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Can I Get My Record Expunged? Part 4

Can I Get My Record Expunged? Part 4

This is the final part of the four-part article on Oregon expungement basics, or a guide to getting your record expunged in Oregon.

For the reader’s convenience, answering the question, “Can I get my record expunged in Oregon?” is, broadly speaking, a four-part process or inquiry:

  1. Arrest vs. Conviction — Are you seeking to get an arrest or conviction record expunged, or both?
  2. Eligible vs. Ineligible Crimes — Can you get the arrest or conviction record expunged? (The legislature has forbidden many crimes from being expunged and allowed others).
  3. When or Timing — If you can get your record expunged, when can you actually apply for expungement?
  4. Success — How likely is it that the judge will grant my particular “petition” to get your record expunged?

Statistically speaking, expungements are very often granted; so your odds, all things being equal, that the judge will grant your expungement are quite good.

 

How long does it take from filing to having your expungement granted? Depending on the county, and in the great majority of cases, it takes from a few weeks to two or three months.

If the DA or the Judge Forces a Hearing

Oregon’s Expungement Law seeks to encourage and reward rehabilitated individuals while safeguarding the public from still-dangerous, unreformed persons. So the prosecutor, acting as an advocate for the public at large and Oregon State, has the right to contest or oppose the expungement motion and require a hearing. The judge can move to require a hearing, as well, but a judge forcing an expungement is relatively rare.

The hearing is essentially a mini-trial of your character. Hence, the statutory factors under ORS 137.225 that the judge can consider are very broad, so both sides have a good deal of leeway in the evidence they can offer to show rehabilitation or lack thereof. That said, there are serious limits to what can lawfully be considered and what cannot. For the vast majority of people, this means that representing yourself is a losing proposition.

There are several reasons for this: (1) It is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. The prosecution has a great deal more resources, expertise, and experience.(2) And then, there’s the old adage an advocate who represents himself or herself has a fool for a client, you know. There’s a fundamental disadvantage, however, in being one’s own champion and trying to justify yourself. Human nature seems predisposed against the self-represented. Having an advocate is much more effective.

How long does it take from filing to having your expungement granted? Depending on the county, and in the great majority of cases, it takes from a few weeks to two or three months.

There are several other things to keep in mind about such a hearing.

  1. Role of Victims — The victim is entitled to testify if she or he wishes to. This can cut either way, and favor the defendant or the state. For in-depth treatment of the impact a victim or victims can have on your or a loved one’s expungement case, see the firm’s article here, Why Victim Notification Matters in Oregon Expungement Cases.
  2. Burden of Proof is on You, not the Prosecution — If it is a close call, the defendant has the burden of proof, and will lose a close case.

These cases are often close because it’s difficult to know whether a person is, broadly speaking, rehabilitated. And many judges will be inclined to err on the side of caution and public safety—to deny expungement if the judge has some doubts.1)Although “rehabilitation” is not the formal standard by statute. Many judges nevertheless are influenced by this commonsense, overall standard of whether the person is a worthy expungement candidate, i.e., rehabilitated. The formal standard is, however, as follows: “if the court determines that the circumstances and behavior of the applicant from the date of conviction, or from the date of arrest as the case may be, to the date of the hearing on the motion warrant setting aside the conviction, or the arrest record as the case may be, the court shall enter an appropriate order that shall state the original arrest charge and the conviction charge, if any and if different from the original, date of charge, submitting agency and disposition.” ORS 137.225(3).

Carpe diem. Take action today to better yourself or a loved one’s situation. Contact us today to tell us about your case and for a consult with Oregon Expungement and civil rights attorney Timothy D. LaBadie.

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

Essent Law llc offers offers Oregon expungement attorney services in every Oregon county, including Marion, Deschutes, Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Lane, and other counties, including the cities of Portland, Salem, Bend, and Eugene and surrounding areas.

Last updated: 7/4/2015 by Oregon expungement and civil rights attorney Timothy D. LaBadie

Skyscrapers in Portland Oregon

 


 

References   [ + ]

1. Although “rehabilitation” is not the formal standard by statute. Many judges nevertheless are influenced by this commonsense, overall standard of whether the person is a worthy expungement candidate, i.e., rehabilitated. The formal standard is, however, as follows: “if the court determines that the circumstances and behavior of the applicant from the date of conviction, or from the date of arrest as the case may be, to the date of the hearing on the motion warrant setting aside the conviction, or the arrest record as the case may be, the court shall enter an appropriate order that shall state the original arrest charge and the conviction charge, if any and if different from the original, date of charge, submitting agency and disposition.” ORS 137.225(3).

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