By Zach Walsh, Attorney
McKean Smith Law, LLC
In Oregon and Washington, arrests and certain felony and misdemeanor convictions are eligible to be expunged, set aside or vacated, including arrests and convictions for domestic violence crimes. This means that pursuant to Oregon and Washington law you can seal an arrest, and/or a criminal conviction and it will appear as it never occurred.
Unlike Oregon and Washington, there is no formal federal expungement process, and federal courts have no statutory authority to expunge records of a valid federal conviction. Some federal courts have held that federal courts have authority to expunge criminal records where an arrest or conviction is found to be invalid or a clerical error is made. However, some federal courts have agreed to expunge an arrest when after a showing of need and the government did not object.
Arrests, convictions, and the appearance of a criminal history can have a devastating impact on job seekers, college or university applicants, housing applicants, renters, and person seeking state and federal benefits.
Convictions for many sexual offenses require registration as a sex offender. Therefore, it is important to expunge, set aside, or vacate arrests, convictions, and criminal histories.
How do I get my record expunged, set aside, or vacated?
Expunging, setting aside, or vacating your records depends mainly upon two factors: the underlying conviction and the length of time since the conviction or release from custody. ORS 137.225, RCW 9.94A.640 and RCW 9.96.060.
If you think you may be eligible, the next step is to determine exactly which crime you were convicted of and when. Our office will assist you in determining this.
Can McKean Smith assist you?
Yes, an attorney will help draft the legal documents necessary for expunging, setting aside, or vacating an arrest, conviction, and criminal history. We can and will appear on your behalf for any required court hearings. This process is more likely to be successful if law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office agree to the requested relief. If not, you will need an experienced advocate to appear in court and argue on your behalf.