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7 Juvenile Record Expungement Facts in Oregon

7 Juvenile Record Expungement Facts in Oregon

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1. Your Oregon Juvenile Record is Not Confidential — Your juvenile “conviction” or “arrest”1)“Conviction” and “arrest” are in quotations because legally juveniles are not convicted, but are adjudicated. The idea here is that the juvenile system has very different goals from the adult criminal system, and so these adult criminal-law terms aren’t appropriate. But the usual and more familiar terms will be used throughout this article. and the charges brought against you aren’t confidential.

Your Oregon juvenile rap sheet can be found, and the juvenile court or juvenile department has no legal authority to keep your juvenile record secret. They’ve got to give it up.

Example: When you were 16, you were charged with Assault and some other stuff you’d rather not mention. You went through juvenile probation and eventually completed your probation. If someone later, even years and years later, contacts the court or juvenile department, that person who is nosing around is legally entitled to find out what you were charged with, what you were convicted of, and what your sentence was—probation, restitution, time served, and so forth. Without juvenile record expungement, this is still just public record. There’s nothing private about it at all. It’s on the same level as voting pamphlets and a host of other stuff.

There’s a half-truth to the often-heard notion that Oregon juvenile records are secret: What is confidential, however, in your juvenile record are medical- and social-work-type information, such as psychiatric reports, medical records, etc. But, again, the “criminal-related” part of your file isn’t secret or classified.

2. No Automatic Juvenile Record Expungement — Your juvenile records aren’t automatically expunged in Oregon. A lot of people seem to think they are. They are wrong.

Again, there’s a half-truth in all this to the notion that Oregon juvenile records are automatically expunged and that you don’t have to do anything about your juvenile record: In some cases, the juvenile department or the court can unilaterally (sua sponte) take action to have your juvenile record expunged. See ORS 419A.260(2)(c). But neither the court nor the juvenile department are required take it upon themselves to expunge your juvenile record, even though sometimes this happens. But expungement is certainly not automatically done in every case, especially for more serious records—exactly the juvenile records you’d be most desirous of expunging.

The First Step — What if you don’t know whether your record has been expunged or not? How do you find out, either way? Look through your paperwork to see whether there is an “order” that “sets aside” or “seals” juvenile records under ORS 419A.262. If you don’t have the paperwork handy, call the county juvenile department (e.g., Marion or Multnomah or Lane County Juvenile Dept.) where you had your probation, tell them you’re the (former) juvenile in that case and demand (politely) to know whether your records are expunged or not. You may have to provide proof of identity (driver’s license or I.D. card) or go down there in person, but try calling first. Juvenile departments generally are well-meaning folks that want to see former juvenile “clients” move on with their life successfully, so don’t be shy about calling. Nevertheless, if you still can’t find out or are getting the bureaucratic runaround, contact us at Essent Law or an Oregon juvenile expungement attorney to get things sorted.

That was the bad news. Let’s talk, mainly, good news.

3. Oregon Universities and Colleges Can’t Even Ask about Your Juvenile Record — If your juvenile record is expunged, Oregon universities cannot, cannot, cannot even ask you about your juvenile record.

This “don’t even ask” protection should apply whether you are applying at a community college, for your undergraduate college degree, or a graduate or advanced degree. See ORS 670.290 (Prohibited uses of juvenile records in employment, licensing or admission).

4. Oregon Public Agencies Can’t Ask about You Juvenile Record Either — If your juvenile record is expunged, no state agency of Oregon can ask about your juvenile record. See ORS 670.290, above. This is huge. There are tons of state agencies out there. Their name is legion and they are many.

Ah, did I mention that this is important? Oh, yeah, I did. Nearly every professional career requires a government- or state-issued license: doctors, attorneys, nurses, architects, appraisers, insurance professionals,  dentists, social workers, teachers, therapists. It also affects various other occupations, including: parks and recreation, department of fish and wildlife, child care, health care, foster parent or adopted parent caregivers (which can apply even if you are a relative of the child you are taking in or trying to care for)2)See Oregon Administrative Rule 413-100-0240; 411-346-0150, various law-enforcement positions, and various volunteer or internships involving a public agency.

