How to Expunge my Public Records in Oregon

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In Oregon, deleting public records entails the removal of specific records from the database of state or county repositories. Technically, it is not possible to completely erase a record, particularly because another file of "record erasure" will exist. However, it is possible to restrict access to it, such that access will only be granted to it by a court ruling or preexisting legal permission. Oregon criminal records, arrest records, and birth records are some of the records that may be deleted.

Erasing a record in Oregon begins from applying to a court of competent jurisdiction, after which a judge orders the removal of the record from public repositories.

Some reasons an individual may want a record deleted include:

  • Wrongful arrest and conviction: Persons who have been arrested or convicted for the wrong reasons have the right under the law to seek that such criminal records be deleted or destroyed.
  • Adoption: To ensure a private uninterrupted life, parties in a child adoption may seek to have the birth records sealed and inaccessible to members of the public.
  • State Pardon: In the state of Oregon, individuals may apply for a state pardon for crimes they have been convicted of. A state pardon automatically seals the records of conviction pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 144.653. However, a crime for which expungement may be granted in the court and where such expungement has not been sought, does not qualify for a state pardon and the state governor shall not grant such pardon application.

Individuals may also apply to seal records if it contains private information or information on minors.

The ORS Chapter 419A Section 262 and Chapter 137 Section 225 make provisions for the sealing and expungement of certain records in the state.

What is a Public Record in Oregon?

According to ORS Chapter 192, Section 192.005, a public record may be defined as any document containing information that relates to how the public conducts its businesses. Examples of public records include court records, birth records, death records, marriage and divorce records, deeds records, and such other records prepared, owned, maintained, and used by public bodies, irrespective of the form in which they exist. Oregon public records are open records under Oregon's Public Records Law.

Other public records may include tax filing records, motor vehicle registration records, businesses, and professional licenses, arrest records, criminal records, etc.

Public records are open and accessible to all through the official repositories and sometimes  through Non-FCRA Compliant background check companies. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Under ORS 192.345 and 192.355, the following records would not be available to the public:

  • Trade secrets
  • Tests and examination questions
  • Medical records
  • Criminal investigations
  • Civil rights investigations
  • Real estate appraisals

In addition, a wrongfully convicted citizen may demand that all records relating to the trial and conviction be expunged. Birth records may also be sealed after adoption to grant both parties - the adopter and the adoptee, privacy.  Pardon and set-aside are some of the additional methods through which records can be deleted in Oregon.

Does Oregon allow Expungement?

Yes. The state allows expungement pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes § 137.225(3) (2018). Oregon criminal record expungement is commonly called expunction or in some cases "setting aside." An expunged record is not available to the public, including potential employers.

How Do I Expunge My Criminal Record in Oregon?

Under the Oregon Revised Statute Chapter 419A, Section 262, expunction proceedings for juvenile records may be initiated in the county of conviction once the record subject turns 18. A record expungement may be granted if:

  • It has been five years or more since the subject's most recent termination;
  • The subject has not been found guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor or a felony;
  • There is no juvenile court pending adjudication against the subject of legal proceedings pursuing criminal conviction;
  • The juvenile department does not know about any ongoing investigation by a law enforcement agency of the conduct of the subject; and
  • There is no current petition against the subject alleging acts defined under the Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter  419B, Section 100 (Jurisdiction) (1)(a) to (c) and (f) and Chapter 419C, Section 005 (Jurisdiction) within the jurisdiction of a  juvenile court.

​For records other than juvenile records, the process to have a criminal record expunged begins with filling-out and filing appropriate forms - a form for a “Motion to Set Aside an Arrest Record” or “Motion to Set Aside a Conviction Record.”  Along with the forms, an affidavit form must also be submitted, for example, for a motion to set aside an arrest record, an Affidavit in Support of the Motion to Set Aside an Arrest Record must be filed. The affidavit must be signed only in front of a notary or court clerk. These forms may be obtained at the courthouse where the case and judgment were heard.

In the case of arrests without charges, dismissal of charges, or an acquittal from charges filed, the subject does not have to pay a filing fee. However, if the subject was convicted, the payment of a filing fee will be required. The filing fee is usually determined by the local courthouse. In either of the situations above, the subject of the record will need a complete set of fingerprints which can be printed at a local police department. The subject should also request that the fingerprints be notated with “Motion for Setting Aside an Arrest Record” or “Motion for Setting Aside a Conviction”, whichever is applicable.

Where charges were brought against the subject, and either these charges were dismissed or the subject was convicted, a copy of the Charging Instrument and Order of Dismissal, Judgment or Sentence from this case must be provided. This can be obtained at the courthouse where the case was heard.

After the process above is completed, the petitioner will make two copies each of the Motion and Affidavit forms, fingerprint cards, a police report, and court records. One complete set of these records is meant for the petitioner. A complete set of the documents listed above is then served to the Office of the District Attorney (DA) of the county of jurisdiction. If the record in question is a conviction record, then the petitioner will have to accompany these records with a certified check of the amount of the applicable filing fee.

Upon successfully submitting the documents above, the DA Office will initiate an investigation into the case by sending the fingerprints to the State Identification Bureau to verify the petitioner’s identity and further conduct a background investigation. After this, the DA’s Office will send back the findings of the investigation to the court, which then signs an Order granting or rejecting the record expungement request.

