Sealing the court and police records of a conviction and arrest can help with employment opportunities, voting rights, and may limit the effect of any future police contact. Expungement is a process by which some criminal records of arrest and the fact of a conviction may be set aside, sealed, and deemed never to have happened.
1. Is your conviction or your arrest eligible for expungement.
The expungement law is outlined in ORS 137.225. Not all crimes are eligible to be set aside.
Generally, most misdemeanors and C felonies can be expunged. Applicants must not have been convicted of any crime or other violation in the past three years. (NOTE: A ticket for failure to pay bus fare or train fare counts as a violation). If you were convicted of two felonies or misdemeanors, you must wait 10 years.
Most B felonies can be expunged if there has been no conviction for 20 years.
NOTE: Traffic offenses and some other crimes are not eligible for expungement.
2. Get Fingerprints.
Private businesses provide this service.
3. Prepare Forms.
If a case was filed, but you were later acquitted or the charge was dismissed, use the paperwork for Setting Aside an Arrest Record.
Set Aside Arrest Record Only:
Setting Aside Conviction(s):
4. Complete and File the Forms.
File the paperwork with the Court (Circuit, Municipal, etc.) where you were convicted (or where charges were filed if you were later acquitted or the charge was dismissed), or the Court of Jurisdiction where you were arrested if charges were not filed. The Court will only accept original paperwork, not copies.
There is a filing fee required to file a Motion to Set Aside a Conviction (no filing fee to set aside an Arrest Record). Please see the state’s Fee Schedule under SETTING ASIDE A CONVICTION for the current filing fee. Additional fees may be required by other agencies to complete the process.
5. Serve the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Serve a copy of all paperwork filed with the Court on the Prosecuting Attorney (For Circuit Court Cases, this is the District Attorney). Keep copies for your records. You must provide the original set of your fingerprints to the Prosecuting Attorney, and if you are trying to expunge a conviction, you must also include a certified check payable to Oregon State Police for $80 to set aside a conviction; if the arrest resulted in a dismissal or no charges were filed, and you are seeking only to seal the record, no fee to the Oregon State Police is required).
6. Wait to hear from the Court.
The Prosecuting Attorney’s office will send the paperwork, fingerprints, and the check to the Oregon State Police. The Oregon State Police will then do a fingerprint comparison to be sure the correct record is being considered for a set aside or expungement. The paperwork, fingerprints and a copy of the computerized criminal history are returned to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
After reviewing the computerized criminal history, the Prosecuting Attorney’s office offers a recommendation for approval or denial of the motion put before the court. If they recommend approval, the paperwork and the “Order to Set Aside Arrest/Conviction” is presented before the judge in the court where the case was originally tried (Circuit, Municipal, etc.) for final review and approval or denial. You will be notified of the Court’s decision.
**Be sure to keep the court notified of any address change while you are waiting to hear back.**
If the Prosecuting Attorney’s office recommends a denial of the motion, a hearing will be set before the judge, and the Court will mail you notice of the date and time you must appear.
You may call the Court to check the status of your case.
7. If a Hearing is Set, Come to Court at the Date and Time Listed in the Notice.
Be prepared to argue your case before the judge. You may wish to hire an attorney to represent you at the hearing, since the Prosecuting Attorney’s office will be represented by an attorney, but this is not required. If you fail to appear at the hearing, your Motion will most likely be denied.
If your motion is allowed, signed and certified orders are forwarded from the Court to the Oregon State Police and other agencies for appropriate action and compliance with the order. It may take some time before the information is actually sealed in all records; during that time, information about your arrest or conviction may still be available to others.