Public agencies pay attention to your right to have expunged juvenile convictions forgotten and left alone. Their administrative rules bind the agencies, often providing that “under no circumstances” shall the agency inquire about expunged juvenile records, thus reinforcing the “don’t even ask” rule for Oregon juvenile expunged records.

This form of relief—juvenile record expungement—is extremely effective. If you’re eligible to have your juvenile record expunged and are thinking about pursuing a professional career or occupation that requires a state government license or permit, don’t pass up this opportunity.

5. Juveniles Considered Sex Offenders Have to Continue Reporting as Adults — Juveniles that have been convicted of “sex offenses” have to continue to report as adults unless they take affirmative steps to stop the reporting requirement. Some people are considered “sex offenders” in ways that would shock the normal, everyday folks. And for these kind of cases, you can and should expunge such records.

Relief from this constant and onerous reporting requirement is available through ORS 181.823 (Relief from sex offender reporting requirement for juvenile offenders adjudicated in Oregon). More on that relief and why it matters for you in the future.

6. Expunged Juvenile Records Can Be Destroyed, Not Just Sealed — Your juvenile records may be able to be completely destroyed not just marked “confidential” and made secret (“sealed”). ORS 419A.262(23) (Juvenile expungement proceedings).3)“Juvenile courts, by court rule or by order related to a particular matter, may direct that records concerning a subject person be destroyed. No records shall be destroyed until at least three years have elapsed after the date of the subject’s most recent termination. In the event the record has been expunged, the expunction judgment and list of complying and noncomplying agencies may not be destroyed, but shall be preserved under seal. The destruction of records under this subsection does not constitute expunction.”

You need to specifically request that the court destroy and not merely “classify” or seal the juvenile records, though. The judge doesn’t have to do it. You have to convince him or her.

7.  Oregon is Serious About Keeping an Expunged Juvenile Record, well, Expunged: Punitive Damages — If a “person” discloses your expunged juvenile record, then they face penalties and may up owing you a considerable sum of money, and must pay your attorney fees and court costs. ORS 419A.262(25).4)“A subject [person or former juvenile] has a right of action against any person who intentionally violates the confidentiality provisions of this section. In the proceeding, punitive damages up to an amount of $1,000 may be sought in addition to any actual damages. The prevailing party shall be entitled to costs and reasonable attorney fees.” Moreover, public employees, court staff, and juvenile department staff can be fired for disclosing expunged juvenile records. Someone who wrongfully and purposefully discloses expunged juvenile records can be criminally prosecuted for a misdemeanor.

Juvenile Record Expungement in Oregon is a powerful right with powerful benefits. You should avail yourself of these rights and benefits, whether you decide to seek the assistance of a juvenile record expungement attorney or not.

Carpe diem. Take action today to better yourself or a loved one’s situation: Contact Essent Law by phone or email. Don’t hesitate. Essent Law has assisted and counseled many regarding their options, putting past mistakes behind them, and moving forward with their lives, and we performed a range of services for clients that have fit their situations and budgets.

Juvenile Trials Book Cover

Juvenile 0221, pages 10–11” and “Juvenile 0151 Short” by Yale Law Library. licensed under CC BY 2.0. No changes made. The licensor does not necessarily endorse the use or views herein.

 

References   [ + ]

1. “Conviction” and “arrest” are in quotations because legally juveniles are not convicted, but are adjudicated. The idea here is that the juvenile system has very different goals from the adult criminal system, and so these adult criminal-law terms aren’t appropriate. But the usual and more familiar terms will be used throughout this article.
2. See Oregon Administrative Rule 413-100-0240; 411-346-0150
3. “Juvenile courts, by court rule or by order related to a particular matter, may direct that records concerning a subject person be destroyed. No records shall be destroyed until at least three years have elapsed after the date of the subject’s most recent termination. In the event the record has been expunged, the expunction judgment and list of complying and noncomplying agencies may not be destroyed, but shall be preserved under seal. The destruction of records under this subsection does not constitute expunction.”
4. “A subject [person or former juvenile] has a right of action against any person who intentionally violates the confidentiality provisions of this section. In the proceeding, punitive damages up to an amount of $1,000 may be sought in addition to any actual damages. The prevailing party shall be entitled to costs and reasonable attorney fees.”

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