What is Expungement? Am I eligible for an Expungement? How do I clear my criminal record? A criminal conviction can continue to negatively impact a person’s life after their case has been resolved and the requirements of probation have been completed. Continuing consequences of a criminal conviction include restrictions on housing, employment, and financial aid. Expungement is the process in which the record of a criminal conviction or arrest is erased. If you have a limited criminal record you may be eligible for expungement under Oregon law. The rules for expungement in Oregon (formally knows as an “order setting aside conviction or record of arrest”) are found in ORS 137.225.
Eligibility: In general, if you have a criminal conviction for an Oregon misdemeanor or Class C Felony that is at least 3 years old, you are eligible to have that conviction expunged and deleted from your record if you do not have any other convictions in the last 10 years and the conviction is not a traffic crime, sex crime, or one of a few other exceptions to the expungement rules. If you have more than one conviction, you have to wait until it has been ten years from the most recent conviction. If you had multiple convictions at once, you must also wait 10 years.
The Expungement Process: The process of expungement involves getting a motion, affidavit and order together, having them served on the District Attorney and the Court in your county of conviction and paying the necessary filing fees as well as getting a fingerprint card from local law enforcement to allow the DA's office to check your background. This process typically takes roughly three months from the time of the filing of the paperwork. If the DA objects to expungement, there will be a hearing allowing both sides to present evidence.
I am a criminal defense attorney based in Hillsboro, Oregon. My law office is in the heart of Washington County, and I represent people who are seeking to have their record expunged throughout the Portland metropolitan area.
Are you facing criminal charges in Oregon? Depending on the severity of the offense, you may be eligible for probation instead of jail time. An experienced Oregon criminal defense attorney can review the charges you are facing and advise you if probation is an option.
What is probation and am I eligible?
Probation allows an offender to serve their sentence while living in their community but under the close watch of a probation officer or the court. Those on probation must follow certain terms set by the court and their actions are closely observed. Probation can be offered immediately after being found guilty of a crime, or it can be a portion of a larger sentence including jail time.
Sentencing lengths for probation depend on the severity of the crime committed. Most probation sentences range from eighteen months to five years, though sentences can be shorter or longer depending on the case.
Not every offense is eligible for probation. If an offender has committed a minor crime and has never been convicted before, there is a better chance that they will be sentenced to probation instead of jail time. Probation is still considered a conviction and will be listed on your record, but it is a better alternative than serving a jail sentence.
Common Probation Terms
When sentenced to probation, each offender is given specific terms that they must follow. While specific terms are set on a case by case basis, some common terms of probation include:
Those who violate their probation terms, may face jail time or a longer period of probation. When a term of probation is violated, it is up to the assigned probation officer to determine if the violation warrants a warning or a more serious probation violation hearing. If a hearing is called for, a judge will determine if the probation terms were truly violated and will either assess additional penalties, more probation terms, revoke probation completely, or sentence the offender to jail time.
Quality Oregon Criminal Defense
Of course, avoiding a criminal conviction is the best option. In some cases, however, charges may be unavoidable, and probation is preferable to serving jail time. If you are facing criminal charges and are curious about probation, consult a qualified Oregon criminal defense attorney immediately. Portland area attorney Casey Kovacic can review your case and advise you on your best defense. Call (503) 693-8725 to schedule a consultation today.
When you are pulled over in Oregon on suspicion of DUI, the police will request that you perform a series of “field sobriety tests.” Their goal in asking you to do these “FST’s” is to determine if they have probable cause to make an arrest, and also to document any incriminating behavior that will strengthen the prosecution’s case.
Oftentimes, the officer will ask you to do these tests in a tone and manner that feels like you have little choice in the matter, so you may not be aware that these tests are actually voluntary.
Under Oregon law, you cannot be forced to take a FST, and you are free to refuse to submit to one when asked. Whether or not you should refuse, however, depends on the circumstances.
FST’s are comprised of three different tests: the horizontal gaze nystagmus (or HGN), the walk and turn, and the one-leg stand.
During all three of these tests, the officer will also be noting how well you can follow directions and your general disposition. If you are not cooperative or do not follow instructions, the officer will note that in his police report. The results of these tests will be included in the police report and will be used against you as evidence in court. Regardless of how well you think you will perform on these tests, keep in mind that these tests are highly subjective, and the success of your performance on them is left to the discretion of a police officer who already believes you are intoxicated and is looking for any evidence to support his suspicion. Clearly, there is an inherent bias in roadside tests that works against you.
