Changes to Oregon Expungement Law Eligibility

Oregon expungement law has seen some dramatic changes in the past few years. Senate Bill 397 took effect January 1, 2022. It reduces most set aside timelines and has a profound effect on overall eligibility. Previously having multiple convictions, even if they were from the same case, resulted in a requirement to wait for 10 years.

Now, however, expungement of eligible Class B felony convictions is possible after just seven years, with even shorter required periods for lower-level crimes, even when there are multiple convictions at issue. Here are the most important changes to Oregon expungement law:

  • Cost Reduction of at least $281 per case by elimination of court 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, Contempt of Court, and violations 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 are now eligible for expungement. These convictions are now eligible seven years after an individual’s last conviction. These offenses include Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance and Aggravated Identity Theft. Before Senate Bill 397 took effect, these convictions could not be set aside until twenty years had elapsed, and even then, only if there had been no other arrest or conviction in that time. 

What These Changes Mean

The change in law is a common sense overhaul 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 or other hard drugs to minors. In general, those convictions are Class A felonies and they are never eligible for expungement under current law. There are other ineligible crimes as well, including convictions for child abuse and elder abuse, most sex crimes, and driving crimes.

We have talked to many people over the years who could not set aside a conviction, who are now eligible. If you were told in the past that your convictions were not eligible for expungement it is worth checking again.

It is common that a person had several cases that qualified for expungement under the old law, but they were stuck with one or more convictions for manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance that could not be removed from their record.

Frequently, the offense involved a small transaction with a friend or possession of user quantities. Even with everything else cleaned up, the remaining Class B felony drug conviction often led to discrimination in many walks of life. 

How Can A Felony Impact You?

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. A felony conviction even impacts your ability to sit on a jury. However, background checks are run in many other settings, including:

  • Employment
  • Bank loans
  • Mortgages
  • Housing
  • Volunteer screening

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.

What felonies can be expunged in Oregon?

In Oregon, certain felonies can be expunged (set aside) under specific conditions. Generally, non-violent felonies, property crimes, and some drug offenses may qualify for expungement.

Felonies involving violence, sexual offenses, and certain serious crimes might not not eligible for expungement. The eligibility criteria also depends on the time that has passed since the conviction, completion of the sentence, and whether the individual has had any subsequent convictions.

Consulting with an attorney who specializes in expungement can help determine if your felony qualifies for expungement.

Can a Class B felony be expunged?

Yes, in some cases, a Class B felony can be expunged in Oregon. The eligibility for expunging a Class B felony depends on various factors, including the nature of the felony, the amount of time that has passed since the conviction, and the individual's criminal record since the conviction.

In general, non-person B felonies can be set aside after seven years. Not all Class B felonies are eligible, so it's important to review your specific case with a legal professional to understand your options and the likelihood of success.

How long does a felony stay on your record in Oregon?

In Oregon, a felony conviction generally stays on your record permanently unless it is expunged or set aside. The process for expungement requires meeting specific eligibility criteria, including a waiting period after the completion of your sentence and remaining conviction-free during that time.

For many felonies, the waiting period is typically five years, but it can vary depending on the type of felony and individual circumstances. Seeking legal advice can provide a clearer understanding of your specific situation and the steps needed to expunge your record.

Lohrke Law Is Here to Help

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 Oregon expungement law might now allow your case to be set aside and sealed.