OREGON’S BALLOT MEASURE 110 – PART 2

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Before Measure 110, possession of a personal amount of drugs was classified as an A misdemeanor for Schedule 1-3 Controlled Substance. 

Measure 110 reclassifies possession of a personal amount of any of these drugs as a Class E violation.

What is a personal amount?  The amounts depend on the drug and are listed in the summary below: 

Schedule I Controlled Substances

   LSD  – Less than 40 units

   Psilocybin or psilocin – Less than 12 grams

Schedule 2 Controlled Substances

   Methadone – Less than 40 user units

   Oxycodone –  Less than 40 pills, tablets, or capsules

   Heroin – Less than 1 gram

   MDMA – Less than 1 gram or less than 5 pills, tablets, or capsules

   Cocaine – Less than 2 grams

   Methamphetamine – Less than 2 grams

Possession of more than the amounts listed above is a Class A misdemeanor.  Class A misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum 364 days jail and a maximum $6,250 fine. Misdemeanor convictions are eligible for expungement 3 years from the date of conviction, assuming the person otherwise qualifies.

If the Possession constitutes a Commercial Drug Offense, the offense is a Class B felony for drugs listed in Schedule 1 and a Class C felony for drugs listed in Schedule 2.  Class C felonies are eligible for expungement 3 years from the conviction date, assuming the person otherwise qualifies.  Class B felonies are eligible for expungement 20 years from the conviction date if the person meets the strict criteria discussed earlier.              

REDUCING FELONY DRIVING CONVICTIONS

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People convicted of a felony have a much more difficult time securing housing, employment, scholarships, and loans. They may not be allowed to volunteer in schools, youth sports, and other organizations. They can’t enter Canada, and they can’t buy or own a firearm.

While other convictions may be eligible for expungement under ORS 137.225, Oregon’s expungement law specifically excludes convictions for “traffic crimes.” Some common traffic felonies include Attempt to Elude a Police Officer, Felony Driving While Suspended, and Failure To Perform Duties of Driver (also known as Hit & Run) -Injury.

These felony charges may be eligible for reduction to misdemeanors. Once a judge reduces a felony conviction to a misdemeanor, the person is no longer a felon and can enjoy all the rights and privileges non felons enjoy.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The law dealing with felony reductions is ORS 161.705 – 161.710. It says, in part, that the Court may enter judgment reducing a Class C felony to a misdemeanor at any time after the sentence of probation has been completed. ORS 161.710 deals specifically with Felony DWS (habitual offender suspension) committed before September 1, 1999.

The requirements for a reduction are:

  • The probation sentence must be completed. Probation violations aren’t necessarily a barrier, as long as the conditions (such as community service, financial obligations, classes or treatment) are ultimately completed.
  • The judge, considering the “nature and circumstances of the crime and the history and character of the defendant,” finds that a felony conviction would be unduly harsh. This is a really broad area, and it allows us to show a person’s current situation, why they need the reduction, what they have accomplished since the conviction, and any helpful circumstances from the crime itself or their situation at the time.

I have been very successful in helping my clients get their felonies reduced to misdemeanors. I work with them from the outset to gather information and present the best possible picture to the judge. In my view that first impression is key and likely why I have a solid track record. If you have a felony driving conviction that you would like reduced, let’s talk about how I can help you too.

GUN RIGHTS RESTORATION IN OREGON

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People convicted of felonies are not allowed to possess or purchase firearms. In Oregon, they face being charged with the crime of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, which is also a felony.

The good news is that there are three options for having your Second Amendment gun rights restored. Below is a summary of each option:

First, you may petition the court to set aside the conviction and seal the record. This is commonly referred to as expungement. Once the conviction is set aside, the conviction is “deemed not to have occurred” and you may answer all questions about it under oath as it it never happened. In other words, the conviction no longer exists, and you are legally no longer a felon. Once you are not a felon, you may buy and possess firearms.

Second, you may ask the court to reduce the felony conviction to a misdemeanor. The conviction is still there, but it’s a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Once this is done you are no longer a convicted felon and may buy and possess firearms.

Third, you may petition the court for restoration of your gun rights. This has no effect on the conviction–it is still there, but the court is allowing you to purchase/possess firearms. This is done as a civil matter and is filed in the county where you currently live, rather than the county where the conviction occurred.

Each of these options has limits and requirements and may not fit your particular situation. I would be happy to talk with you about your situation, the pros & cons of each option, and which would be best for you. Let’s put my experience and solid track record to work for you and get your gun rights back.

SB420 – Expunging Marijuana Convictions in Oregon

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Ready to have your marijuana conviction expunged? It is easier now, thanks to Senate Bill 420 – and I am here to help.

Let’s break down the new benefits of this bill and how it makes marijuana expungements faster and easier than ever:

1. SB 420 does away with the $281 court filing fee, $80 OSP fee, and fingerprint card requirement. What does this mean? All you have to do is sign the motion, and sign & have the accompanying affidavit notarized. This bill saves you money and the hassle of having to go get your fingerprints taken.

2. SB 420 does away with some of the time restrictions for filing the expungement motion. Under this bill, the motion may be filed “at any time following judgment of conviction for a qualifying marijuana conviction.” Oregon’s expungement statute, ORS 137.225, requires a person to not have any other conviction within the preceding ten years. This bill does away with that requirement. This means someone who would otherwise not yet be eligible to have their marijuana conviction expunged due to other recent convictions is now eligible to have the marijuana conviction expunged. This is great news and will, I expect, help a lot of people.