In most instances, the field sobriety tests only provide the State with additional evidence against a defendant at trial. Just about any performance you give on these tests can be used as evidence against you.
Are you facing DUI charges and have questions about your arrest? Contact Oregon Criminal Defense attorney Casey Kovacic for DUI defense help in Hillsboro, Beaverton, Portland, Gresham, and throughout Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas County. Experienced in DUI defense, Mr. Kovacic will work hard to defend your rights in court.
In Oregon, when a felony case is initiated in court it must first go through a probable cause determination before the matter can be set for trial. There are two different forms in which this can occur.
The first is called a grand jury. This is where the prosecution presents the case to a group of citizens outside the presence of the defendant and criminal defense attorney, and the grand jurors are asked to determine whether probable cause exists based on the evidence presented to them by the prosecution. If the grand jury finds probable cause, they will return an indictment which then becomes the formal charging document in that particular case. If you have been charged with a felony crime in Multnomah County, Oregon your case will go through the grand jury process. However, if you have been charged with a felony crime in Washington County, Oregon the prosecution may elect to have a preliminary hearing instead. Washington County prosecutors tend to have preliminary hearings instead of grand juries in cases with relatively simple issues and few witnesses.
A preliminary hearing is similar in structure to a trial, however a judge, not a jury, is the factfinder and the burden of proof is much lower than that required at a criminal trial. At a criminal trial, the prosecution is required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. During a preliminary hearing the prosecution is required only to demonstrate that probable cause exists for the case to move forward in the court system. While your criminal defense attorney will be allowed to question witnesses, the scope of the questions is much more limited than a traditional trial.
A preliminary hearing can provide your criminal defense lawyer with insight into the weaknesses of the prosecution’s case. It also gives your criminal defense lawyer an opportunity to cross-examine key witnesses, most notably the arresting police officer. This cross-examination gives your attorney an early opportunity to lock in witness recollection. Later, at trial, if the witness tries to offer testimony different from what was offered at the preliminary hearing, your criminal defense lawyer can question the truthfulness of the witness.
While there are good reasons for a criminal defense attorney to hold a preliminary hearing, there is also a reason why a defendant might waive the right to have a preliminary hearing. Remember, plea offers are made at the discretion of the District Attorney’s Office, and they tend not to like preliminary hearings for all the reasons that criminal defense attorneys like them. Prosecutors also don’t like that preliminary hearings take valuable time and resources. If a defendant demands that the District Attorney have a preliminary hearing on a case, the plea offer may get worse. If there is a good plea offer on the table, or the potential for a good offer if the preliminary hearing is waived, a defendant may want to waive the hearing while talks between the prosecutor and the defendant’s criminal defense attorney continue forward.
If you or someone you know is charged with a felony in Hillsboro, Beaverton, Portland, or any other Portland area city, contact Hillsboro-based criminal defense lawyer Casey Kovacic.
Criminal Law Professor James Duane recently wrote an informative op-ed in the Los Angeles Times about the harm of speaking to police, even when you've done nothing wrong. In the article, Duane focuses on false confessions, which most people assume either do not happen, or only happen in rare circumstances to low-functioning or otherwise vulnerable citizens. He specifically mentions the case of Eddie James Lowery, who was a 22-year-old U.S. Army soldier stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas, when he was interrogated for an entire day about a rape and murder he never committed. Like a typical innocent man, he maintained his innocence for hours. And in typical fashion, the police officers acted open-minded, friendly, yet unconvinced. The police officers supplied Lowery with details of the crime – the house, the entry, the weapon, and specifics about the rape - details that were eventually incorporated into a confession. The false confession was given after hours of questioning and he was emotionally exhausted, and without a criminal defense attorney present. Lowery served more than 9 years in prison until he was released, after evidence surfaced that proved he was actually innocent.
