Effects of the current recession are being felt everywhere. Some counties in Oregon are trimming the budget for all services, including criminal prosecutions. An effect of this is that the County will not be able to prosecute some crimes as aggressively as before.
As this Oregonian report states, this means some felonies will be prosecuted as misdemeanors, some misdemeanors will be downgraded to violations, and some violations will not be pursued at all. Downgrading charges is nothing new but counties can expect to see this at a much higher rate with the budget tightening.
Interestingly, not all counties will be feeling these effects. What does this mean? Well, some think that this will encourage a higher crime rate in those counties that are lightening up on crime. If a thief thinks he can get away with more in Multnomah County than he can in Washington County, he may move his criminal behavior over to the more lax county.
This isn’t a proven fact and may simply be another way to frighten the public. However, the budget cuts and their immediate effects on prosecuted cases is a fact and will have some effects yet unseen.
Plea bargaining is part of the criminal justice process. It allows the prosecution to get a guilty plea while saving their time and money to prosecute bigger cases. While plea agreements happen everyday across the country, they are more focused on saving money now than they have ever been before.
Facing a criminal charge is stressful, particularly if you know you committed the offense and are frightened of facing the consequences. A plea agreement may be a very good option for you in this type of circumstance. Consulting with an experienced attorney about the specifics of your case can put your mind at ease.