Getting A Clean Slate In The Age Of The Internet

This summer, the governor of Oregon approved a law that required websites that post mug shots of people arrested to remove the images within 30 days, without cost to anyone who can show they were never charged, were found not guilty or had their record expunged. These websites’ business model is to charge sometimes hundreds of dollars to remove the mug shot. While this information may be helpful, it can also do serious damage to reputations and aspirations of people who were exonerated or made a mistake in their past. The power of the internet allows the information to stay around for years and show up high in Google search rankings.

Obtaining an order to expunge a record of arrest in Oregon

An arrest or conviction of a family member can be an embarrassing and traumatic event, especially for a child. Mistakes made by young adults can remain as stains on their reputations, even years later when they have turned their life around. The most effective legal method available to remove these stains is to seek to have the criminal record expunged. When a record is expunged, it is not actually destroyed but the conviction itself is set aside and all relevant official records of it are sealed. The person can then truthfully answer in an employment application that they have never been convicted of a crime. The procedure to expunge a record usually requires a motion before the court, with a copy to the prosecuting attorney's office.

Not all convictions can be expunged. For example, sex crimes and child abuse may not be expunged. The person seeking to expunge a prior conviction will also have to meet certain conditions that are different for juvenile records and adult records, such as:

  • At least five years have elapsed for juvenile records and at least three years for adult convictions.
  • The person has not been convicted, charged or under investigation for another crime.
  • Records of juveniles can be expunged in the best interests of justice or when they turn 18 years-old and have a clean record.
  • An adult who was arrested but not charged within a year or was acquitted or had the charges dismissed.
  • An adult who fully complied with all requirements of their sentence, such as paying restitution.

If your family faces the prospect of a criminal prosecution, or your career advancement is being affected by a mistake in your past, contact the criminal law and family lawyers at Kell, Alterman & Runstein, L.L.P.

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