When a defendant is charged with a crime punishable as a misdemeanor for which the person injured by the act constituting the crime has a remedy by a civil action, the crime may be compromised. There are exceptions listed in ORS 135.703. If the person injured acknowledges in writing, at any time before trial, that the person has received satisfaction for the injury, the court may, upon agreement of the City Attorney and at its discretion, and on payment of the costs and expenses incurred, order the case dismissed.
ORS 135.703-135.709 governs civil compromises.
What is a civil compromise?
It is an agreement between the injured party (victim) and the accused (defendant) whereby the parties negotiate a settlement outside of the criminal process. Once the two parties come to an agreement, it is solidified in writing. The agreement consists of conditions both parties mutually agree must be performed prior to the victim signing a satisfaction/release of claims. Upon the victim signing the satisfaction/release of claims, the criminal charge is dismissed. The prosecuting attorney or any member of his staff cannot take part in the negotiation. The prosecutor does not represent the victim in any individual capacity; therefore, cannot assist the victim in reaching a settlement or discuss the impact the civil compromise would have on future claims.
It is important for a victim to understand that once the charge is civilly compromised, and the case dismissed, the matter cannot be brought back before the court if the defendant fails to comply with the agreement. Therefore, it is important the conditions of the agreement be performed prior to signing any documents. Please Note: certain conditions cannot be enforced beyond the agreement. An example of some conditions would be no contact conditions or trespass conditions. You may want to consult an attorney to inquire about the impact a civil compromise would have if you are the victim of an auto accident or a victim of a crime which may result in claims for future pain and suffering.
What if I have more questions?
It is important to understand the civil compromise process. If you have any questions, seek the advice of an attorney. The Oregon State Bar operates the Lawyer Referral Service sponsored by the Oregon State Bar. Usually you can consult with an attorney for a minimal fee. You may contact the Oregon State Bar at 503-684-3763, and 800-452-7636.