Frequently Asked Questions
What is expungement/expunction?
Oregon law allows certain arrest/conviction records to be sealed or “set aside” but not destroyed. Once the judge has signed the Order Setting Aside the record, the arrest and/or conviction is deemed not to have occurred in the eyes of the law. This means you can swear under oath that you have not been arrested/convicted, and that every government agency having a record of the arrest/conviction is ordered to seal the file.
Which government agencies get a copy of the judge’s order?
The court clerk sends certified copies of the order to your defense attorney (I then forward it on to you for your records), Oregon State Police, Oregon Corrections Division, Circuit Court, the District Attorney, and the local police agencies involved. When I prepare the Orders on behalf of my clients, I am careful to list every involved agency to ensure that all files are sealed.
How long after my conviction do I have to wait before I can get it expunged?
If you were only convicted of one crime, the waiting period 3 years from the date of conviction (not from the date the incident happened). If you were convicted of more than one crime, the wait is ten years. If you have several different cases from several different years, you should call me to discuss the time frames for filing, as you may be able to file some cases before others.
I was arrested but not convicted. How long do I have to wait to expunge the arrest record?
The length of time you have to wait to expunge an arrest record depends on how the case was resolved. If you won at trial or if the case was filed and later dismissed, we may immediately begin the expungement process. If you went to court and the Prosecutor did not file charges against you (referred to as a “no complaint”), we must wait a year from the arrest date before we can start the expungement. These time frames assume that you have no other arrests or convictions on your record. If you do, then you should discuss this with me to determine the date you’ll be eligible to expunge the records.
Is my DUII eligible for expungement?
DUII arrest records are only eligible if you were found “not guilty” at trial or if the Prosecutor decided not to file the charge. Dismissals through diversion are not eligible, and DUII convictions are not eligible.
My probation was revoked; can I still get my conviction expunged?
Yes, under current Oregon case law (State v. Branham, 220 Or App 225 (2008)) your case is still eligible for expungement. However, the legislature may be making changes to the expungement statutes so that these types of cases will not be eligible for expungement.
I had several probation violations; can I expunge my record?
This depends on the court and your individual circumstances. One requirement for expunging your record is that you successfully completed all probation requirements. I have substantial experience in handling expungements throughout the state of Oregon, so I have insight into how various courts and District Attorneys approach this issue.
I still owe money on my case; do I have to pay it off before I can expunge my record?
In most cases you will need to have paid off all money owing on your case before the judge will grant an expungement motion. However, I have won expungement motions in which my clients still owed money on their cases. If this is a concern of yours, feel free to call me to talk about it further.
Will the District Attorney contact the victim in my case?
Generally, the D.A. will notify any named crime victim when an expungement motion is filed. If the victim objects to the expungement, we may end up having a hearing on the issue. I am very experienced in handling these hearings and have a solid success rate.
How much does an expungement cost?
My fee ranges from $550–$700, depending on the county (some require more work than others) and age of the case. There is also a $252 filing fee payable to the county circuit court, and in the case of convictions, an $80 fee payable to Oregon State Police. In some counties, the District Attorney’s office also charges a processing fee.
How long does the expungement process take?
My turn around time to get the documents prepared and to you for your signature is typically less than a week (older cases on microfiche will take longer). Once we have filed the documents, we generally receive the judge's signed order within 12-16 weeks. The time frame varies quite a bit depending on the county, and I can give you a better estimate when we discuss your particular case.
I live out of state. Will I have to travel to Oregon to appear in court for my expungement?
No, in most expungment cases a court appearance is not necessary. If a hearing is set, I can appear on your behalf.
My case was dismissed. Why is it still showing up on my record?
In Oregon, the arrest and dismissal of the case will show up unless you file an expungement motion and the court grants it.
When I went to court, the prosecutor did not file charges against me. Do I still need to expunge anything?
Yes, the arrest record will continue to show up until you file for an expungement.
I was cited to appear in court rather than arrested. Is there anything for me to expunge?
Yes, the citation is considered a “citation in lieu of arrest” and is treated the same as an actual physical arrest for expungement purposes. So, you would still need to file a motion to expunge the arrest.
For an expungement, does it make a difference whether my case is a felony or misdemeanor?
No, the fees and necessary paperwork are the same regardless of whether the case is classified as a misdemeanor or an felony.
Can't I just wait for the conviction or arrest to drop of my record?
No, unlike DMV records, arrests and convictions don't just "drop off" after a certain amount of time. In fact, I have represented clients with expunging records going as far back as 1961.
