Easier Path to Expungement Opened in Oregon

Recent Oregon legislation has made Oregon’s expungement process faster, easier, and more accessible to people in the state of Oregon. Oregon Senate Bill 397 was signed by Governor Kate Brown, and became effective law January 1, 2022. 

Previous Oregon legislation did little for people seeking expungement. Wait times for expungement eligibility was up to twenty years, a time period unaligned with public safety research and far above the national average. Further, previous legislation required payment of expensive fees, prohibiting low-income communities from accessing record clearing services. The new legislation will benefit nearly 1.5 million people in the state of Oregon who endure the negative impacts of carrying a criminal record. 

Oregon Senate Bill 397 shortens the waiting period for eligibility depending on the offense. For example, a person convicted of a Class B felony now just has to wait up to seven years from the date of conviction, and a Class C felony conviction requires only five years. Similarly shortened by the bill, a person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor needs to only wait up to three years, and Class B or C misdemeanor requires a one year wait. Those charged with an offense but subsequently had the charges dropped, may file for expungement any time after 60 days of the dropped charges.

The petition for expungement, once filed, would be reviewed in court and decided by a judge. A judge will grant the motion if the criteria in Oregon Senate Bill 397 is met unless the person has been convicted of an offense which is ineligible to be expunged, the person been convicted of an offense after the date of conviction for the offense sought to be expunged, or if the judge finds the circumstances and behavior of the person from the date of the offense create a risk to public safety.

Once granted, the applicant, for the purposes of the law in the state of Oregon, will be deemed not to have been previously convicted, arrested, cited or charged with the expunged offense. As a result, a criminal history report will be prohibited from including the applicant’s criminal history relating to the conviction, arrest, citation or charge of the expunged offense. 

Supporters of the bill state they want to give people in the state of Oregon an opportunity to make a living and better provide for their families by increasing access to employment, housing, and education through this new legislation. 

This exciting change went into effect January, 1 2022 and we are currently taking clients for this service.  Please call 877-573-7273 to speak to an intake specialist or take our free online eligibility test here.

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