Defending Against Criminal Charges: Double Jeopardy

After a dog attack, animal control often gives the dog owner a citation for violating an animal control law. If the dog owner is convicted, does the conviction bar a subsequent prosecution for a more serious crime, under the doctrine of double jeopardy?

State v. Garnier, 171 Or.App. 564, 16 P.3d 1175 (Or.App. 2000) involved charges of causing physical injury to a certain person by means of a dog bite and creating a substantial risk of serious physical injury to a certain person by failing to control a dog. In Garnier, Defendant moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing that he previously had been prosecuted for the violation of maintaining a dog as a nuisance based on the same criminal episode, and that further prosecution was barred by ORS 131.515, the state’s prohibition against double jeopardy. The state acknowledged that the citation for the violation and the indictment for the crimes arose from the same events. The state relied, however, on ORS 153.810(1) (1997) which provided: “Notwithstanding ORS 131.505 to 131.535, if a person is charged with both a crime and a violation as part of the same criminal episode, the prosecution for one offense does not bar the subsequent prosecution for the other. However, evidence of the first conviction is not admissible in any subsequent prosecution for the other offense.” Based on this statute, the court held that there was no prohibition against the criminal charges, and remanded the case for trial.