Property Crimes

Mr. O’Rourke is an experienced criminal defense and theft crime lawyer who will defend you against misdemeanor or felony theft charges in the Portland, Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Oregon City metroplex area and throughout the state of Oregon.

Each theft crime is made of certain elements. The state of Oregon has to prove them all in order to get a conviction. Think of elements as ingredients. The state has to prove all of the ingredients of each crime to get a conviction. The basic ingredient of all theft crimes is coming into possession of the property, services or identity of another through fraudulent means.

In addition to the basic ingredients of each theft crime, the State Of Oregon must prove the value of the property or other facts which determine the degree or seriousness of each theft crime.

The following table shows the factors the state must prove to establish the degree – seriousness of each theft crime.

In most cases, the factor which determines whether a theft crime is charged as a felony theft crime or a misdemeanor theft crime is the value of the property. The higher the value of the property, the more serious the charge.

The value of property is the market value of the property at the time and place of the crime, or if that can not reasonably be determined, then the cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable time after the crime.

Aggregate value
The value of individual thefts of property may be added together – aggregated if the thefts were committed against multiple victims by similar means within a 30 day period or against the same victim, or two or more persons who are joint owners, within a 180 day period..


If “Joe” steals $99 in cash from his co-worker’s till eleven times over 30 days, a prosecutor can add all eleven thefts together and charge a Class C Felony Theft in the First Degree or charge eleven counts of Class C Misdemeanor Theft in the Third Degree.

Degrees of theft crimes in Oregon:

  • Aggravated 1st degree Theft Class B felony
  • First Degree Theft Class C felony
  • Second Degree Theft Class A misdemeanor
  • Third Degree Theft Class C misdemeanor

Jail or Prison Sentences For theft Crimes

Sentences on Misdemeanor convictions
are discretionary with the judge. Jail sentences for misdemeanor theft convictions are not uncommon.

Sentences on Felony and Aggravated Felony theft convictions
are determined by the Judge applying the Oregon Felony Sentencing Guidelines. To calculate a sentence using the Oregon Felony Sentencing Guidelines, first we look at the degree of the crime for which the defendant is being sentenced and the value of the property which was the subject of the theft. The higher the value of the property the more serious the presumed sentence. Then we look at the defendant’s criminal history which is the number and types of prior convictions Those factors produce a presumed sentence.

If a person has a certain number and kinds of prior convictions and the right type of new charge, he will face a presumed prison sentence under the Repeat Property Offender Law also known as REPO. Click here to learn more about Repeat Property Offender Law.

There are three types of presumed sentences:

  • probationary – which includes probation and possibly jail but not prison
  • prison per felony sentencing guidelines – prison can be reduced to probation with out without jail
  • prison under the REPO statute – prison and can be reduced to probation with or without jail

Where REPO applies, the presumed sentence is the longer of the Felony Sentencing Guidelines or REPO presumed sentences. REPO presumed sentences are 18 or 24 months in prison.

The presumed sentence is only a starting point in setting the punishment for a felony theft conviction.

At sentencing, we can argue for less than the presumed Oregon Felony Sentencing Guidelines or REPO sentence based on mitigating factors which are reasons to give a person less than the presumed sentence. However, there are restrictions on the use of mitigating factors if a person was on probation for a property crime at the time of the offense or has previously had a REPO sentence reduced by mitigation.

One of the mitigating factors we use most often in theft cases is that our client is amenable to treatment OAR 213-008-0002(1)(a)(I).

There are many reasons people commit theft and property crimes. Addiction and theft go hand in hand. Many property and theft crime offenders suffer from alcohol or drug addiction. There are psychological/emotional conditions which motivate people to commit thefts. These conditions can be diagnosed and treated.

Successful alcohol and drug treatment or psychological or emotional treatment or counseling can be a basis for a non prison sentence. The idea is that treatment will solve the clients underlying problem and there is no need for prison to rehabilitate the client and protect society from future

We at the law firm of Portland criminal defense lawyer James F. O’Rourke, Jr. Lead the way in using successful treatment for underlying conditions to obtain appropriate sentencing results for our clients. We work with a large network of professionals who provide excellent treatment and support in Court for our clients charged with Theft crimes.

