and those impacted by offenders we supervise navigate the community supervision process. If you are seeking advocacy services please contact Chelsea, listed below.

Chelsea Penning
She/Her pronouns
Victims' Specialist, Department of Community Justice
(503) 988-2737
chelsea.penning@multco.us

If the defendant is serving a jail or prison sentence

If the offender has been sentenced to prison they will go from local jail through intake at Coffee Creek Correctional Institution in Wilsonville, Oregon. The intake process takes about three to four weeks. Inmates are placed in facilities throughout Oregon based on individual inmate programming, housing, and safety needs. Generally all female inmates are housed at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. You can register with VINE Link to be notified if an offender is moved from one facility to another. You can use this link to look up the status of an inmate and see some sentencing information.
Look up offender status.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ What's the earliest release date?

Look up offender status of those being held in prison to see the projected earliest release date.

+ How might the earliest release date change?

Earliest Release Date is not firm until closer to release. It gets updated periodically by counselors. The closer to release, the more predictable this date becomes.

What does Earliest Release Date include?
The Earliest Release Date includes the sentence, minus Earned Time (up to 20% of the total sentence) and any credit for time already served in county jail.

What is Earned Time?
Earned Time is 20% credited at the beginning of the sentence. Earned time can be lost due to infractions and counselors update earned time periodically.

What are some other programs that may move the date earlier than that?
Short Term Transitional Leave can subtract up to 120 days in addition to earned time for certain offenders. To learn more visit the DOC FAQs.

Are there other programs that may allow the offender to spend time in the community?
There are Alternative Incarceration Programs available in three institutions in Oregon that allow a small number of offenders to undergo treatment in the community. If they graduate these programs successfully they will be released earlier in addition to earned time.

+ How can I be notified about changes or release? + How can I find out about parole hearings and decisions?

You have the right to attend and/or speak at a parole hearing. Inmates will only have a parole hearing if one of these applies:

  • They were sentenced to a crime before November 1st, 1989.
  • They were sentenced as a "Dangerous Offender."
  • They were convicted of aggravated murder.
  • They were convicted of murder committed on or after June 29, 1995
Register with the Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision for parole hearing notifications. Their Victim specialist, Robyn Masella, will get in touch with you and help you prepare and navigate the parole hearings process.

Robyn Masella
She/Her pronouns
Victims Specialist, Board of Parole & Post-Prison Supervision
(503) 945-0907
DLParoleBoardVictimNotify@doc.state.or.us

Who to Call

For questions about state prison

Saydyie DeRosia
She/Her pronouns
Victim Services Coordinator, Oregon Department of Corrections
(503) 934-1113
VictimServicesProgram@doc.state.or.us

For questions about county jail

Chelsea Penning
She/Her pronouns
Victims' Specialist, Department of Community Justice
(503) 988-2737
chelsea.penning@multco.us

Crime Victims' Rights

Oregon's constitution protects your rights as a victim of crime. You have a right to be treated with dignity and respect, to have a meaningful role throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process, to have your rights held in balance with the rights of a defendant, to fair and impartial treatment, and to reasonable protection from the defendant.

In addition to these foundational rights, victims of crime have specific rights as well. Some rights are automatic while others need to be requested, meaning you need to alert the District Attorney's office or the court that you wish to use these rights. If you believe your rights were violated there may be a remedy available but there are time limits for requesting a remedy. Click here to find out more.

