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Vacating a conviction: What you need to know

After an arrest, charges and conviction, a person may feel as if life in Oregon may never go back to normal. Once there is a criminal record, anyone who runs a background check can look at it, from potential employers to landlords to educational institutions. 

According to the Oregon State Bar, an individual may be able to get that conviction vacated, or cleared from the criminal record. Although a person who receives a dismissal or acquittal can seek to have the record of an arrest and charges sealed immediately, a conviction cannot be vacated so easily. The motion to set aside the conviction cannot be filed until three years after the conviction, and if any conviction occurs after that, the waiting period extends to 10 years. 

All of the requirements for the conviction, such as serving time in jail, paying fines and completing probation, must be met before the person can file the motion. If someone is currently under prosecution for another offense, then the courts will not vacate the first conviction.

The Oregon Courts note that traffic offenses and DUII convictions can't be set aside, and neither can Class A and B felony convictions. However, the following types of convictions do qualify:

  • Misdemeanors
  • Offenses that may be either misdemeanors or felonies
  • Class C felonies
  • Violations
  • Marijuana possession convictions
  • Offenses that occurred before Jan. 1, 1972, that current laws would classify as one of the above categories

The incident, the conviction and the record are legally erased once the court grants the motion to set aside the conviction. Law enforcement's records of the investigation are sealed, as well.

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