If your sordid past is making it difficult for you to find employment, rent an apartment or maintain personal relationships, it may be time to consider the possibility of expunging or sealing your criminal record. This is a legal process that would allow you to remove or "set aside" certain types of criminal convictions and arrests, subsequently freeing you of the legal obligation to admit that you have been convicted of a crime. In the eyes of the law, it would be as if the arrest and/or conviction had never happened. This could be extremely beneficial for a number of reasons, so you should not hesitate to explore your options under the guidance of a Portland criminal defense lawyer from Neal Weingart, Attorney at Law, LLC. In doing so, you can begin working toward the next chapter in your life.
Before initiating this legal process, however, it is important to determine whether or not you are eligible for expungement—as certain crimes are ineligible for removal. For example, under no circumstance is a Class A felony eligible for expungement. Rather, this process can only be utilized to set aside "lesser" criminal offenses, including each of the following:
- Conviction for a Class C felony
- Conviction for Class B felonies which were not "person crimes"
- Conviction for any misdemeanor offense
- Conviction for felony marijuana possession
- Violation of city or county ordinances
- Violation under state or local law
It is also true that you can remove past arrests from your record, including any arrest that resulted in conviction for one of the aforementioned reasons and/or any arrest that resulted in no action, a dismissal or an acquittal. Additionally, any crime that was committed before January 1, 1972, which present law would now classify as an "expungeable" offense, may also be eligible. If your criminal history falls under any of these categories, you can take steps to prepare a motion to set aside immediately. Preferably with the help of a Portland criminal attorney, you will need to obtain court records of your conviction and arrest from the public defender's office—including a copy of your judgment order and release papers. Next, you will need to have your fingerprints documented by the local police department, as these will be used to verify your identity.
Once you are adequately prepared, you can file your paperwork with your respective county courthouse. For those who reside in Portland, OR, you would need to file your papers in Room 106 of the Multnomah County Courthouse (located at 1021 SW 4th Ave. Portland, OR 97204) and deliver copies to the Office of the District Attorney. From there, a hearing will be scheduled, and you and your lawyer will have the opportunity to present a case before the judge. If your motion is granted, your record will be cleared shortly thereafter and you will have the legal right to deny that you have ever been arrested for, or convicted of, the expunged crime. The court will also send a copy of the order to the FBI, Oregon State Police, Portland Police Bureau, probation office, Sheriff's Office, etc.
The truth of the matter is that clearing your criminal record is a complex legal process. That being said, it is highly recommended that you move forward under the qualified advisement of an attorney. With the help of our firm, you can ensure that your case is managed in an effective and timely manner. Not only has Attorney Neal Weingart gone to trial more than 100 times, but he has successfully argued a similar number of motions. For this reason, you can trust that he will provide the level of experience that you are looking for. Call today at (503) 483-4025 for a free initial consultation.