Five Things to Know About Rights Restoration in Oregon


1. 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 the complete restoration of rights that comes with expungement, you will no longer have a criminal record, no longer be a felon, and no longer suffer the consequences of having a record.

Read actual cases and results for Lohrke Law clients.

2. Expungement is not the only option for Rights Restoration

If you are not eligible for expungement, but you are a responsible citizen, felony records can often be reduced or firearm rights can be restored.

A judge in Oregon can lower most Class C felonies (lower level) 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. Timelines for expungement have been updated and are much better than they were until 2022. You can see the timelines here.


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. 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.