I'm not sure exactly what would show up on my criminal history check. How can I find out?
You may call my office or order your own criminal history check and then consult with me. If you have more than one or two cases, an OSP background check may make the most sense for you.
What is the difference between background checks through OJIN and OSP?
OJIN (Oregon Judicial Information Network) is the database that contains criminal and civil cases in Oregon State courts going back to approximately the late 1980''s–early 1990s. OSP (Oregon State Police) contains criminal arrest and conviction records from as far back as the 1920''s and, unlike OJIN, also contains information on municipal court cases. So, if you have an older case or a case that may have been in a municipal court, an OSP background check will reveal that case.
May I obtain my own OSP background check, or do I need an attorney to do that?
You may obtain your own OSP background check. In fact, it is quicker and less expensive for you to order your own OSP criminal history check. OSP charges $33.00 for a background check.
How do I obtain a copy of my OSP criminal history?
See the link near the top of this page.
Why should I hire an attorney if I'm entering diversion?
Entering diversion requires a plea of guilty or no contest to the charge. If you are not successful in the diversion program, you then face sentencing on the DUI charge. Because the sentence for a DUI conviction can be so severe, you should have an attorney to protect your rights, to advise you of your options, to handle all discussions and negotiations with the prosecutor, and to advise you on how to succeed in the diversion program.
What is the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor DUII conviction?
A first misdemeanor DUII conviction carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail, a $6,250 fine, and a one year drivers license suspension, as well as probation, victim panel class, alcohol evaluation and treatment, and possibly community service. Additional misdemeanor DUII convictions may carry longer license suspensions.
If I win the DMV hearing, does my DUII case go away?
No, the DMV hearing and actual DUI charge are different. The DMV hearing is an administrative (rather than criminal) hearing just dealing with narrow issues surrounding your failure or refusal of the breath test. While your attorney may gain information and testimony from the police officer that may help in the defense of the criminal DUI charge, simply winning the DMV hearing doesn't make the DUII charge go away.
If I enter diversion, will my DMV suspension for failing/refusing the breath test go away?
No. The DMV suspension is separate from the criminal DUI charge. But, if you successfully complete diversion, you'll avoid the additional one year license suspension that comes with a DUII conviction.
Can an attorney get my DUII reduced to a "wet reckless" or negligent/ careless driving?
No, Oregon Law prohibits negotiating DUI charges. ORS 813.170
Can I expunge my DUII after I complete diversion?
No, Oregon law prohibits expunging traffic arrests and convictions. ORS 137.225 (6)(a). DUII arrests may only be expunged in cases where the State elects not to file charges against an individual, the person is found not guilty at trial, or the case is dismissed for reasons other than diversion completion
I successfully completed diversion but now I have a new DUII charge; does diversion count against me for sentencing on the new DUII?
Under Oregon law, successful completion of diversion results in a dismissal of the charge. So, in looking at the minimum sentence set by law for DUI convictions, your new DUII is considered a first conviction. However, a plea offer made by the prosecutor or a sentence imposed by the judge may be more harsh in your case than for someone who has never gone through the diversion program. You should talk with your attorney about the specific facts of your case and your situation.
What are the minimum sentences set by law for DUII convictions?
A first DUII conviction carries a minimum 2 days in jail, $1,000 fine, and a 1 year Oregon driver's license suspension. Additionally, you will likely be placed on 2–3 years probation and ordered to attend victim panel class and complete an alcohol evaluation and alcohol treatment classes. Some counties offer flexible options on the jail and fine, so you should talk with your attorney about your particular case.
How much do alcohol treatment classes cost?
The cost of treatment varies, depending on the duration and frequency of treatment. The treatment may be covered under your health insurance plan; you should review your policy to see whether it excludes "court ordered substance abuse" treatment. A list of state approved treatment providers is included under the "Helpful Links" section on this page.
I completed diversion and have been charged with a new DUII. Can I do anything to get a more lenient sentence from the judge?
Yes, to some extent you can control what happens to you in court. Aside from hiring an experience DUII attorney like Sandi Pellikaan, you may want to explore re–entering alcohol treatment classes or getting involved in AA or similar type programs before appearing in front of the judge. You should talk with your attorney about this.
I was involved in a traffic accident. What do I do?
You may need to file a DMV accident report within 72 hours or face a license suspension. See the link on this page for the accident report form and filing requirements. You should consult with your attorney before filling out this report.
The police officer wrote an accident report; do I still need to file a report with DMV?
Yes, if your situation meets the requirements for filing an accident report, then you need to file an accident report regardless of whether one was prepared by the police.