The bottom line: Exercise your right to remain silent. If a police officer approaches you, ask the officer "Am I free to go?" If the officer says "yes," then you should leave. If the police officer says "no," then consider yourself a suspect and immediately exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Do not try to talk the police officer into letting you go. Even if you're not offering a confession, any statements you make can, and often are, taken out of context and used against you in your prosecution. The police will arrest you if they have probable cause to do so, but being aware of your rights and consulting with an Oregon criminal defense attorney before making any statements, will improve your situation. By not talking to police, you will give your Oregon criminal defense attorney a better opportunity to prepare an effective defense on your behalf.
You can learn more about the Eddie James Lowery case here.
Contact Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyer Casey Kovacic before speaking to the police.
No one expects to be pulled over and arrested for DUI and it’s something that can be confusing and frightening if you don’t know what to do. Unfortunately, we all make mistakes, and when you have to face the consequences it’s a good idea to be prepared. There are many important parts of your life at stake in a DUI case: your job, your income and your family will all be dramatically affected if you are convicted. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may even be looking at potential jail time and large fines. If you’ve been arrested, it’s important to contact a Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Portland area DUI attorney right away to avoid these and other potentially life-changing issues.
Before talking to anyone or answering any questions from the police, it’s imperative to speak with a lawyer who specializes in DUI cases. The best thing to do is to use your jail house phone call to contact a reliable relative or friend who can help bail you out of jail (if applicable), and who can get in touch with a reputable DUI attorney for you. You have a right to speak with an attorney after any arrest, so use that phone call wisely and make sure that an attorney is contacted as quickly as possible on your behalf.
Talking to attorney before you speak to anyone else gives you the chance to learn more about your rights in the situation before you start giving statements and potentially incriminating yourself. DUI laws are stiff in Oregon, and it’s easy to get yourself into deeper trouble when speaking to the police after an accident simply based on statements that you make. The advice that any DUI attorney will give you is to stay calm and politely refuse to answer any questions until your attorney is present. That’s the smartest approach you can take, and it can help spare you even bigger troubles down the road.
Know Your Rights in Oregon
Because of countless TV shows and movies, you're probably at least vaguely familiar with the phrase "Miranda rights" and the statement, "you have the right to remain silent." In Oregon, and the rest of the United States, you are given certain rights to protect yourself during a criminal investigation. Your rights to remain silent, to avoid self-incrimination, and to have an attorney are essential to remember when you are arrested or being interrogated by a law enforcement officer. Unsolicited statements made by you, as the defendant, are not protected under the constitutional rights listed in the Miranda warning. Statements made when you are pulled over during a traffic stop prior to an arrest also may be used against you at a later time. Your right to remain silent and secure the legal counsel of an attorney can make a huge difference in your case. Speak with a Hillsboro and Portland criminal defense lawyer to gain a full understanding of your rights.
Protect Your Rights With a Hillsboro, Beaverton, and Portland, Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyer
In the United States and Oregon justice systems, one important principle is that you are innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecutor holds the responsibility of proving that a defendant is guilty. It does not mean that hard work to defend your case is unnecessary. The prosecution may be very aggressive in their efforts to ensure that you are convicted. At The Law Office of Casey Kovacic, LLC, we will engage all available resources to ensure that your rights are protected. We can decrease the likelihood of a conviction by working hard to build a strong defense strategy. Our proactive technique can provide the jury with enough reasonable doubt to find the defendant not guilty of the alleged charge.
Exercise Your Rights
Police officers work hard to make you admit to your alleged wrongdoing. All interrogating questions are for the purpose of developing a case against you. If you are asked any incriminating questions, you should politely respond that you cannot answer these questions until after you consult your attorney. At any point, you can stop and ask to speak with an Oregon criminal defense lawyer before proceeding. Your lawyer can be present throughout interrogation and can assist you through the process. If you cannot afford a lawyer, a public defender will be assigned to represent you.
Whether your case involves drug crime charges, domestic violence, DUI, or any other felony or misdemeanor, we can provide you with the support you need. You can enlist the representation of The Law Office of Casey Kovacic for our committed service. We are dedicated to providing excellent customer service to each of our clients. Our firm knows and understands all of your rights and can ensure they are not violated during the legal process. Contact us today for more information.
Casey Kovacic is a criminal defense lawyer practicing in the greater Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. He handles every type of Oregon state criminal case. From DUI's and other misdemeanors to homicide charges, he brings an unwavering commitment to pursuing a fair and just outcome for every client he defends.