1. Set Aside (Expungement) clears criminal records
Expungement in Oregon is a complete restoration of your rights. Records of the arrest and conviction, including police records, are destroyed and you are allowed to deny the arrest and conviction ever occurred. Only in very limited circumstances can a court reopen a sealed file. If all of your convictions are eligible for expungement, you will no longer have a criminal record and no longer be a felon.
2. Set Aside (Expungement) is not the only option for Rights Restoration
If you are not eligible to set aside your convictions, felony records can often still be reduced to misdemeanors, or firearm rights can be restored.
A judge in Oregon can lower most Class C felonies (lower level) and some Class B felonies to misdemeanors. The process is called felony reduction. Felony reduction is most successful when a person can demonstrate to the judge that their life has changed such that justice is no longer served by the felony conviction. This usually happens by showing compliance with probation and a stable, crime-free life.
A process separate from expungement and reduction is firearm rights restoration. It is a legal process that requires an applicant to prove his case to a judge by clear and convincing evidence. Firearm rights restoration is an option for people who cannot expunge or reduce a felony record, and who can show an established track record of stability and responsibility.
3. Qualification for expungement is a legal question. Qualification for Reduction and Firearms Rights Restoration is decided by a judge.
An experienced attorney is necessary to fully understand eligibility for expungement, reduction, and rights restoration. However, here is a general guide:
Whether a person is eligible for expungement depends on the crime and the time since the conviction. Driving crimes cannot be expunged. Sex crimes can sometimes be expunged but have a separate and complicated analysis that won’t be discussed here. Other class C felonies, misdemeanors, and violations are generally eligible for expungement. If there is a single conviction, expungement can be applied for after three years. If there are two or more convictions, a person is generally eligible after ten years. Marijuana crimes can generally be expunged, no matter what the level of felony, so long as the requisite time has passed. Class A felonies that are not marijuana or racketeering related can never be set aside. Class B felonies that are related to drug possession are generally eligible for expungement. Other Class B felonies generally require a twenty-year waiting period with a perfect record during the wait. Only Oregon crimes qualify under Oregon’s expungement laws.
Oregon Revised Statute (ORS 137.225) is the relevant law to review for expungement.
Most Class C felonies, including driving crimes, can be reduced to misdemeanors. There is no time limit to become eligible, but the applicant must have successfully completed probation and be able to show that it is unduly harsh for the crime to still be labeled a felony. Only Oregon crimes can be reduced.
Oregon Revised Statute (ORS 161.705) is the relevant law for felony reduction.
Firearms Rights Restoration:
An applicant must show a judge by clear and convincing evidence that they are not a danger to themselves or others. Eligibility starts a year after probation or parole ends.
Oregon Revised Statute (ORS 166.274) is the relevant law for firearms rights restoration.
4. Expungement and Rights Restoration are affordable.
The court filing fee for each expungement case is $265. The total fee paid to the Oregon State Police is $100.
The Lohrke Law fees are $625 if no hearing is required and an additional $300 to $500 if a hearing is required before a judge. The all-inclusive cost for an expungement is $990 to $1,490.
If multiple expungements are necessary, the court fees apply to each one. However, the Lohrke Law fee for each subsequent expungement is reduced with the goal of making the whole process as affordable as possible.
Felony Reduction to Misdemeanor:
There are no court fees associated with a felony reduction. However, reductions are more likely to require a hearing. The total cost for Reduction is $650 is no hearing before a judge is required, and $500 more if a hearing is required. Firearm Rights Restoration:
The court filing fee for rights restoration is $265. The Oregon State Police fees total $22. The Lohrke Law legal fee is $1,450, with up to an additional $500 if a hearing is required. The total cost is $1,727 to $2,227.
5. The total time required is generally from three to seven months.
Expungement requires a nationwide background check that takes several months. An expungement will usually take seven months for the courts, the Oregon State Police, and the lawyers to complete. Felony Reduction to Misdemeanor:
Reduction will usually take two to three months. Firearm Rights Restoration:
Firearm Rights Restoration will usually take two to three months.