Can You Expunge A DUI In Oregon?
By the numbers, misdemeanor DUI charges in Oregon are the most common criminal charges in the entire state. More than drugs, domestic violence, assaults, and thefts.
A DUI is also what an otherwise law-abiding, responsible person might find themselves facing. Any social drinker can get charged with a DUI. Any cannabis enthusiast can get charged with a DUI. Anyone taking controlled substances prescribed buy their doctor– and taken as directed– can find themselves charged with DUI.
It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. But in a technical legal sense, being on the receiving end of a DUI can make you a criminal. At least on paper or online.
What Will Be On My Record After An Oregon DUI?
Before we can have a conversation about cleaning up your record in Oregon after a DUI, we need to have a discussion about the type of records we are talking about. We also need to have a discussion about the mechanism for cleaning the record up.
Most drivers in Oregon who receive a DUI will be arrested. Meaning, they will be handcuffed roadside, and taken to the local jail. At the jail, they will be booked and printed. This means they will be photographed (mugshot taken) and fingerprinted, and a DUI arrest will be entered on their record.
Later, if the accused driver takes Oregon’s DUI Diversion Program, a conviction will not be entered, but the arrest will remain. If the accused driver pleads “no contest” or guilty– or if they are found guilty after a trial, a conviction will be entered on their record.
What Records Contain An Oregon DUI?
This question has a lengthy answer, but we’ll try to not go too far down a rabbit hole.
The records that might contain a DUI arrest or conviction in Oregon are:
- The arresting law enforcement agency will maintain a record of the DUI investigation.
- The local county or city jail will have a record of the DUI arrest.
- The Oregon DMV maintains a driving record for Oregon drivers.
- The Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings may have a record of the DUI, if you request and have a DMV Implied Consent Hearing.
- The local county Circuit Court will have a record of the DUI proceedings.
- The local city attorney or county District Attorney’s office will have a record of the DUI investigation and court proceedings.
- The local probation department, ADSS evaluator, and treatment provider will likely have a record of the DUI investigation and court proceedings.
In addition to the records above, two categories warrant a longer discussion.
Public And Private Databases That Store Oregon DUI Information
Private data bases, newspapers (online and print), and various websites may contain records of your DUI arrest, mugshot, booking details from the jail, the charges, and the disposition of the case.
For several years, “scrappers” (computer code that would scan, download, and save data from online government agencies), would repost arrest and court records online, on unsavory shaming websites were very popular. There are also a few weekly/monthly papers sold at Plaid Pantry and other local convenience stores in Oregon which feature nothing but mugshots and arrest records. They go by names like “Busted!” and “PDX Mug Shots.” This is unfortunate, but there’s not much that can be done about these sites and papers because the records are public.
There are also a number of public records databases online, and they are essentially scrappers with better packaging. Some examples are: Radaris, BeenVerified, Intelius, Spokeo, White Pages Reverse Lookup, Instant Checkmate, Infotracer, PeopleFinders, etc.
There are additional private databases maintained and accessed by insurance companies, for example, which will contain records of traffic offenses such as DUIs.
Oregon DUIs And Official Criminal History Records
The National Crime Information Center’s Computerized Criminal History (CCH) program was developed decades ago for the comprehensive and rapid dissemination of criminal information. It’s now essentially been replaced by Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS).
When most people are taking about their “record” or asking “Will my Oregon DUI will show up on my record?” they are referring to their CCH or LEDS records, because these are the official records of law enforcement. These are also records which would most likely show up in any background checks.
Attorneys in private practice are not able to pull or print CCH or LEDS records. They can only be accessed by law enforcement agencies, and attorneys working for the government (e.g. Department of Justice, local District Attorneys, and City Attorneys). But as part of your criminal case, you will often receive a CCH or LEDS printout so you can see what it looks like. There will typically be a name, address, date of birth, drivers license number, some descriptors (sex, hair color, eye color, tattoos, etc), and then a running list of all criminal arrests, charges, and the dispostion of those charges (e.g. dismissed, diversion, convicted, acquitted, etc).
