“Safety Valve” Exceptions to Measure 11 Sentences

By Bryan Boender, Attorney at Law

Measure 11 offenses carry mandatory minimum prison sentences ranging from five years and ten months to 25 years, depending upon the specific crime. These sentences are served without the possibility of probation, parole or early release.

Or. Rev. Stat. § 137.712 provides limited exceptions to Measure 11 mandatory minimum sentencing. For certain crimes, the Court may exempt the defendant from these minimum sentences and impose a sentence less than the mandatory minimum if the defendant and the circumstances of their crime fit the necessary legal criteria.

Not all Measure 11 crimes are eligible for a “safety valve” exemption. Not all defendants will qualify. In order for the Court to depart from a mandatory minimum, the Court will hold a hearing where it must make additional and specific factual findings and legal conclusions on the record in open court. Your attorney should investigate the circumstances of the offense and your background to determine whether the “safety valve” is applicable to your circumstances.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a Measure 11 crime in Oregon, it is important that you speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.