No matter how insignificant a particular interaction with the police may seem to be, people nonetheless need to prepare for the possibility of any subsequent criminal proceedings. Misdemeanor charges can have an immediate and serious impact on a person's life. In Oregon, misdemeanors include crimes such as disorderly conduct, driving with a suspended license, shoplifting, harassment, first-offense DUIs and certain thefts.
A man who turned heads around the world for stripping naked during an airport security screening has been found not guilty of indecent exposure in a Multnomah County, Oregon, court. Originally charging him with a misdemeanor, prosecutors eventually stripped down the offense to a violation, essentially the equivalent of a traffic ticket, after the man refused to plead guilty and instead demanded a jury trial.
Dozens of protesters arrested during Occupy Portland marches are filling Oregon courtrooms, vowing to stick out a tough fight over their First Amendment rights, which they say were violated when the protesters were charged with various misdemeanors. Prosecutors have called for the dismissal of the more serious charges in order to clear the court calendar, but some of the protesters have asked a judge not to allow the dismissal. They want a jury trial to prove they were well within their rights to protest peacefully.