3. SB 420 sets a strict deadline on the DA. The DA only has 30 days to object to the expungement. If the DA does not object within this time frame, the court may grant the expungement. This time frame is significantly quicker than normal expungements which can range from 3-6 months from filing to
completion.

I am so happy that Oregon has joined other states in relaxing the expungement laws for marijuana cases. I hope people take advantage of this change in the law. I am ready to assist you with expunging your marijuana or other cases – why wait?

Next up: “Qualifying marijuana conviction” explained

Expunging Old Convictions for Growing Marijuana

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When Oregon legalized marijuana, it also expanded the expungement law to include MCS Marijuana and DCS Marijuana. Now, people convicted of Growing Marijuana or delivering marijuana canOregon now allows people convicted of growing marijuana to have their convictions expunged. Before the changes in the law, Manufacturing Marijuana (MCS Marijuana) was a class A felony and not eligible for expungement.

THE LAW
Within the lengthly law governing the legalization of marijuana is a small blurb stating, in essence, that marijuana convictions occuring before legalization are to be treated, for expungement purposes, as if they occurred under the current marijuana classification.

This means that for instance, before legalization, growing marijuana was a class A felony. Class A felonies are not eligible for expungement in oregon. After legalization, growing marijuana is legal (up to a certain number
This new law has been in effect for quite some time now. But, I still hear from a lot of people who aren’t aware of it. Their lives have been impacted because they grew marijuana. Some of these folks have convictions for growing marijuana 30 or 40 years ago. For far too long they have struggled with the stigma of being a “convicted felon” and all that this label implies. They have endured embarrassing background checks for employment and housing. In many cases they have lost out on jobs, promotions, loans, licenses, leases, and other opportunities not available to felons.

Shortly after the new law was enacted, I argued the issue od MCS Marijuana in multiple counties throughout the state. I have educated judges and District Attorneys on this very important change in Oregon’s expungement laws regarding expunging convictions for growing marijuana.

If you have a conviction for MCS, DCS, or possession of marijuana, I urge you to call me to discuss your case.

http://nwnewsnetwork.org/post/marijuana-felony-expunged-oregon-man-has-tears-joy

Arrested in Portland for Commercial Sexual Solicitation?

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Arrested in Portland for Hiring a Prostitute? You may be able to get the case dismissed through the community court program. This program, unique to Multnomah County, is for people charged with Commercial Sexual Solicitation, a Class A misdemeanor. Commercial Sexual Solicitation was formerly known as Patronizing a Prostitute, or Prostitution.

THE PROGRAM

The community court program is not available for people charged with prostitution related felonies, such as Promoting Prostitution and Compelling Prostitution.

If you successfully complete the program, the judge will dismiss your case. The program requires that you remain crime free for 6 months and that you attend a 1 day “Johns” class. The class costs around $1,000. The class is usually offered on a Saturday. It is held once a month, or once every other month. If you live out of state, you will need to make arrangements to attend the class. But, I may be able to have your appearances in court waived.

THE DISMISSAL

Many people believe that once the judge dismisses the charge of Commercial Sexual Solicitation, the records are automatically erased. This is not true. There are still court records, DA records, and police records we will need to have sealed (commonly called “expungement”).

We can begin the process of having the record of arrest (or citation) expunged as soon as the judge dismisses your case. Once the judge signs the expungement order, you may swear under oath that you have never been arrested or cited for a crime. We can also take steps to ensure that the record does not appear on any internet background searches.

I have worked with many people accused of Commercial Sexual Solicitation and Prostitution related crimes. I understand and appreciate my clients’ needs for discretion. And I work with them to resolve their cases and expungements as quickly and smoothly as possible.

CHANGES TO OREGONS EXPUNGEMENT LAW MEAN POSITIVE CHANGES FOR YOU

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Oregon’s legislators have made some changes to ORS 137.225, commonly referred to as the expungement statute. So what’s the big news? More people than ever are now eligible to move forward with their expungements. Having a clean slate can positively affect someone’s work, family, and emotional life.

Most of the changes are positive, and all changes go into effect January 1, 2016.

Let’s start with the good stuff:

  1. Convictions for B Felony drug possession crimes will now be eligible for expungement without having to wait 20 years. This covers people convicted of possessing heroin, LSD, MDMA/ecstasy, psilocybin, and other schedule 1 controlled substances.
  2. Allows one non-traffic violation conviction without re-tolling the ten year waiting period for an expungement. This means that someone with an eligible misdemeanor or felony conviction and a violation conviction can have the misdemeanor or felony expunged now, rather than waiting 10 years from the date of the violation conviction. What is a non-traffic violation? Some examples are: nonpayment of trimet fare, theft or other misdemeanor reduced to a violation, pcs less than an ounce.

Here’s the not-so-good stuff:

  1. If the probation was revoked for non-compliance the waiting period to apply for expungement is now ten years from the date the probation was revoked.
  2. Prohibits expungement of Assault III if the victim was under ten years old at the time of the offense.

Overall, this is good news. The numbert of people who are now free to move forward with their expungements far outweighs those who are now ineligible or are required to wait a longer term before expungement. Have questions about your own case? Ready to make a fresh start in 2016? Give me a call; I would love to help.