The remainder of this article will be focused on what can be removed from Oregon Circuit Court Records, CCH, and LEDS.
What’s The Difference Between An Expungement, Order To Set Aside, And Order Sealing Record?
An expungement is the removal of an arrest and/or conviction from a driver’s official government records. When most drivers ask about whether an Oregon DUI can be expunged, they are asking if the arrest and/or conviction can be removed from their record.
An order setting aside and arrest or an order setting aside a conviction is the technical, legal description for removing an arrest and/or conviction from an official government record.
An order sealing a record is– as the name implies– an order making the official records of a DUI sealed and only accessible by an additional order from the Court, or only accessible to certain select individuals. Orders sealing DUI records are very rare in Oregon.
Notwithstanding all the different options for technical language, by far the most popular expression remains “expunge, expungement or expunged.” When people ask if they can get rid of their DUI arrest, diversion, or conviction, they ask if they can “expunge their DUI.” Just be aware that Oregon black letter law doesn’t use the word “expungement.” It’s called an “order setting aside conviction or record of criminal charge” or an “order to set aside arrest” or “order to set aside conviction.”
The statue in Oregon which allows some arrests and convictions to be set aside is ORS 137.225.
What Is A DUI Arrest In Oregon?
When most people think of an arrest, they think of handcuffs. That is, the act of being placed in handcuffs and being told by a police officer that you are under arrest. But an arrest can also be more subtle: The act of being booked into a jail, fingerprinted, and having their photograph / mugshot taken. The Court will often refer to this as a “book and release.” Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that even if you did not hear from the police officer that you were under arrest, and even if you never spent anytime in jail, you very likely have an “arrest record” because the Court will enter one if you’ve been booked on a charge.
Can You Expunge A DUI Arrest In Oregon?
In most cases, no. There are really only two circumstances in which you can expunge or set aside a DUI arrest in Oregon.
The first situation would be if you were arrested for DUI and the case was never charged, or dismissed prior to a “no contest” or guilty plea. For example, if the City Attorney or District Attorney were to decline to file charges due to a lack of evidence or a legal issue, or if the prosecutor were to dismiss the case following a motion to suppress or other hearing restricting evidence.
The second situation would be if you took your DUI case all the way through trial, and you were acquitted. Most people who are eligible for Oregon’s DUI Diversion Program would not do this because the cost of trial and the risk of losing.
Can You Expunge A DUI Diversion In Oregon?
No. Not under current Oregon law (as of late 2021). The fact that you were arrested, charged, and entered into Oregon’s DUI Diversion Program will remain on your record indefinitely– unless and until Oregon law on this topic changes.
However, keep in mind that if you successfully completed the DUI Diversion Program and the charge was dismissed, there is and will not be a conviction on your record. This is very important to keep in mind, and to also mention to anyone asking you questions about the disposition of your DUI case.
Many states do not have DUI diversion programs, and therefore there is a great deal of misunderstanding as to how someone can be arrested for DUI, cited for the crime, charged with a crime, plead “no contest” or guilt to a crime, but then the criminal case is dismissed.
If you need assistance explaining this to an employer or government official, our office can assist by drafting a letter explaining Oregon’s DUI Diversion Program and the ultimate disposition of your DUI charge and case.
Can You Expunge A DUI Conviction In Oregon?
No. Not under current Oregon law (as of late 2021). An exception would be if you were able to appeal your case, the conviction were overturned, the case were to be re-opened, and then the newly re-opened case were to be dismissed or you were acquitted at trial or re-trial.
What If I Have A DUI From Another State?
This article is only about Oregon law, because our firm only represents clients in Oregon. However, many other states actually make expunging, setting aside, or sealing DUI records easier. You’d want to contact a criminal defense attorney or DUI attorney in the other state– preferably the city or county where you received the DUI.