Juveniles who are adjudicated for sex offenses in the state of Oregon are minors under the age of 18 that have committed a sexual offense, usually against another minor. Before August 2015, many juveniles adjudicated for sex offenses were placed on the sex offender registry for life. Juveniles are still being placed on the sex offender registry if a judge does not agree they proved by clear and convincing evidence they completed treatment and are rehabilitated.
Being a registered sex offender negatively impacts your life for as long as you’re on the list. Your juvenile delinquency case becomes more visible and might be seen by potential employers, landlords, and peers. If you fail to register, you will face felony charges. Research shows that registration leads to negative outcomes and derails your life time and again.
However, with the help of the experienced lawyers at Lohrke Law, you can file a petition for relief from sex offender registration in Oregon. We are experienced in relief from registration, felony reduction, and record expungement. If you are registering because of an Oregon juvenile offense and can prove you are not a risk to the public, you should consider requesting relief.
Should I use a lawyer to petition for registry relief?
Registration in Oregon is for life unless you are granted relief. With a successful petition, the birthday visits to the State Police are over. Our clients go on to live the lives they want. We are experienced at petitioning not only for relief, but also for alternative adjudication.
Appointed attorneys might be available to you as well if you request one from the court and show financial need. Do not go this process without an attorney.
What is the process for relief from sex offender registration in Oregon?
The petition process is so complicated that the law actually discusses your right to be represented by an experienced and competent attorney. An experienced registration relief attorney will understand the polygraph and treatment process you went through and be able to put your treatment in context with the law-abiding life you live today. Lohrke Law takes this work seriously and ensures your best case is put forward.
Step 1: Qualifying Juvenile Sex Offenders
The first step towards petitioning for sex offender registration relief in Oregon is making sure you are applying within the correct time frame.
If you were convicted of a Class A or B felony…
At least two years have to have passed since you were released from the Juvenile Court’s Jurisdiction, Oregon Youth Authority’s (OYA) supervision, or the Psychiatric Security Review Board’s (PSRB) jurisdiction.
Class A felony sex crimes include:
- First-Degree Rape
- First-Degree Sodomy
- First-Degree Unlawful Sexual Penetration
Class B felony sex crimes include:
- Second-Degree Rape
- Second-Degree Sodomy
- Second-Degree Unlawful Sexual Penetration
- First-Degree Sexual Abuse
- First-Degree Online Sexual Corruption of a Child
If you’ve been convicted of a Class C felony…
You can apply for relief 30 days after being released from the Court, OYA, or PSRB jurisdiction or supervision. Class C felony juvenile sex crimes include:
- Third-degree rape
- Third-degree sodomy
- Second-degree sexual abuse
Step 2: Gather Records
Unfortunately, your old records will be before the court once again. Every polygraph and treatment note is on display. But do not let this intimidate you. What matters most is not what you did as a teenager. It is how you have lived your life since. The research shows that juvenile sex offenders are at a very low risk to reoffend. Based on that research, Oregon laws changed and relief petitions are treated more favorably than they were a decade ago. It is still a high burden, but relief can be obtained. In preparation for filing a petition gather as much information as you can, including:
- Character Letters and witnesses
- Court records and reports
- Psychological evaluations
- Police reports
- Treatment and Supervision records
The court and district attorney will have many of these records. You will need them as well so you can prepare and ensure the records are accurate and complete.
Proof of completion of treatment is an important component of the petition. Completion is not absolutely necessary, but the law requires the judge give it strong consideration. It is important to find records that show treatment completion, even if, at the time, performance was lackluster. If you did not complete treatment, consider getting an updated evaluation. This is intimidating and you should talk to an attorney before doing it. It is important to use a psychological provider with the right training and experience.
Step 3: Completing the Petition
The petition should be in pleading format and include the information needed by the court to rule in your favor. It should request a hearing and must be served on the district attorney and generally filed in the county in which you were adjudicated. You should ask for alternative adjudication. Alternative adjudication is the process where a judge changes the name of the offense for which a person was adjudicated. For example, sex abuse could become harassment, a non sex offense. If the judge changes the adjudication to a non sex crime, you automatically no longer have to register.
The petition must be served on the district attorney and properly filed with the juvenile court. Depending on the statute used, there might be a filing fee. However, the petition can be filed into the old juvenile case because you are asking to make a change to that case. Think of a juvenile case as never really closing. That means a judge can always modify almost any aspect of it, including the order to register and the name of the crime for which you were adjudicated.
Step 4: Hearing with the Court
After your petition is filed, the District Attorney will review your case and take a position. The DA can object to or support any portion of your request. For example, if you request alternative adjudication and relief from registration, the DA might oppose the former but not the latter.
Hopefully, the District Attorney will support the petition, but it does not matter if they do not. It is a decision for the court and the hearing is where the court will get the evidence. The hearing can be emotionally trying. It will rehash what were likely some of the worst years of your life as safety plans and polygraph results come up all over again.
The victim also has the right to be heard at the hearing and to state their recommendation regarding the request.
It is important the court understand the strength of the research regarding the low recidivism, or re-offense, rates for juveniles adjudicated for sexual offenses. If there are no new sex offenses, the judge needs to understand that the data shows you are exceptionally unlikely to reoffend. Continued registration serves no useful purpose and causes you significant harm.
In order to obtain relief, you must prove by clear and convincing evidence you are rehabilitated and do not pose a danger to the public. When considering whether you made your case, the judge will consider a list of factors. These factors include consideration of details about the crime, probation, and treatment. But they also include employment, education, psychological reports, and any other relevant evidence.
Adult criminal convictions that occurred after the juvenile case are relevant, but don’t put too much weight on them. The question is whether you are likely to reoffend sexually. A failure to register or other conviction needs to be addressed, but it does not mean you can’t get relief.
Obviously, hearing preparation is important. You should undertake the journey with an experienced attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, appointed counsel is available if you make a request to the court and show financial need.
At the hearing, you will have to choose whether or not to testify. There are times where either decision is appropriate. In general, the judge is going to want to hear from you, whether the statements are considered testimony or not. Talking to the judge is an opportunity. You can explain how the offense impacted you and the victim, tell why you are not a threat to the public and how relief from registration will be a positive event in your life.
You might choose to call witnesses. Good witnesses include friends and family who can testify as to the life you lead today. Some witnesses might be able to recall your life before, during, and after the juvenile case. The goal is to show how much different you are today and how unlikely you are to reoffend.
Approval or Denial
The judge will review the records, hear testimony, and consider the lawyers’ arguments. A successful petition will result in a judgment that should be provided to the Oregon State Police. You will be removed from the registry. Be sure to ask for and keep a copy of the signed judgment granting relief so you can provide it if needed.
If your petition is not successful you can politely ask the judge to explain why. This information can be used to prepare for the next petition for relief. If a petition was denied in the past, you can go back to court and ask again. The change in circumstances that you need to be successful the next time might just be more time with no sex offenses.
Working With an Attorney is the Best Plan for Registration Relief
Petitioning for relief from sex offender registration in Oregon is a highly complicated process, and you need an experienced sex offender registration relief attorney by your side. Lohrke Law can help you meet every detail of the petition and hearing to ensure your best chance at getting relief. You can also ask the court to appoint an attorney if you cannot afford one.
Don’t make the mistake of undertaking this process alone. Contact the experienced Oregon sex offender registry relief lawyers at Lohrke Law today and start the process of changing your life.