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 drunk driving 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.
Why Hire Us for Your Expungement Case?
Choosing the right legal team to handle your expungement is an important step toward reclaiming your future. At Harris Velázquez Gibbens, PC, we understand the importance of a clean slate. Our dedicated attorneys will guide you through the expungement process, ensuring that past mistakes don’t hold you back from your dreams and aspirations.
Here are some of the many advantages of working with our firm:
- Extensive Experience in Criminal Law: Our lawyers have years of experience in criminal law, including expungement cases just like yours. We know the legal system in Oregon inside and out, which means we can navigate the process efficiently and with a high chance of success.
- Personalized Representation: We believe every case is different, and every client deserves individualized attention. Our team will listen to your story, understand your goals, and tailor our strategy to meet your specific needs. We’re here to guide you at every step, answering your questions and providing clear, understandable advice.
- Track Record of Success: Our firm has a history of successfully expunging records for our clients, allowing them to move forward in life without the burden of a past conviction. We’re proud of our achievements and are eager to bring our proven strategies to your case.
- Commitment to Your Future: Our ultimate goal is to help you achieve a fresh start. We’re not just processing paperwork; we’re investing in your future happiness and success. We take great satisfaction in seeing our clients free from the shadows of their past, ready to embrace new opportunities.
At Harris Velázquez Gibbens, PC, we’re more than just your attorneys; we’re your advocates, fighting to ensure your past mistakes don’t define your future. Contact us today to see how we can help you turn over a new leaf with an expunged record.
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 an expungement, get legal advice from an experienced lawyer.
If you were arrested but not convicted, you may be able to set aside the record if you had no other arrests within the last three years, no criminal convictions in the last 10 years (except for traffic infractions), and you currently have no pending charges.
If the criminal charges were dismissed, there is no waiting period if you meet the above criteria. In cases where there was only an arrest but the District Attorney did not charge you due to a pending investigation, you must wait one year to expunge your arrest record, to give the police time to complete their investigation.
If you were convicted of an expungeable offense, you must have no other charges pending at the time you file your motion to expunge and at least three years must have passed since the date of your conviction, depending on the offense. If you meet these criteria, the next step is to confirm that you have had no other conviction within the last 10 years and that you have not been arrested within the last three years. If you were, you can only expunge that arrest and not your conviction.
If you have had no other convictions within the last 10 years and no arrests within the last three years, you meet the time requirement. An experienced expungement attorney can clarify any confusion in this area.
Expunging a Record in Oregon vs. Setting It Aside
When it comes to clearing your criminal record in Oregon, you might have heard two terms: expunging a record and setting it aside. These terms can be a bit confusing because they seem like they’re talking about the same thing. However, there are some key differences between them, especially in how they’re used in the state legal system.
Setting It Aside
In Oregon, when we talk about removing an adult conviction from someone’s record, we use the term “setting it aside.” This means that if you’ve been convicted of a crime as an adult, and you want to clear that from your record, you would go through a process called “setting it aside.” When you’re ready to do this, you fill out a form called a “Motion to Set Aside” and submit it to the court. This process asks the court to treat your conviction as if it never happened, essentially giving you a clean slate.
Expunging a Record
The term “expungement” or “expunction” is more commonly used in many places and generally refers to the process of erasing a criminal conviction or arrest from someone’s record. In Oregon, this term is specifically used when talking about juvenile records. If someone has a juvenile adjudication (a conviction when they were under 18) that they want removed, they go through a process called expungement.
Because the term “setting aside” is not as universal, many adults seeking to clear their criminal record still use the word “expunge.” However, understanding the difference between these terms is important because it affects the kind of paperwork you’ll need to file and the process you’ll go through:
- For adults looking to clear their record, “setting aside” is the term and process that applies to them.
- For those who were convicted as juveniles and want to clear their record, “expungement” is the relevant term and process.
