Recent Changes to Oregon’s Expungement Law Allow More People to Make a Fresh Start
Recent changes to Oregon’s expungement statute (ORS 137.225) expand the list of crimes that can be expunged while shortening the waiting periods for those eligible for expungement. For example, convictions for contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor, rape III, sexual abuse III and sodomy III may be expunged if the person seeking expungement has obtained a court order relieving them of the obligation to report as a sex offender. Convictions for certain Class C felony sex crimes are also eligible based on the relative ages of the perpetrator and victim at the time of the offense.
Under the new law effective January 1, 2016 Class B felony drug possession convictions are now eligible for expungement three years after judgment. This means that those convicted of possessing ecstasy, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD and other Schedule I drugs will no longer have to wait 20 years to have their records sealed.
The new law also gives relief to those convicted of a crime who is later convicted of a minor violation such as nonpayment of TriMet fare. In the past, any such violation would “restart” the eligibility clock from the date of the violation. Now, a person seeking expungement gets one “free ride”, meaning that a single violation will not count as a conviction for the purposes of expungement eligibility.
While most of the recent changes to the law are favorable, there is also some bad news for those who have had their probation revoked. As of January 1, 2016 those individuals must now wait ten years from the date of revocation before they can apply for expungement.
These recent changes to Oregon’s expungement law are overwhelmingly favorable for people seeking to put their past mistakes behind them. However, the various time limits and exceptions built into the law make the expungement process very complicated, so consultation with an attorney is essential to assure that your expungement is handled properly.
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