Marijuana Convictions Eligible for Expungement (Record Clearance)
For many years, certain marijuana convictions did not qualify for expungement. For example, we have received calls from many people frustrated that they could not expunge convictions for growing marijuana, which is classified as Manufacture of a Controlled Substance (MCS). Those days are over.
Manufacture of a Controlled Substance (marijuana) now generally qualifies for expungement in Oregon.
Thanks to newly enacted legislation, Oregon’s Expungement Law (ORS 137.225) now permits expungement of convictions for Manufacture of a Controlled Substance, when that substance is marijuana. The major exception is when the crime of MCS is committed within 1000 feet of a school. Another exception is when the conviction is in Federal Court. Oregon’s Expungement Law only applies to convictions in the State Court system of Oregon, pursuant to Oeegon law.
This new amendment to Oregon’s Expungement Law is retroactive, meaning that it even applies to past convictions.
Frequently, amendments to our laws apply only prospectively. This amendment is an exception. Convictions for MCS which were issued in past years qualify for expungement under the latest amendments to Oregon’s Expungement Law. This opens up vast new opportunities for people convicted of MCS and some other drug offenses, who are finally eligible to clean up their record.
Expungement of a criminal record gives a person an opportunity for a fresh start.
When a person expunges a conviction pursuant to Oregon’s Expungement Law, the conviction is erased and all official records of the matter are sealed by Court Order. No longer will the person be disqualified from possessing a firearm under State and Federal law. No longer will the person be disqualified from many occupations. No longer will the person carry a stigma from having a criminal conviction.
Any person who qualifies for expungement should avail themself of the opportunity to get a fresh start.
The process is formally called a motion to Set Aside, and is governed by ORS 137.225. The eligibility requirements include the following: (1) the conviction must qualify for expungement, (2) the person must not have any other conviction of any other crime within the past 10 years, (3) the person must have fully complied with all requirements of the sentence, and (4) the person must not be facing any current charges. The process of expungement requires filing a motion with the court, submitting an affidavit demonstrating eligibility for expungement, submitting a set of fingerprints to enable a background check, and payment of fees to the court and the Oregon State Police.
In addition to Manufacture of a Controlled Substance, Oregon Legislators have newly enabled expungement of other types of criminal convictions.
Delivery of a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Controlled Substance now qualify in almost all situations when the substance is marijuana. Also, certain sex offenses now qualify for expungement in Oregon, where they did not qualify under previous law. Our criminal law office helps clients with expungements all the time. We would be glad to analyze anyone’s eligibility for expungement.
There are steps available to erase convictions that do not qualify for expungement, or reduce their impact.
Even people who do not qualify for expungement may qualify to take steps to reduce the impact of past criminal convictions. For example, our office can assist with an application for a Governor’s Pardon. We can assist with applying for relief from Sex Offender Registration. We can file a motion to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor. We can apply for restoration of a person’s firearm rights. Contact our office for further details on what we can do to help persons convicted of past crimes.