Oregon Expungement Law

Petition to Restore Firearm Rights vs. Expungement

As many people learn, a conviction for ANY felony, even something as minor as the possession of a trace amount of a controlled substance, can deny a person the right to possess a firearm for the rest of their life.  It can also expose them to a further felony and prison for the simple possession of a firearm in the future.  Because of this, many people are eager to have the firearm rights, and with it their hunting and self-defense abilities restored as soon as possible.  When they do so, they are presented with the question of whether or not to petition for relief from the firearm prohibition pursuant to ORS 166.274 versus expunging the charges pursuant to ORS 137.225.  In looking at the two methods, it is clear that one should only attempt to obtain relief from the firearm prohibition pursuant to ORS 166.274 if they are not eligible to expunge their felony conviction(s) in the near future.  Expungement is the better way for the following reasons:

First and most obviously, relief from the firearm prohibition only gives you your firearm rights back while expungement has the added benefit of clearing the conviction(s) off your record.  Thus, not only does it expungement restore your right to hunt, target shoot and protect yourself and your home, but it also removes a roadblock to housing and employment in the future.

Second, expungement is much easier to obtain.  In most cases, the Courts have little discretion to deny an expungement motion if you are statutorily eligible.  That is not the case when seeking relief from the firearm prohibition via ORS 166.274.  Under that statutory scheme, the burden is on YOU, to prove by clear and convincing evidence that you don’t present a danger to yourself of the community.  Even though that may be true, few judges are willing to put their name on an Order giving gun rights back to someone convicted of a felony unless they HAVE TO.  That is what they are generally required to do under the expungement statute.  In addition, the process to petition the Courts for relief is much more exhaustive, expensive and time consuming, all with less chance of success.  

Third, expungement is a traditionally accepted means of restoring firearm rights under Federal Law while the status of relief from the firearm prohibition pursuant to ORS 166.274 under Federal Law is less clear.  

In conclusion, the only time where one should seek relief from the firearm prohibition pursuant to ORS 166.274 is when a person is not eligible for expungement and won’t be in the near future.  These situations can be when the person has a conviction for an A felony, a non-expungeable B felony, a traffic crime felony, or they can’t wait until they are eligible for expungement.  Just know, when ask a Judge to restore your firearm rights, you are facing an uphill struggle.  

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First Step Toward Expungement in Multnomah County

Before you file for expungement under ORS 137.225, you must make sure you have paid off any fines associated with the conviction being expunged are paid in full. In many counties, that includes making sure you don’t owe any money at all to the State of Oregon, even including unpaid traffic and parking tickets. If the fines you owe in Multnomah County are too high, one good option is Project Second ChanceProject Second Chance is a great organization that exists to help people get a second chance and overcome what, many times, may seem an insurmountable task. By agreement with the Multnomah County District Attorney and the Courts, individuals are able to work off fines through Community Service, some times at a rate as high as $100 per hour.

Expungement May Not Be the End

While the internet has many benefits, making it easy to clear your record is not one of them. Even if you get a court to order to expunge your record pursuant to ORS 137.225, it may still show up on a background check or online. Therefore, after you get an order signed, it is important to do a background search of yourself to see what still shows up. Then, when you discovery websites or organizations reporting the conviction, you can contact them to have it removed. Most of companies have an established procedure in order to do so.

That is why if you hire me to help clear your record, I will help you identify what is showing up online and help you remove the damaging information we can locate. Feel free to contact me via my contact form. You'll hear back from my office within two business days.

Changes in Oregon Expungement Law

Once again the Oregon Legislature has found fit to modify Oregon’s Expungement Statute ORS 137.225. Now, if you have been convicted of Criminal Mistreatment in the First Degree, and the victim was 65 years old at the time of the crime, you can no longer have that conviction expunged under ORS 137.225(7)(b). Clearly the legislature is trying to address what they believe is the growing danger of elder abuse. If you need help determining whether or not other convictions may be eligible for expungement please click here.