We are advocates, not lawyers. We cannot and will not provide legal advice.
While we cannot give you legal advice, we can assist you in several ways if you are cited for a violation or misdemeanor in Eugene that is related to socioeconomic profiling and/or criminalization policies. Nearly 3,000 people are cited every year in downtown Eugene for nonviolent offenses, and a large percentage of those cited identify themselves to police as homeless or transient. Many of these citations are for victimless, “quality-of-life” crimes such as leaning against a building, sitting on the sidewalk, or jaywalking. Many people inevitably end up overwhelmed and overburdened by citations and legal proceedings that they lack the resources and capacity to handle, which leads to default judgments, potential arrest warrants, and other challenges that act as long-term barriers to getting off the streets.
As a matter of principle and philosophy, we believe in always pleading “not guilty”, but that stems from our personal ethics and is not to be construed as legal advice. We will offer you assistance and respect your decision no matter what you decide to plead in court.
What We Can Do:
*Listen. We understand the importance of being able to talk about what happened. We can document your experience if you choose, but we will always respect your privacy and keep your story confidential if that is your wish.
*Outline and explain the various paths and options that are offered by the system, and provide support if you decide to fight the charges and plead “not guilty”.
*Explain your options regarding filing complaints with various agencies, depending on your situation.
*Connect you with others who have had similar experiences, and we can relate to you what we learned from their situations.
*Accompany you to court and provide emotional support throughout the process. This can be especially helpful if you do not qualify for court-appointed counsel and still wish to go to trial.
*Publicize and raise awareness about your situation, especially if you have been cited for certain offenses such as camping or criminal trespass.