In Oregon, some information contained in juvenile records is available to the public. For this reason, it may be to your benefit to have your juvenile record officially sealed or expunged, following the guidelines below. Generally, after your record is sealed or expunged, it is treated as though it never existed. You are not required to disclose information about your sealed or expunged juvenile record to anyone -- for instance, to colleges or potential employers.
Does Your Juvenile Court Record Qualify for Sealing or Expungement?
The process of sealing or expunging your juvenile record in Oregon is called “expunction.” Expunction means either the complete destruction of your record or sealing it so that it is removed from public view.
Automatic deletion of fingerprint and photograph files. If you were fingerprinted and photographed as a youth, but no case was brought against you, your fingerprint and photograph records will be automatically deleted after either one year or five years have passed, depending on the circumstances of your case. (Oregon Statutes § 419A.250.)
Expunction of court records. You can apply for expunction of your juvenile record when you reach the age of eighteen. The juvenile court will grant your request for expunction if it finds that you were never within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court or if all of the following are true:
- at least five years have passed since the end of your juvenile case
- since your case ended, you have not been convicted of a felony or Class A misdemeanor
- no criminal or juvenile adjudication proceedings are pending against you
- you are not within the jurisdiction of any juvenile court for claims that you are being neglected or abused, that you are beyond parental control, that you are a danger to yourself or others, or that you have run away from home, and
- the juvenile department does not know of any pending investigations of you by a law enforcement agency.
Your record may also qualify for expunction if you were charged with prostitution when you were under the age of eighteen. Finally, the court may order expunction if it finds that sealing or destroying all or part of your juvenile record is in the best interests of both you and the public.
(Oregon Statutes § 419A.262.)
Exceptions. Records for serious offenses are not eligible for expunction. These offenses are listed in Section 419A.260 of the Oregon Statutes and include murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, first-degree assault, first-degree criminal mistreatment, first-degree kidnapping, most sexual offenses, serious vehicle offenses, and other crimes.
How to File
To seal or expunge your juvenile record, you must file an application in the juvenile court that handled your most recent case. Contact the court clerk’s office for more information.
Getting Legal Help
Clearing a juvenile record can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for sealing or expungement in Oregon -- or for help completing the necessary paperwork or presenting your case to the court -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.