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Oregon Criminal Law: An Overview

Crime does not pay—it costs! Committing a crime will cost you more than money and jail time, so it may be worthwhile to educate yourself about the Oregon criminal laws surrounding your case. By learning about the law and collaborating with a criminal defense attorney, you may even be able to reduce the costs of your crime.

Use LawInfo's criminal law articles to help educate yourself about Oregon's laws and how they affect your case. You can learn about the difference between misdemeanors and felonies, intoxicated driving charges and many other state-specific criminal law topics. You can also use LawInfo to connect with an Oregon criminal law attorney in Portland, Salem, Eugene or elsewhere in the state.

Oregon Criminal Record Expungement

A criminal record can impact the rest of your life beyond the sentence you'll serve. You'll find your employment opportunities limited and your finances strained by the numerous legal fees, to name a few consequences. Expunging your criminal record could possibly help to alleviate some of these stresses.

Record expungement (called “setting aside” a criminal record in Oregon) is a process in which a person's criminal record is sealed from public access and the original violations of sealed convictions are, in the eyes of the law, treated as if they never happened. A criminal may petition to have their record expunged three years after completely serving their sentence.

However, certain crimes may or may not be sealed in the process. (See the Oregon Revised Statutes § 137.225 for a complete list.) Crimes that are qualified for expungement include:

  • Class B felonies except for those involving firearms.
  • Unlawful possession of a Schedule I controlled substance.
  • Violations under state law or local ordinance.

Crimes that are disqualified for expungement include:

  • Criminal mistreatment in the first or second degree of a senior (age 65 or older) or a minor (age 17 or younger).
  • Class C criminally negligent homicide felonies.
  • Third-degree assault.
  • Most sex crimes except for Class C felonies.
  • State or municipal traffic offenses.
  • Class A and Class B felonies.

Crime Classifications in Oregon

Every state has its own system of classifying crimes which also identifies the statutory punishments for each classification. Oregon has two main criminal offense classifications, in order of seriousness: felonies and misdemeanors. (See § 161.505 et. al.)

Felonies are defined as crimes that are sentenced to more than one year of imprisonment. While most felony offenses carry their own statutory penalties, they are sub-classified further and each felony class carries its own range of penalties, including:

  • Class A felonies—Up to 20 years of imprisonment and $375,000 in fines.
  • Class B felonies—Up to 10 years of imprisonment and $250,000 in fines.
  • Class C felonies—Up to 5 years of imprisonment and $125,000 in fines.

Misdemeanors are crimes that are sentenced to one year of imprisonment or less. Just like felonies, misdemeanors are also sub-classified and each class carries its own range of penalties, including:

  • Class A misdemeanors—Up to one year of imprisonment and $6,250 in fines.
  • Class B misdemeanors—Up to six months of imprisonment and $2,500 in fines.
  • Class C misdemeanors—Up to 30 days of imprisonment and $1,250 in fines.
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