1. Set Aside (Expungement) Clears Criminal Records
When a criminal arrest or conviction is expunged, all official records of the incident, including police records are sealed, and you can legally deny the arrest or conviction over occurred. In extremely limited circumstances, a judge can opt to reopen an expunged record, but this is an extremely rare occurrence. If all criminal offenses are expunged, a person no longer has a criminal record, and is no longer considered a felon.
2. Set Aside (Expungement) Is Not the Only Option for Rights Restoration
If a conviction is found to not be eligible for expungement, a felony record may still be eligible to be reduced to a misdemeanor, allowing firearm rights to be restored.
Judges in Oregon typically have the latitude to reduce most lower level or Class C felonies, and some Class B felonies to misdemeanors through a process called felony reduction. Felony reduction requires being able to demonstrate to a judge that a person has been rehabilitated to such a degree that justice is no longer served by the felony conviction on record. Compliance with probation and a stable life free of criminal incident is the most expedient way to prove this commitment to rehabilitation.
Firearm Rights Restoration
The procedure to restore firearm rights is completely separate from expungement. Rights restoration is a legal process wherein an applicant must prove their rehabilitation to a judge using clear and convincing evidence. Firearm rights restoration may be a viable option for people who are unable to expunge or reduce their felony record, but are still capable of conclusively demonstrating an established track record of compliance and legal responsibility.
- 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.
This Information is not Legal Advice
The information provided here is not intended to be a substitute for one’s own legal research or the advice of a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Laws and the interpretation of those laws are subject to change at any time, so what was applicable one day may be completely different the next. Legally, each individual case is different and a legal strategy used for one defendant may not be the best course of action for another. Contact an experienced rights restoration lawyer to discuss and understand your particular legal situation.