Oregon's Expungement Law (ORS 137.225) has provided an excellent vehicle for people to clear up their record. Officially known as a Motion to Set Aside, this statute has enabled people to get a fresh start. Now, for the first time, it will be possible to expunge certain sex offenses.
In general, in order to qualify for expungement, a person must have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a class C felony. Some class B felonies now qualify. Historically, two categories of offenses did not qualify for expungement in Oregon. These categories were traffic crimes (e.g., DUII, Hit & Run, Reckless Driving, and Attempt to Elude a Police Officer) and sex offenses (e.g., Rape, Sodomy or Sexual Abuse in any degree). Additionally, the person applying for expungement must have fully complied with all the requirements of the conviction and sentence, and must not have any other conviction (other than traffic infractions) within the 10 years immediately preceding the filing of the expungement motion. Expungement of a conviction requires the filing of a motion, sworn affidavit or declaration, fingerprints, a filing fee in the amount of $240, and a background check fee in the amount of $80. If the prosecutor opposes the expungement motion, the court will conduct a hearing.
As a result of a bill newly passed by Oregon's Legislature, certain individuals will now qualify to expunge sex crimes. Instead of being categorically disqualified, there is now a limited basis to expunge such convictions. The sex crimes that will now qualify for expungement include misdemeanor sex crimes, such as Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree and Contributing to the Sexual Delinquency of a Minor. There is also the possibility for certain class C felony sex crimes, such as Rape in the Third Degree (commonly known as "statutory rape"), to qualify for expungement. In order for a class C felony sex crime to qualify for expungement, in addition to satisfying all the other requirements of Oregon's expungement law, the applicant must have applied for, and been granted, relief from sex offender registration.
During the 2009 session of the Oregon Legislature, the sex offender registration law was amended in a way to exempt certain persons who were previously required to register. During the 2011 session of the Oregon Legislature, the expungement law was amended to expand the types of class B felonies that qualified for expungement. It is too soon to say whether the latest amendment to Oregon's Expungement Law is part of an overall movement to lessen the harshness of our criminal laws. In any event, the latest reform is a welcome effort to make expungement possible for people who previously did not qualify.
Our office assists clients with expungements all the time. Please contact us for a free and confidential consultation. We strive to keep our fees reasonable and accessible to ordinary people. It gives us great pleasure to help our clients get a fresh start in life.