You can set aside (i.e. expunge) your criminal conviction in Oregon by filing a written motion in the court in which you were convicted.
You have to provide a copy of your motion to the county prosecuting attorney's office and local enforcement agency, which has the opportunity to object.
ORS 137.225 is the statute that describes the expungement process in Oregon.
What is the difference between the terms Expungement and “Set Aside?
The terms are used interchangeably but—legally speaking—they are different.
Technically, when you want to remove an adult criminal conviction, you are filing a “Motion to Set Aside” your conviction—not a “Motion to Expunge” your conviction.
Even more confusing, juvenile and adult crimes are treated differently. For a juvenile case, you actually will file a motion to expunge your juvenile conviction, and therefore file a “Motion to Expunge.”
The term expungement is the commonly used term for both “set aside” and “expungement” motions.
Can I expunge my criminal conviction?
Generally speaking, you can expunge the following criminal convictions after three (3) years:
- Almost all misdemeanor convictions
- Most Class C felony convictions
- Some Class B felony convictions
Generally speaking, you cannotexpunge the following convictions:
- Class A felony convictions
- Class B felony convictions that are less than 20 years old
- Sex offenses and crimes involving child abuse
- DUI and certain other traffic crimes
What court do I file my motion?
You must file a motion to expunge your conviction in the court in which you are convicted.
For example, if you were convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in Lane County, you would return to Lane County Circuit Court to file your motion.
How much does it cost to expunge my conviction?
The total costs to expunge a criminal conviction are about $365. Here's how the costs break down:
The court filing fee is $265. Also, as part of the application process, you have to pay an $80 background check fee the Oregon Department of State Police. Finally, the Oregon State Police require an original set of fingerprints, which costs $15-20.
I don't live in Oregon anymore. Can I still expunge my Oregon conviction?
There is no in-state residency requirement under ORS 137.225. The only requirements are that you wait long enough after your conviction and that you file your motion in “the court where the conviction was entered.”
It doesn't matter whether you now live in Washington or Alaska or California or even outside the United States. If you were convicted of a crime in Oregon, you can expunge your conviction in Oregon.
This is unlike filing a motion to restore your firearm rights. For these motions, you mustbe a current resident of Oregon.
How does the expungement process work?
First, you have to prepare a motion to set aside your criminal conviction and an affidavit under penalty of perjury verifying that you meet all the statutory eligibility requirements under ORS 137.225. Although not required, you should also try to get a copy of the police report from your case, because this speeds up the process.
Next, you have to file your motion and supporting documents in the correct Oregon circuit court. At the same time, you have to serve all your documents (including a set of fingerprints) to the district attorney's office and the Oregon State Police. Law enforcement needs your fingerprints to ensure that court will be considering the correct record (i.e. your record) and not someone's else record.
Upon receiving your motion, the prosecutor's office will conduct a nation-wide background check through the Oregon State Police. Then, the prosecutors will make an official recommendation to the court—either yes or no.
If prosecutors agree to your motion, the court will likely grant your motion and expunge your conviction—all without a hearing.
However, if prosecutors object, the court will hold a hearing and hear arguments from both parties.
Before the hearing takes place, you will have the opportunity to file additional written documents, as will the prosecutors. If your crime involved a victim, the victim has the opportunity to make a statement at the hearing.
If the Court grants your motion for expungement, the clerk's office will send a certified copy of the order to the Oregon Department of State Police, which will update its computerized criminal history database.
Will I have to go to Court?
That depends on whether the district attorney's office is objecting to your motion.
If no, maybe not. If yes, then you will have to come to court and argue why expungement is necessary.
How long does the expungement process take?
Typically the expungement process takes about 3 to 6 months, but some counties do take longer.
Can I expunge multiple convictions at the same time?
There is no limit as to how many criminal convictions you can seek to expunge at any one time, assuming that you are eligible to expunge each case.
Furthermore, there is no limit as to how many times you can file a motion to expunge the same criminal conviction.
Will the Court expunge my conviction?
The trial judge has the discretion to expunge your criminal record. In other words, the court can say yes or no. Judges look at each case individually because no two cases—and no two people—are the same.
In legal terms, under ORS 13.225, the court mustexpunge your criminal conviction or criminal arrest but only ifthe court things it's right after reviewing your behavior between the date of the offense (or alleged offense) and the date of your conviction (or the date your case was dismissed).
Whether the court exercises its discretion in your favor depends on several factors. These include:
- Your personal circumstances
- Your criminal record since the offense
- Letters of recommendations from friends or family
- Whether the prosecutor's office is objecting to your motion
What happens when my criminal record is expunged?
Expungement removes a conviction from your court record. Furthermore, all official records of the incident are sealed, including your court records and arrest records. This means your criminal conviction or your arrest will show up on an FBI or Oregon State Police background check.
This also means that you can legally deny that you were convicted of this crime or that you were even arrested for this offense. You can now legally state on a job application, a rental application, or in a security clearance application that you were never arrested or convicted of a crime.
Once your conviction is expunged, your constitutional rights are restored. You get the following rights back:
- The right to serve on a jury
- The right to vote
- The right to possess firearms
- The right to run for public office