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Felony Marijuana Convictions and Expungement in Oregon

December 21, 2016

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  • It has been widely reported that Oregon has recently decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana. What has gained much less media attention are changes to Oregon law that now permit many Oregonians with prior felony convictions to clean up their criminal records by setting aside most marijuana-related offenses.

    In 2015, the Oregon legislature made very significant changes intended to allow most people with Oregon marijuana convictions to “set-aside” or expunge these convictions to remove them from their criminal record. Specifically, House Bill 3400, (2015 Session) changed which types of marijuana felonies are eligible for expungement, significantly expanding the types of marijuana-related offenses which can be removed from an Oregon criminal record.

    Under prior law, a conviction for delivery of marijuana was typically treated as a Class B Felony, and would require twenty years to pass from the date of conviction to become eligible to set-aside or expunge the conviction. Oregon’s new law now treats this type of conviction as a Class A Misdemeanor for expungement purposes, making it much easier to qualify to remove them from your criminal record. To be clear, a prior felony conviction would still be treated as a felony on your criminal record under this new law—the consequences of having a felony conviction do not change due to this law.

    “Instead, Oregon’s new law makes it much easier to set-aside, or completely remove the conviction by treating the felony conviction as a misdemeanor for purposes of qualifying to remove the conviction entirely from your record.”

    This is a very narrow provision of this new law, and often the district attorney’s offices and Judges fail to accurately understand how it operates. On numerous occasions, our law firm has had to explain how these new provisions operate to both judges and district attorneys. The law is written in a way that is somewhat hard to understand, and many courts have not yet had these issues come before them. If you would like more information about expunging an Oregon felony marijuana conviction from your record, take our free expungement eligibility test here or call us.

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