Both processes aim to achieve a similar outcome: to remove the burden of a criminal record. Whether it’s setting aside an adult conviction or expunging a juvenile record, the goal is to provide a second chance to those who have demonstrated they’ve moved past their old ways.
Timeline for Felony Expungement and Misdemeanor Expungement
How long you need to wait to start the expungement application process depends on the offense involved and whether charges were laid. 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 or Contempt Charge: Three-year waiting period and no other convictions for three years
- Class B or C Misdemeanor Conviction: One year waiting period and no other convictions for one year
Setting Aside Multiple Convictions
It’s not uncommon for individuals to find themselves facing multiple charges once they’re in the legal system. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and it can make the challenge of moving on with life seem daunting. Having multiple convictions on your record can significantly impact your ability to find employment, secure housing, and more.
The good news is that there’s no cap on the number of convictions you can set aside, provided each one meets the eligibility criteria. For those looking to clear multiple convictions, the process involves submitting a motion to set aside for each eligible conviction. This might sound overwhelming, but it’s a pathway to clearing your name. It’s about taking each conviction as a separate case and addressing it accordingly.
At Harris Velázquez Gibbens, PC, we have successfully set aside several convictions for individuals. This experience means we understand the process well and can navigate it effectively for our clients. We aim to help you clear your record and enjoy the benefits of a clean slate.
Am I Able to Have My Crimes Expunged?
Many crimes are eligible for an 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 crimes, however, can’t be expunged in Oregon, no matter how much time has passed. They are as follows:
- Traffic offenses
- Sex offenses with a registration requirement
- Criminal mistreatment in the first-degree
- Criminal mistreatment in the second degree if the victim was aged 65 or older
- Endangering the welfare of a minor (if child abuse was involved)
- Class A felonies and Class B felonies if firearms were involved or the crimes were against a person (exceptions apply: see below)
A person convicted of a Class B felony meeting the above criteria may be able to have their conviction expunged if at least 20 years have passed since the date they were convicted or released from prison (whichever is later) and they have not been arrested or convicted of any other offense, except for motor vehicle violations.
Why Can’t You Expunge a DUII?
In Oregon, DUIIs stay on your criminal history forever. This is because driving under the influence of intoxicants is a ‘counting offense,’ meaning that each successive conviction has a more severe penalty. Therefore, past DUII convictions must stay on your record, even if it was a first offense and you completed a diversion program.
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, 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. 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 more crimes 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
You cannot expunge a conviction for major felonies like certain violent or sex crimes. If you have a juvenile record, speak to a Hillsboro expungement lawyer about the steps you need to take for your legal matter.
Can I Apply Again if My Motion is Denied?
If you’ve tried to clear your criminal record in Oregon and your motion was denied, you might wonder if that’s the end of the road. The good news is that it’s not. According to the Oregon Court of Appeals, there’s no limit to how many times you can apply for an expungement, nor is there a limit to how many times you can request to have the same arrest or conviction set aside. This means if your first attempt didn’t go as planned, you have the option to try again.
Oregon law is designed to allow for this flexibility. As stated in the case of State v. Stanford, second or subsequent motions to set aside a conviction are not automatically rejected. Instead, the judge must consider a new set of facts each time a defendant makes such a motion. This means if you’ve continued to improve your life or if additional time has passed without new legal issues, these changes can influence the court’s decision in your favor during a new application.
If your initial motion to clear your record was denied, take this as an opportunity to assess what factors might have influenced the court’s decision. Look for ways to address these issues, whether it’s through community service, further distancing yourself from past behaviors or other positive life changes. Then, when you feel you’ve made significant strides, you can apply again with a stronger case.
How an Expungement Lawyer Can Help
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 of support for the motion
- Serve a copy on the court
- Verify your identity by sending your fingerprints to the Oregon State Police
A hearing will be scheduled around 90 days from the date we file your motion, and the DA’s office has up to 90 days to respond once it has been served. If the DA does not object, an order will be sent to a judge for signing, the hearing 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 record 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.