A criminal record can represent a lifetime of lost opportunities. You can be denied the job you worked so hard to qualify for because of that shoplifting conviction during leaner times. The school of your dreams could turn you down because of a single mistake that has never been repeated since. Is there anything you can do to rectify the situation?
In Oregon, certain criminal charges may be expunged, or cleared from your record. (This process is also known as ‘setting aside’ a record.) When this happens, your arrest or conviction is legally removed from the public record. The court documents are destroyed and the case will not appear in most background searches. When you apply for a job or housing, you can legally state that you have never been arrested or convicted of a crime.
If a past mistake is still haunting you years after the fact, talk to a criminal defense lawyer at Harris Velázquez Gibbens, PC about expunging your criminal record in Oregon. We believe that a brief lapse in judgment should not ruin your future for life, so contact us to find out how you can get a fresh start.
What is Expungement? Oregon Expungement Laws Explained
Expungement is the process of destroying or sealing the record of a criminal arrest and/or conviction. An expungement order directs the court to treat the incident as if it had never happened, removing it from a person’s criminal history as well as from the public record. The eligibility requirements vary depending on:
- Whether you were convicted or simply arrested and later released
- The nature of the crime: some offenses can’t be expunged in Oregon
If you’re not sure whether your crime qualifies for expungement, get legal advice from an experienced lawyer.
If you were arrested but not convicted, you may be able to expunge the record if you currently have no pending charges.
If the criminal charges were dismissed or resulted in an acquittal, there may be no waiting period, contingent on other criteria being met. In cases where there was only an arrest but the District Attorney for whatever reason did not charge you, your waiting period to set aside a record of arrest is 60 days.
If you were convicted of an expungeable offense, you must have fully performed the sentence of the court and must have no other charges pending at the time you file your motion to expunge. Moreover, a certain period of time has to have passed since your conviction, with the waiting period depending on the severity of the crime.
An experienced expungement attorney can clarify any confusion in this area.
Timeline for Felony Expungement and Misdemeanor Expungement
How long you need to wait to start the expungement application process depends on the offense involved. Below is a general overview of the typical timeline involved with expungement requirements:
- Non-Person B Felony Conviction: wait seven years and have no other convictions within the past seven years.
- C Felony Conviction: five-year waiting period and no other convictions within five years
- Class A Misdemeanor Conviction: Three-year waiting period and no other convictions for three years.
- Class B or C Misdemeanor Conviction and Findings of Contempt: One-year waiting period and no other convictions for one year.
Am I Able to Have My Crimes Expunged?
Many crimes are eligible for expungement, provided that you complied fully with the sentence of the court. If you are still on probation or probation has been extended, you can’t seek an expungement yet. Additionally, there must be no other charges pending against you in any jurisdiction, including outside of the state or country.
Certain criminal convictions, however, can’t be expunged in Oregon, no matter how much time has passed. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Traffic offenses
- Most sex offenses where the person is still required to report/register
- Endangering the welfare of a minor (if child abuse was involved)
- Class A felonies and Class B felonies if the crime is a ‘person’ crime
Why Can’t You Expunge a DUII?
In Oregon, DUII convictions stay on your criminal history forever. This is because driving under the influence of intoxicants is a ‘traffic offense.’
You may be able to have your DUII arrest set aside if you were arrested for DUII but never convicted. This may be the result of charges being dismissed (not pursuant to a successfully completed diversion), you being acquitted or the case being never filed. A Hillsboro, Oregon expungement lawyer will explain how to proceed in this type of case.
Can My Record Ever Be Reopened?
It’s unlikely but still possible, as setting aside a conviction record does not eliminate it entirely. Your record may be unsealed by the court (except in the case of an expunged juvenile adjudication), but only in exceptional circumstances. A court order is required to do so, and there must be a compelling reason.
If you have questions or concerns about the possibility of your criminal history being reopened after it has been set aside, discuss them with your expungement attorney. They will explain common situations that may result in a reopening so that you understand all potential outcomes.
When Can I Seal My Juvenile Record?
In Oregon, juveniles must wait at least five years after their last contact with the juvenile court before requesting that their record be set aside. Other criteria for expungements are as follows:
- You have not been convicted of any felony or class A misdemeanor during the five-year wait period
- There is no juvenile or criminal case pending against you
- You are not currently under the jurisdiction of any juvenile court
- There is no pending police criminal investigation against you
If you have a juvenile record, speak to a Hillsboro expungement lawyer about the steps you need to take for your legal matter.
Do I Need an Expungement Lawyer?
You are not legally required to use an expungement attorney, but there are good reasons why you should. There is a lot of paperwork and legal knowledge involved with the expungement process, and a mistake can result in your application being turned down, sending you back to square one.
If you are eligible for an expungement and retain the criminal law attorneys at Harris Velázquez Gibbens, PC, we will take the following steps:
- Prepare a motion to expunge and serve copies on the District Attorney’s office in the county where your arrest or conviction took place
- Have you complete an affidavit in support for the motion
- Serve a copy on the court
- Verify your identity by sending your fingerprints to the Oregon State Police
- Represent you at a hearing, should one be required
A hearing may be scheduled after we file your motion, and the DA’s office has to respond once it has been served. If the DA does not object, an order will be sent to a judge for signing, any hearing that was set will be canceled, and you will receive a certified copy of the order once it has been signed. The court will also forward copies to the applicable agencies so they can comply with the order.
Let a Hillsboro, Oregon Expungement Lawyer Fight for Your Second Chance
When deciding whether or not to seek an expungement, consider all the benefits of a clean record. A past conviction will no longer affect your day-to-day life or hold you back. You also won’t run into the same challenges when finding housing, qualifying for public benefits, seeking employment opportunities, owning a firearm, or traveling internationally.
At Harris Velázquez Gibbens, we understand that people make mistakes, and believe that everyone deserves a second chance. That is why we work with clients who have a criminal record to obtain legal expungement after they have fulfilled the conditions of their past conviction. For more information on the expungement process or to schedule an initial consultation with a criminal defense attorney, call 503-610-4398 or contact us online.