The information on this page should help answer a few common questions about the process of being charged with a crime in Douglas County. This is for general purposes only and does not apply to every case and does not replace the need for an attorney.
This information was gathered and put together by Umpqua Valley Public Defenders (UVPD) and does not reflect the rules or policies of any other public defender’s office or the Court. UVPD tries to keep this information updated but there might be policy changes so the best thing to do if you have a question is ask your attorney.
You can search the Douglas County court docket HERE. This is where you can find your next court date.
You can pay your Court fees and Fines HERE
You can reach the work crew office by calling 541-957-2072 or on the web HERE.
When going to Court in Douglas County
You CANNOT bring cell phones past court security. You will need to either pay $.25 for a small locker for your phone and other belongings into or leave them somewhere secure before entering the courtroom area.
The Justice Building is the back building and has all the courtrooms. The old Courthouse is the front building with the steps and has no courtrooms. The jail is also located in the Justice Building and can be entered on the 3rd floor to the right when you get off the elevator.
Helpful date and times know
Criminal out of custody arrangements typically start at 8:15am.
Criminal trials typically start at 9:30am, but some juvenile and contempt trials start at different times.
Typically, criminal status checks are set for Monday afternoons, with individual appearance dates set earlier in the morning during the week or just after lunch.
Douglas County has six judges:
|Courtroom 401||Judge Jason Thomas Pro Term|
|Courtroom 402||Judge Ann Marie Simmons|
|Courtroom 403||Judge Kathleen Johnson Presiding|
|Courtroom 404||Judge Steve Hoddle|
|Courtroom 303||Judge Robert Johnson|
|Courtroom 304||Judge George Ambrosini|
You can reach the Douglas County Jail at 541-440-4440 or on the web here. If you are taken to jail, remember that ALL PHONE CALLS AND VISITS (except attorney visits) are recorded by the jail. So DO NOT TALK ABOUT THE FACTS OF ANY CURRENT CRIMINAL CHARGE, ANY LEGAL STRATEGY OR DEFENSE TO THOSE CHARGES, or anything else that you wouldn’t say to a roomful of police officers.
The Douglas County Circuit Court offers court-supervised treatment programs designed to restore clients to be productive members of society, rather than to punish them for inappropriate behavior that has an underlying, treatable cause.
Douglas county offers three types of specialty courts, they are mental health court, drug court, and domestic violence court, they also offer diversion, and Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) programs. There are specific circumstances to qualify for each of these, please refer to the links above to see if you are eligible.
Again, this information does not replace the need to talk to your attorney about these or any other questions you might have.
If you are looking for an attorney because the Department of Human Services contacted you and opened an investigation about your family, please refer to the “Pre-appointment” page to learn more or fill out an eligibility form.
For clients that are OUT OF CUSTODY
Citation (encounter with the police)
After an encounter with the police, you may be given a citation and allowed to go but be told that you must appear in court at a later date.
On your citation there will be a date, time, and location. (Typically, room 201 at the Douglas County courthouse) For example, the citation might show – August 3, 2023, at 08:15am in 201.
You should go to the room that is listed on your citation to “check in” they will tell you what courtroom to go to. You can confirm your courtroom by checking the TV monitor to the left when you get off the elevator on the 3rd or 4th floors. (They are to the left before you enter the double doors to go through security) There are also TV monitors outside each courtroom with the names of those who should be appearing in that courtroom.
Arraignment (first court appearance)
The first appearance in a criminal or contempt matter is called an arraignment.
Overview of an arraignment:
- You will receive a copy of your charges in writing.
- The Judge will tell you your rights and what you are charged with.
- The Judge will confirm your name and Date of Birth.
- The Judge will ask you if you want an attorney.
- If you answer “yes” then you will need to fill out the packet and be interviewed to see if you qualify
- You will be given your next court appearance.
- You will be told if you need to get your fingerprints taken before your next court appearance (you will be given instructions on how and when to do this)
Once you are sitting in the gallery of the courtroom the Judge will enter and read your rights to the group then call up everyone individually to read your specific charges,
Normally there will be an attorney from UVPD sitting with you during this time to help you navigate this process and answer questions you may have. This is NOT your attorney. You must hire your own attorney or answer “yes” when the Judge asks if you need an attorney appointed to you. If you choose to be appointed an attorney, you will need to go through the screening process with Oregon Public Defender Service (OPDS) to see if you qualify, and then one will be assigned to you. (UVPD office might not be assigned to your case at all)
Future court appearances
Once you have an attorney, your attorney will help you navigate there on out. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO STAY IN CONTACT WITH YOUR ATTORNEY.
In Douglas County, the first real court date after your arraignment is called a status check and is typically approximately 45 days after the arraignment.
The Judge will want to know at that time whether the case is resolved, or whether you want to schedule a trial date. It is very important to meet with your attorney before that court date, and even more important that you attend that court date.
If the case is resolved at the time of status check, you will be assigned to another courtroom for a change of plea that day. If a trial date is set at status check it will probably be about 90 to 150 days from the status check along with 2 other pre-trial hearings–one 30 days after the status check and one on the Monday, the week before trial. It is very important that you meet with your attorney well before the trial date to prepare.
Each case is different, you will need to consult with your attorney about how early and often you need to meet to properly prepare. It is important to complete any paperwork or give any documentation that is requested by your attorney (example: Medical releases, Facebook messages)
Below is general information to help inform you about this process
Plea bargains vs. going to trial
As a defendant, it is always YOUR decision whether to “take a deal” or go to trial. Very few cases end up in trial, for many reasons. Most commonly, many people end up taking a plea bargain if it spares them the risks jail or prison time, even if they do not believe they are guilty.
As a client, you get to make the decision about whether to go to trial or whether to take a negotiated plea with the Deputy district attorneys (DDA). However, if you have an attorney then the DDA is not allowed to speak with you by yourself, your attorney must be there with you.
It is also your decision to:
- Have a Jury trial or Judge trial (Bench trial)
- If you should or should not testify in your own defense
It is important to understand that the DDA isn’t required to make a deal, but they typically do.
Please don’t stress out regarding these maximum penalties – it is unlikely they will apply to your situation. With the exception of Measure 11 (serious person-to-person crimes), Measure 57 (repeat drug and property crimes), and DUII, most felony sentences in Oregon are calculated based on criminal history using the sentencing guidelines grid.
Sentencing in Oregon is very complex and cannot be adequately explained here, after you read through this general list, you can talk to your attorney about your specific case.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor:
- Class A — up to 364 days jail and a $6,250 fine.
- Class B — up to 180 days jail and a $2,500 fine.
- Class C — up to 30 days jail and $1,500 fine.
If you are charged with a felony:
- Class A — up to 20 years in prison and $375,000 fine.
- Class B — up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine.
- Class C — up to 5 years prison and a $125,000 fine.