  • Right to notice – You have the right (upon request) to be notified of all critical stage hearings, for example: hearings where the defendant is requesting to be released from jail or to have their release conditions/requirements changed; when the defendant changes their plea; and when the court is going to sentence the defendant.
    If a defendant has already been sentenced for the crime and you wish to be notified of probation violation matters, you may register with the Department of Community Justice (probation). To be notified of release from prison, you can register with Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision. You must register at least 30 days before the release date, you can find there earliest release date listed here.
  • Right to be present - You have a right to attend and be present for court hearings. This can be done in person or in many circumstances the court will allow you to be present by speaker phone.
  • Right to be heard – This right must be requested. Crime victims have the right to make a statement to the court at pretrial release hearings and at sentencing. If you do not feel comfortable making a statement to a court, the prosecutor, victim advocate or crime victim's rights attorney can provide assistance to make sure your voice is heard.
  • Right to information about the defendant in the criminal case – This right must be requested. As a crime victim, you have the right to receive certain information about the offender. This information may include the criminal history and information about your criminal case including the conviction, sentence, and release from jail/prison.
    If a defendant is in jail, and you wish to receive information, you may register with VINE. VINE can call, text, or e-mail you of a change in a defendant's custody status. For example, VINE will send you a message if a defendant is arrested, released from jail, move to a different county or change the office they need to report to.
    If a defendant is in prison and you wish to be notified of release, register with the Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision. Please make note that this must be completed at least 30 days before the defendant is released to make sure you are notified.
  • Right to privacy and protection – You have a right to keep some personal information including your phone number and address from the defendant. A defendant's attorney or someone working for the defendant's attorney may wish to contact you. As a crime victim, you have a right to refuse to speak with them or provide them with information. You can notify the District Attorney's office if you would like us to make sure that right is respected. You can also ask that the prosecutor and/or victim advocate on your case is present for any meeting or conversation that you choose to have with defendant's attorney.
    Remember, it's important to know who you are speaking with. The defendant's attorney or their staff should identify who they are, what their role is, as well as your right not to talk with them. If you have concerns, please contact the District Attorney's Office at (503) 988- 3222.
  • Right to be consulted about possible plea offers – This right must be requested. In certain felony crimes, you have the right to discuss with the prosecutor possible plea offers and have your opinions heard.
  • Right to transcripts – If a transcript of a court hearing is being prepared, you have the right to have a copy of the transcript.
  • Right to request restitution – Victims of crime have an automatic right to request restitution from the defendant who caused the loss or injuries.
    Victims must complete paperwork with the District Attorney's Office and provide documentation of their expenses or loss as a result of a crime. The District Attorney's Office notifies the Judge at sentencing if restitution will be requested. Learn more about how restitution works

Frequently Asked Questions

+ What if I'm concerned about contact by a defendant on supervision

If you are in danger or need immediate assistance, call 9-1-1 if it is not an emergency situation you can report information through the non-emergency law enforcement number, (503) 823-3333

For less urgent concerns, you can call the defendant's probation/post-prison officer (PPO). If being contacted by a juvenile offender or the youth's family, contact the police to file a report, report the incident to juvenile's assigned court counselor or notify the victim advocate in the District Attorney's office.

+ How do I get a restraining order?

A restraining order (also known as a protective order) is a court order which orders someone who poses a threat to your safety to stay away from you. There are three common types of restraining orders in Oregon. To learn more about them click here. You can also start the process through the Oregon Judicial Branch, which will allow you to fill out the information online, save your forms and be ready to have the court print and notarize them. This will allow you to quickly move through the filing process and fill them out at your own pace. You can also fill the restraining order application out at the downtown Multnomah County Courthouse in room 211. There are confidential advocates through the VOA Home Free to assist you in completing the paperwork from 8:00 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.

For a restraining order against an intimate partner, you can also apply for an order at the Gateway Center for Domestic Violence at 10305 E. Burnside. Gateway Center, it’s is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. You should plan on arriving close to 9 a.m. so that you can complete the forms before noon.

The paperwork for a restraining order takes approximately one hour to complete but we recommend giving yourself plenty of time to review what you have written. For a same day restraining order, you need to submit your paperwork before noon. The judge will begin hearing petitions for restraining orders at 1:30 p.m.

Video conference with the Judge is an additional option at the Gateway Center.

If the judge grants the protective order, the court clerk will work with you to determine the best option for having it served on the respondent. If requested, the sheriff deputy will attempt to serve the restraining order at the addresses that you provided. You can check here to see if the paperwork has been served by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. Once it is served then the order of protection is valid. If the respondent contests the order, they must notify the court to set a hearing date within 30 days of being served. Please keep the court informed of your address so you can be notified if a hearing is scheduled. The prosecutor cannot represent you at a contested restraining order hearing but a civil attorney can. There are several options for obtaining representation. If you have an open case with the District Attorney’s Office, please let the prosecutor know if you are represented by an attorney.

Restraining Order Violations

If the respondent does not obey the restraining order, call 9-1-1 or the police non-emergency number. Tell police you have a restraining order and need their help enforcing it.

