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The District Attorney represents the State of Oregon. This means that we do not represent victims or witnesses, but instead work in conjunction with them to pursue justice on their behalf.
Being that we do not directly represent victims or witnesses, we are prohibited from providing legal advice in any capacity, such as advising when to retain a private attorney, how to proceed in a civil case, assistance filling out restraining orders or expungement packets, etc.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica,
“Criminal law deals with behavior that is or can be construed as an offense against the public, society, or the state—even if the immediate victim is an individual. Examples are murder, assault, theft, and drunken driving. Civil law deals with behavior that constitutes an injury to an individual or other private party, such as a corporation. Examples are defamation (including libel and slander), breach of contract, negligence resulting in injury or death, and property damage.”
In Klamath County, we as the District Attorney rely on law enforcement to provide us with any reports or information relating to criminal offenses; therefore, all reports must be made through law enforcement.
Once a report is taken by law enforcement, it is approved by a supervisor and sent to our office. The case is assigned to a Deputy District Attorney who reviews the report to determine if charges can be filed. If it is determined that charges can be filed, an arraignment date is set which the defendant (the offending party) must appear in court for, thus beginning the prosecution process.
Arraignment is the first court appearance a defendant must attend in a criminal case. It is an opportunity for the defendant to plead guilty or not guilty; most individuals plead not guilty and are assigned a defense attorney or decide to retain their own.
Arraignments happen at 1:30 PM every day at the courthouse located at 316 Main St. The judge overseeing arraignments varies day by day, but you may check in at the courts to find out which court room arraignments are being held in on the day you are attending.
Grand Jury is simply the process by which we determine if we can move forward with felony charges. In Grand Jury, any victims or witnesses involved in the crime are brought individually into a meeting room with a senior Deputy District Attorney and a panel of seven grand jurors who are serving from the community. They ask a handful of questions to confirm the details of the event and that’s it. All told it usually only takes 10 or 15 minutes per witness.
Generally, our office will not remove no contact orders once they are in place for the protection of the victims involved. However, if you feel you have good reason to have one removed, you can write a letter to that effect and provide copies to both the District Attorney’s Office and the courts for the DA and judge to consider.
Our primary and preferred form of payment is a cashier’s check or money order in the exact amount required. We cannot accept cash. We can take credit or debit cards, but the process tends to be lengthier than using a cashier’s check or money order due to a lack of a card reader.
Requests for discovery may be made by filling out the appropriate request form either in our office or online here.
Requests for property to be returned may be made by filling out the appropriate request form either in our office or online here. Property requests are subject to the DA’s discretion based on how the item(s) are involved in the case, particularly if the case is not yet resolved.
The expungement process (having a criminal offense sealed and removed from your record) is fairly simple, but whether an expungement will be approved depends on a number of factors. To determine your eligibility for expungement, see the law regarding expungement - ORS 137.225, or seek counsel from a private attorney.
If you decide to file for expungement, you may pick up a packet from our office for $15. Being that we cannot provide legal counsel, we cannot assist in filling out or filing a packet; this too must be done on your own or through a private attorney.