If this request is granted, the court sends a copy of the order to the agencies in possession of the said records to effect the expungement. In case of a request rejection, the petitioner will be duly notified.

Please note that there may be slight differences in the procedure and requirements in each state county.

Under ORS 137.225, the court may decide not to grant the motion to expunge an arrest or conviction record. In addition, the following records cannot be set aside in Oregon;

  • Traffic offense convictions
  • Driving under the Influence of Intoxicants (when charge dismissal was due to a diversion)
  • Class A or B felonies convictions.

Will my Expungement Record Show up on a Background Check in Oregon?

If a person successfully files for an Oregon arrest record expungement or to set aside a criminal record, the court will order all agencies in possession of the record to delete it. As such, an expunged record will not show on a background check at the county and state repositories in Oregon, as well as on a Non-FCRA Compliant background check.

How to Seal a Record in Oregon?

To effect an arrest record sealing in Oregon, the arrest record’s subject has to wait for one year after the date of arrest even if charges were filed, dismissal, or the subject acquittal makes such record eligible to be set-aside. The subject must also meet the following requirements:

  • Must not have, in the past three years, been arrested for a non-traffic offense.
  • Must not have, in the past three years, been convicted for a non-traffic offense
  • Must not currently be under prosecution for any other crime.

To secure an Oregon criminal record sealing, the subject has to wait three years after conviction for traffic violations, and ten years after conviction for non-traffic violations. Also, the subject must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Must have completed the judgment given by the court, as well as the term of probation.
  • Must not have been found guilty of a non-traffic offense in the past ten years.
  • Must not have set aside a conviction ten years prior

A subject must pay an $80 fee for a state police fingerprint check to file a seal motion. An application to seal a record should be filed in the court of conviction. A filing fee may be required but may be sometimes waived for indigent individuals. The subject will also have to serve the prosecuting attorney a copy of the motion application form. The victim in the case, and the prosecuting attorney reserve the right to investigate the subject's background, object to the motion, and seek a court hearing. For this reason, it usually takes around 90 days before a court can rule on such applications.

Although the subject does not need an attorney to file a record seal request, it is advisable to consult one for legal advice and individual assistance on the guidelines of the process.

Who Can See My Sealed Record In Oregon?

Access to a record becomes restricted once it is sealed. However, in certain circumstances, access may be granted to specific persons and agencies. They include:

  • The subject of the record
  • A person authorized by the subject of the record
  • Law enforcement agencies carrying a court order

How to Delete Bankruptcy Records in Oregon?

In Oregon, if a person finds a wrongly filed bankruptcy report, it is possible to remove this from their records. Persons concerned can obtain a document known as “Certificate of Negative Filing”, stating that they have never filed for bankruptcy. To obtain the document, the affected persons have to send a letter by mail to the Bankruptcy Court, containing their full name, social security number, a self-addressed stamped envelope, and an $11 certification fee. The court will conduct a background check and mail back a Certificate of Negative Filing if it finds no record of bankruptcy. A valid bankruptcy cannot be removed from a record until after a period of 7-10 years, depending on the type of bankruptcy that was filed. The District of Oregon, United States Bankruptcy Court provides answers to bankruptcy-related questions on its website.

What are Consumer Protection Laws in Oregon

Businesses nowadays have to collect and store several customers’ personal data. Unfortunately, attempts to breach security infrastructure and access personal data are on the rise. Cybersecurity breaches usually expose consumers whose personal data are held, to great danger. Authorities have realized this, and continuous efforts are made to ensure maximum protection for consumers. In the state of Oregon, there are State Privacy Laws that set the standards for the possession, use, retention, and protection of consumers’ personal information.

The Consumer Identity Theft Protection Act of 2016 puts in place measures to be taken by data holders and empowers the state to punish businesses for failure to implement strong security measures. The Act also stipulates that a record breach must be reported to the regulators, law enforcement, and the affected customers. In a case where the breach affects more than 250 citizens, then the State Attorney General must be informed. The Consumer Protection Unit of the Oregon Department of Justice also provides a resource where residents can find companies that have reported data breaches, the date of the breach, and the date the breach was reported.

Details that constitute personal information in Oregon include a consumer’s first name or first initial and last name accompanied with:

  • Social Security Number
  • State Identity (ID) Card number issued by the Department of Transportation or Driver License Number
  • Passport number or any other United States-issued ID number
  • Financial account, debit or credit card digits combined with required access code or password which would grant access to the account.
  • Physical features data, such as a fingerprint, an iris or retina image, that are used for identity authentication for transactional purposes.
  • Unique identifiers used by health insurance policy providers such as health insurance policy number, health insurance subscriber identification number, etc.
  • Medical records, physical and mental health reports, or medical evaluation and care by a healthcare professional

How to Delete Lien Records in Oregon?

If a person contends that a lien was imposed wrongfully or is illegitimate, it is possible to remove it. One way to do this is to contact the lienholder and notify them of wrongful lien placement. Another way of removing a lien is by obtaining a court order or consent order to that effect.
To find out if your property has a lien, search through public records for any legal claims against the property. The most common lien search is a property lien. In Oregon, an interested party may search the local authorities’ land records for properties that have liens placed on them.

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