If you want to drop the Restraining Order

If you decide you want to drop the restraining order, go to the Family Law Clerk's office and fill out a form asking the judge to vacate (remove) the restraining order. If the judge signs the order, give copies to the Family Law Clerk and the Sheriff's Office. The restraining order will remain in effect until the order to vacate is signed.

Who to Call

Offender's Parole/Probation Officer
Department of Community Justice
(503) 988-3701
Look up the probation/post-prison officer

Restitution

Though an automatic right, restitution can be challenging to enforce. You must provide documentation about your financial losses and they must be directly related to the crimes that are charged. You must let the District Attorney’s Office know that you are requesting restitution so that they can assert your right before the case resolves. If the defendant is found guilty a judge will determine the amount of restitution that the defendant is ordered to pay. If requested in advance, the judge may allow up to 120 days after a plea or conviction for you to submit restitution paperwork. If the defense attorney requests a hearing, then you may be required to testify about your loss and the expenses involved as a result of the crime. In Multnomah County, the amount of restitution that a defendant is ordered to pay is determined by the judge at the conclusion of a case and the defendant is ordered to make payments through the court system. The defendant is not given your contact information and will not be making payments directly to you. Restitution payment to you is dependent on the defendant making payments to court. Once ordered, the judgement is valid for 50 years.

For questions about restitution payments, please contact the Multnomah County Court Accounting at (503) 988-3269.

Restitution is different from Crime Victims' Compensation. With certain crimes, Crime Victims' Compensation can award you funds to cover some forms of crime related expenses. These can include medical expenses, counseling, lost earnings, and funeral expenses. Victim Advocates can help you apply for Crime Victims' Compensation. To learn more about services or to apply on your own please visit this website.

For trial appeals and attending parole hearings, you may qualify for a special type of Crime Victims' Compensation to pay for travel and counseling expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ Having trouble collecting restitution?

The defendant is not given your contact information and will not be making payments directly to you. Restitution payment to you is dependent on the defendant making payments to court. Once ordered, the judgement is valid for 50 years.

For questions about restitution payments, please contact the Multnomah County Court Accounting at (503) 988-3269.

Victims' Rights Attorneys

Victims of crime have the right to hire their own attorney. In criminal cases it is important to remember the roles of everyone involved:

  • The District Attorney represents the State of Oregon and the community in criminal cases.
  • The District Attorney Victim Advocate works for the District Attorney's Office and provides assistance to victims of crime, they do not have client or victim confidentiality.
  • The Defense Attorney represents the defendant in criminal cases.

Victims' Rights Attorneys provide direct legal representation for victims in criminal cases. The role of a victim rights attorney is to advocate for your victim rights and make sure your rights are respected. If your victim rights are violated, a victim rights attorney may be able to help.

There are various organizations with attorneys that provide legal representation to victims of crime, many of these services are free of charge. There are also private attorneys that provide legal representation.

All community services

Community advocates may be entitled to confidentiality privilege, many are.

National Domestic Abuse Hotline
(800) 799-7233

Call to Safety Hotline
(503) 235-5333

Lutheran Community Services NW
(971) 888-7830

Multnomah County's Confidential Hotline
(503) 235-5333

Legal Help
Legal Aid Services of Oregon
(503) 224-4086

Oregon Crime Victims Law Center
(503) 208-8160

Victim Rights Law Center
(503) 274-5477

National Organization for Victim Assistance
(800) 879-6682

National Crime Victims' Center
(855)-4VICTIM / (855) 484-2846

National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI)
www.ncvli.org

Justice system services

Advocates that are based in government agencies, such as the District Attorney’s Office are often referred to as system-based advocates. Many system-based advocates as well as some community-based advocates are required to share some types of information, such as child abuse or information related to criminal cases. Many, but not all community-based advocates are able to keep confidential the information you share with them, which means that they will not share information without your consent or written permission.

The best way to find out what reporting requirements an advocate has, is to ask the advocate you are working with to explain what limitations to maintaining confidentiality they have and under what circumstances they are required to share or report information.

Multnomah County Department of Community Justice
(503) 988-3701

Multnomah District Attorney's Office - Victim's Assistance Program
(503) 988-3222

Multnomah County Small Claims Court
(503) 988-3022, option 1

Oregon Crime Victims' Compensation Program - Adults and Juveniles
(503) 378-5348

Multnomah County Circuit Court and Family Law Center
(503) 988-3022, option 2