Oregon Expungement law is in for big changes. Senate Bill 397 takes effect January 1, 2022. It reduces most set aside timelines and has a profound effect on non-person Class B felonies. Expungement of eligible Class B felony convictions is now possible after seven years.
- Cost Reduction of at least $281 per case by elimination of filing fees.
- Non-person Class B Felonies are eligible to be set aside after seven years with no convictions.
- Class C Felonies are eligible to be set aside after five years with no convictions.
- Class A Misdemeanors are eligible to be set aside after three years with no convictions.
- Class B and C Misdemeanors are eligible to be set aside after one year with no convictions.
Many Class B Felony Convictions can now be Set Aside
Drug offenses are the most significant category of Class B Felony convictions that will be eligible beginning on January 1, 2022. These convictions will be eligible for expungement after seven years. These offenses include Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance. Until this law takes effect, these convictions cannot be set aside until twenty years have elapsed, and then only if there was no subsequent arrest or conviction.
The new law is a common sense change to Oregon Expungement Law, ORS 137.225, to allow most drug offenses to be set aside after a person shows a substantial period of lawful behavior. The new law helps people who got their lives on track and want to move forward without their past mistakes limiting their future potential.
The law does not help people who sell methamphetamine and other hard drugs to minors. In general, those convictions are Class A felonies and they are never eligible for expungement. There are other ineligible crimes as well that include convictions for child abuse and elder abuse, sex crimes, and driving crimes.
We have talked to many people over the years who could not set aside a conviction, that will now be eligible under Senate Bill 397. In most cases, the person had possession of a controlled substance and other cases that we could help remove from their records, but they were stuck with that delivery felony. Most of the time the offense involved a transaction with a friend, if it involved a transaction at all. Even with everything else cleaned up, the remaining Class B felony drug conviction often leads to discrimination in many walks of life.
A felony conviction certainly impacts people in many significant ways. A person could be disqualified from being a paid caretaker for a family member. A relative hoping to help foster a family member in need may be deemed ineligible due to a past conviction. One of the most frequently highlighted effects of a felony conviction is the loss of firearm rights. However, background checks are run in many other settings, including:
- Bank loans
Instant background checks are available to almost anyone these days, thanks to numerous web services offering comprehensive, low-cost reports. Conviction histories can have an effect on a person’s social and personal life as others find out about their record.
It is significant that we can now help people finally get these convictions off their records. If you were told you were ineligible in the past due to a drug delivery or other Class B felony conviction, you need to talk to an expungement lawyer and find out if the changes to ORS 137.225 will allow your case to be set aside.