More Crimes Qualify for Expungement
Oregon’s Expungement Law (ORS 137.225) took effect nearly 4 decades ago, and has been amended many times. Frequently, the amendments have made it more difficult for a person to expunge a criminal conviction. However, the latest session of the Oregon Legislature passed HB3376, and thereby expanded the Expungement Law, making expungement available to persons who previously did not qualify.
Prior to the recent amendment, the only circumstances in which a person convicted of a class B felony could accomplish expungement was in the case of a conviction for Possession or Delivery of Marijuana. All other convictions for class B felonies were disqualified from eligibility for expungement.
Thanks to the latest amendment to Oregon’s Expungement Law, defendants convicted of class B non-person felonies such as Possession of Schedule I Controlled Substances, Delivery of Schedule II Controlled Substances, and Aggravated Theft in the First Degree, may now qualify for expungement under certain circumstances. The principal difference in the eligibility requirements for these crimes is that a person seeking to expunge a class B felony must satisfy a 20-year waiting period from the date of the conviction, and the person must not have had any subsequent criminal convictions or arrests.
Clearly, the eligibility requirements which apply to the expungement of class B felonies are far more exacting than the eligibility requirements for other crimes. A person convicted of a class C felony or a misdemeanor only has to satisfy a waiting period of as little as 3 years from the date of the conviction, and must not have had any other conviction (excluding a traffic violation) within the 10 years prior to filing the expungement motion.
This being said, it is indeed a positive sign that the Oregon Legislature has opened up the eligibility, even in a small way, for persons who have been convicted of a class B felony. Hopefully, the next session of the Legislature will build on the latest legislation and open up the eligibility even further for individuals who do not qualify for expungement under current law.
If you believe that Oregon’s Expungement Law should be expanded to cover persons who currently do not qualify, you should contact your local elected officials. The Legislature has the power to expand the scope of Oregon’s Expungement Law, and if enough people show interest in such reform, we might accomplish further progress.
If you or anyone you know is interested in legal representation for a possible expungement, please contact our Portland criminal law office. We are always glad to help.