What Is a Class B Felony in Oregon?
The most serious felonies in Oregon, such as murder, are not classified. The rest of felony crimes on the books in the state are divided into three classes. Class A includes the most serious felonies while Class C has the least serious felonies. Class B felonies include:
- Aggravated theft – 1st degree
- Money laundering
- Abuse of a corpse – 1st degree
- Possession of body armor
- Drug distribution – cocaine
Maximum and Minimum Sentences
Oregon has established an indeterminate system for the sentencing for felonies. Class B felonies can be punished by up to 10 years in prison. Fines are set up the same way as sentences. A Class B felony can qualify for a fine of up to $250,000. Fines may be necessary as restitution or for other purposes, based on the discretion of the court. The state’s sentencing system makes it possible for enhanced sentencing, depending on the particular circumstances of the crime.
Oregon has a sentencing guideline grid that helps judges determine the appropriate penalty range for a felony – or any crime committed in the state. On one side of the grid is a ranking of the seriousness of the crime based on a sliding scale with a ranking based on the defendant’s criminal history – prior convictions will add time to a presumptive sentence – on the other side of the grid. The goal of the guidelines is to create uniformity in the sentencing of approximately 14,000 criminal defendants a year in the state. The goal is for defendants to serve, on average, 80 percent of their sentences. Enhanced sentences are possible when aggravating circumstances are present or in other situations, such as “serious crimes against persons.” Oregon legislators decided in 2011 that certain crimes against persons would qualify for minimum sentences – meaning that probation or community-based sentencing was no longer an option. Also defendants using or attempting to use a firearm in the commission of a crime and drug traffickers, as long as a prescribed amount of the drug is involved, qualify for enhanced penalties.
Loss of Rights and Benefits
As soon as you are convicted you will lose the following rights in North Dakota:
- Own or possess a firearm
- Qualify for some licenses, permits to hold occupations in a variety of fields, particularly healthcare
- Hold state office
- Serve on a grand jury
A person convicted of a Class B felony in Oregon automatically regains the rights to vote, serve on a jury and run for a state office after completion of the sentence. That includes the payment of any fine and parole and probation obligations. The right to own or possess a firearm is not automatically regained after being released from prison. A felon in Oregon can regain the right to own or possess a firearm by applying in the court where he or she was sentenced once 15 years have passed. However, if the crime involved a homicide or was a firearms offense, only a pardon from the governor can restore firearm possession rights.
Employment and Housing with a Felony Record
For a convicted felon, finding any kind of job, particularly one that pays well enough to support a family, is extremely difficult in Oregon. The same is true with housing opportunities. The competition is intense and convicted felons are generally perceived to be a riskier choice than another applicant without a criminal record. There are state offices that can provide valuable resources, including the Department of Corrections and the Department of Labor. In addition, an online search will reveal chat boards and websites with information on re-entry programs that specifically target convicted felons.
Clearing Your Record
While Oregon does have laws on the books to expunge and seal criminal records, these laws generally only apply to misdemeanors or less serious felonies. Virtually no Class B felonies qualify for expungement. The governor of Oregon has the authority to grant a pardon for any felony. There are no set guidelines, and a waiting period is not required. No one can request a pardon for a crime that can qualify for expungement. The number of pardons granted often fluctuate with the governor in office. However, extraordinary circumstances are generally required. In a one-year period ending in early 2012, only 1 pardon was granted out of 262 applications, according to state records.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.