If you have an old conviction or arrest on your record, it may be possible to set it aside or expunge it. In order to set aside a conviction, there are two major considerations: the amount of time since the conviction and the type of conviction.
Three years must pass before a conviction can be expunged. When you file for a set aside, there can be no pending charges and there can be no other convictions in the past ten years. If you have many old convictions, there’s good news! Multiple convictions can be expunged at the same time if they are eligible!
The type of conviction also matters. Convictions such as a DUII, a traffic offense, or a Class A Felony cannot be expunged. On the other hand, misdemeanors, Class C Felonies, and many old drug charges may be eligible. Beginning January 1, 2016 many drug convictions in Oregon will be expungable due to the recent changes in Oregon’s drug laws. Almost all marijuana convictions are eligible unless the offense occurred within 1000 feet of a school.
The process takes a few months. Setting aside a conviction requires you to provide fingerprints, pay $80 for a background check, and pay a $252 filing fee. Depending upon your income, the filing fee may be waivable. In some counties and in some circumstances, you may need to attend a hearing.
When a conviction is set aside, the arrest for that conviction is also set aside. If you were arrested and the case was dismissed (no conviction), then there is a 1 year waiting period to set aside and there is no fee.
Is setting aside a conviction a perfect way to clean your record? No. The state will remove the conviction but many websites maintain old, searchable databases. You can legally state that you do not have an expunged offense but employers and landlords may still find it on these 3rd party websites.
To get started, you can check the website for the county in which you had a conviction for the paperwork to file an expungement and request a waiver of the filing fee. There are several legal clinics each year which offer free assistance in starting a set aside process. Hiring an attorney allows you to have assistance determining whether a complicated criminal history has expungable convictions. Your attorney can also take care of all the paperwork for you and make the process much easier. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org if this is something our firm can help you with.