How we work as a team for you

We at James F. O’Rourke, Jr. and Associates know how to defend theft charges. We are very successful in getting charges dismissed or reduced. Our clients, who carefully follow our instructions, usually avoid jail sentences. Rarely, do any of our clients who follow our instructions receive prison sentences.

In determining our client’s exposure to punishment for theft crimes, first we determine the degree of the crime using the factors set out above. If most cases the level of the crime is determined by the value of the property. The higher the value of the property, the more serious the charge.

Next, for felony theft crimes, we look at the value of the property again to determine the presumed punishment under the Oregon Felony Sentencing Guidelines. The higher the value of the property, the higher the presumed sentence.

Then we look at the nature of the charged crime and client’s criminal history to determine if the client is subject to a prison sentence as a Repeat Property Offender REPO and/or under the Oregon Felony Sentencing guidelines.

Then we look for ways to get the charges reduced, dismissed or ways to get the district attorney or judge not to follow the presumed sentence and order something our client can live with.

Pre Charge Representation

Our criminal defense lawyers and attorneys negotiate with persons to settle civil claims before criminal charges are brought. If done correctly, this can avoid criminal prosecution all together. If not done correctly through a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, this can lead to further criminal charges. We know how to do this correctly.


Our criminal trial lawyers and attorneys make sure the State can prove its case. The prosecution has the burden of proof – the burden of proving all the elements of each theft crime including value and ownership of the property. There are a number of defenses to theft charges.

Before and after charges are brought

We use proven methods to avoid charges or to get filed charges reduced or dismissed.. We negotiate with DA’s, Judges and Victims. Many of our cases are dismissed pursuant to Civil Compromise.


We use proven methods to get sentences that avoid jail or prison even for clients facing REPO sentences. We know how to structure sentences which best serve the interests of society and our clients. There are ways of doing jail time without going to jail in some cases.

We at James F. O’Rourke, Jr. and Associates know how to get good results for persons with theft convictions and are good at getting less than presumed sentences under both Oregon Felony Sentencing Guidelines and REPO laws.

We are hired to represent persons at sentencing for theft crimes after they have lost at trial with other criminal lawyers and attorneys

Immediate Misdemeanor Treatment

Class C felony Theft convictions can be reduced to misdemeanor convictions
at sentencing or at the end of probation. The decision is within the discretion of the court. If a person has his sentence reduced to a Class A Misdemeanor at the time of sentencing, he will be subject to maximum penalties of up to a year in the county jail and a fine of up to $6,250. He may be placed on bench probation or supervised probation. He will be subject to the same general and special conditions of probation as if he were convicted of felony Identity Theft.


Misdemeanor and Class C felony theft crime convictions can be expunged, sealed or cleared from one’s criminal record. Class B felony aggravated theft convictions can not be expunged.

We at James F. O’Rourke are mindful of the consequences of having a record of a felony conviction and work very hard to avoid such a record and to set the client up to have the client’s record sealed, expungement as soon as possible.

We have recently enjoyed excellent results in courts in Portland, Gresham, Oregon City, Beaverton, Lake Oswego and Hillsboro Oregon.

Our Family Thanks Jim for His Ability to See Beyond the Charge.
One day, I received a tearful voice message from my 19 year old son that would forever rock our world. It all began the prior year, my son had developed a drug problem. After undergoing drug and alcohol counseling, he had voluntarily entered rehab. During the 12 Step process, the truth came out. Prior to rehab, he had committed a drug induced robbery. (Read More Testimonials...)
– A Grateful Mother and Family
I Couldn't Be Happier With the Outcome.

My son is a Heroin addict and one day he tried to rob a store in our home town. It was charged as a Measure 11 crime and I was panicking as to what to do. I started looking for a lawyer that specialized in this sort of crime and I made a few phone calls.

(More Testimonials...)
– M.P. & G.P.
We Couldn't Have Had a Better Defense at Any Price.

We feel compelled to write a testimonial to the superlative help James F. O'Rourke, Jr. And Associates gave us with our son's case. Hopefully this will be read by someone who, like us, finds themselves in a desperate legal situation. We can say without hesitation or reservation that our son got the best legal help possible.

(Read More...)
– Greg and Gail P.