Many convicted of a serious crime want to move on after serving time or paying their penalties. The thinking goes that the convicted individual has paid their debt to society by the time it is over. However, it is rarely as simple as claiming you paid your debt. Instead, it can be a matter of ongoing punishment by others outside the courts and penal systems. It may make sense to expunge (known as expunction in Oregon) their record to reduce this kind of outside judgment.
Expungement can help a person move forward
Those who qualify may want to pursue an expungement for a variety of reasons. These include:
- Employment opportunities: Those with a prior conviction on their record often find it challenging to find a good job.
- Government benefits: Many states deny those convicted of a crime from getting public assistance and food stamps.
- Gun rights: Unless the crime involved weapons, an expunction restores gun rights.
- Reputation: Public records like convictions are available to the public, which means anyone can find out about a conviction.
- Future court proceedings: Repeat offenders often face stiffer penalties, so the expunction of certain charges may reduce future penalties or increase credibility as a witness in court (unless you are being tried).
- Licensing: Some professional licensing prohibits criminal convictions.
- Professional organizations: Many do background checks before inviting potential members to join.
- Personal satisfaction: Some feel a sense of relief in knowing that their criminal record is expunged.
An attorney can help
Discussing expunction with an attorney can make sense. These legal professionals can determine if the client qualifies. They can also help them fill out the necessary paperwork correctly to ensure the best chance for success.