The terms expungement and set aside are often used interchangeably. Expungement is the more commonly known term, but in Oregon the process of getting an adult conviction off your record is called setting it aside. The paperwork filed with the court is called a Motion to Set Aside. However, when a juvenile adjudication in Oregon is taken off a record, it is expunged. The paperwork filed with the juvenile court is called a Motion to Expunge.

There are narrow circumstances under which a judge can unseal an adult conviction that has been set aside. “Expungement” is a misnomer because an order pursuant to ORS 137.225 does not rewrite history and deny the occurrence of an event. It limits the purposes for which official records may be used to exhume the past event. While history is not undone, a set aside does generally allow the person to deny having been arrested or convicted, even under oath. On the other hand, a juvenile adjudication that is expunged can never be unsealed or exhumed.

While the two terms are similar and often used interchangeably, they are not the same.