Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions in Oregon
Crimes in the state of Oregon are classified as felonies and misdemeanors (ORS 161.515).. The criminal justice system designates the least serious offenses as infractions and felonies are the most serious, with comparatively harsher punishments. Oregon’s revised statutes lay out the definitions, penalties, and sentencing guidelines for each offense category. Summarily, Oregon crimes are tried on the basis of these categories.
What is a felony in Oregon?
In Oregon, a crime is a felony if it is classified as one by the state’s penal code. (ORS.161.525).. They are serious offenses that attract equally severe penalties. Felony crimes are offenses for which convicted persons may be sentenced to a minimum of one year in state prison. There are four classes of felonies in Oregon (ORS.161.535)::
- Class A felonies: this class of felonies is serious offenses which can attract penalties of up to 20 years in state prison or fines of up to $375,000 or both prison terms and fines (ORS 161.605, ORS 161.625). Manslaughter in the first degree is a Class A felony in Oregon. (ORS.163.118)
- Class B felonies: these are offenses punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years, a fine of $250,000, or both. Criminally negligent homicide is a Class B felony in Oregon (ORS 161.605, ORS.163.145)
- Class C felonies: the least serious class of felonies in Oregon are in Class C. Convicted persons can be sentenced to a maximum prison term of five years and required to pay a fine of up to $125,000 (ORS 161.605). Purchasing sex with a minor is a Class C felony in Oregon (ORS.163.413)
- Unclassified felonies: some felony crimes in Oregon are unclassified, and are punishable by penalties provided their defining statutes (ORS.161.605). The applicable fines will be fixed by the court as provided in the statutes. Aggravated murder is an unclassified offense and it is punishable by fines of up to $500,000. Unclassified felonies are also punishable by prison terms ranging from 30 years to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, temporary leave, or release.
If a person gains money or property by committing a felony, the court may require him to pay up to double the amount of money or property value he gained from the felony.
Depending on the circumstances of commission, some felony crimes can be punishable under more than one class. Examples of such felonies are inchoate crimes such as attempt, solicitation, and criminal conspiracy. Inchoate crimes are offenses committed in the process of the commission of another crime. They are acts of indirect participation in the commission of a crime. For example, Solicitation (ORS 161.435) is a:
- Class A felony, if the offense solicited is treason or murder
- Class B felony if a Class A felony is solicited
- Class C felony if a Class B felony is solicited
- Class A misdemeanor if a Class C felony is solicited
- Class B misdemeanor if a Class A misdemeanor is solicited.
What are some examples of felonies in Oregon?
Some examples of felonies in Oregon are:
- Laundering a monetary instrument
- Purchasing sex with a minor
- Abandonment of a child
- Bribing a witness
- Escape in the first degree
- Kidnapping in the first degree
- Buying or selling a person under 18 years of age
- Criminal impersonation of a public servant
- Arson incident to the manufacture of a controlled substance in the first degree
- Purchasing sex with a minor
- Unauthorized use of a vehicle, boat or aircraft
- Unlawful contact with a child
- Causing another person to ingest a controlled substance
- Compelling prostitution
- Rape in the first degree
- Sex offenses
In addition to prison sentences and fines, felony crimes have other consequences that can have long-term impacts on convicted persons. Persons convicted of felonies may be required to complete a probationary course. They cannot vote, serve on a jury, bear or own arms. They may also not be eligible for affordable housing, college admissions, and jobs that require practice licenses.
Can I get a Felony Removed from a Court Record in Oregon?
Persons who have been convicted of felony crimes in Oregon may file a motion to have the record of the crime set aside. This is known as expunction. If the motion is granted by the court, the record of the conviction will be set aside, and the applicant will be deemed as never convicted of the crime. Official records of the conviction and other records relating to the case will be sealed by order of the court. To be eligible for a conviction vacation:
- Three years must have passed since the judgment was passed
- All the requirements of the sentence must have been met
- No other records of arrests or convictions in the three-year period should exist
- There should be no pending convictions or cases in the 10 years before the application
Persons who are still on probation or supervision or who are still incarcerated have not completed the requirements of their sentence and are not eligible for expunction.
Most Class B and C felonies, with a few exceptions, are eligible for expunction. For Class B felonies, convicted persons can only apply for expunction 20 years after the conviction or completion of the terms of their sentence. Examples of offenses not eligible are:
- Criminal mistreatment
- Endangering the life of a minor
- Third-degree assault
- Sex crimes
- DUI citations
- Class A felonies
Is expunction the same as sealing court records in Oregon?
When a conviction record is set aside in Oregon, it is sealed by a court order. The original charge will be dismissed and the individual whose record was set aside will be deemed to have never committed the crime. They are not required to acknowledge the conviction, charge, or any other matter in relation to it. They may also file an application to have their voting rights restored. Having records of conviction set aside enables persons with felony convictions to rejoin society as contributing members. It makes them eligible for resources and opportunities which may otherwise be unavailable to them. Examples of such opportunities are low-cost housing, federal business loans, and college admissions.
Records that have been sealed are not destroyed or completely removed, but have become non-public records, accessible only to law enforcement agencies and authorized persons.
How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record in Oregon?
Until a felony record is sealed or vacated, it stays on a convicted person’s criminal history record. This limits the opportunities available to such persons, as records of their conviction(s) may be public, appearing in official or state-conducted background checks. If a person has a felony conviction on their criminal history record, they are not eligible to vote, serve on a jury, bear arms, or take up occupations that require professional licenses.
What is a Misdemeanor in Oregon?
In Oregon, misdemeanors are crimes so designated by the state statute ORS 161.545. They are less serious crimes than felonies but are also punishable by fines and jail terms. Misdemeanors are punishable by not more than one year in county jail (ORS 161.615).. There are four classes of misdemeanors in Oregon (ORS.161.555)::
- Class A misdemeanor: the most serious types of misdemeanors are in Class A. They are offenses punishable by up to 364 days in county jail and fines of up to $6250. Offenses designated as misdemeanors without specifications of class or penalty in their statutes are considered Class A misdemeanors. Initiating a false report is a Class A misdemeanor in Oregon (ORS 162.375)
- Class B misdemeanor: these are offenses punishable by up to six months in jail, fines of up to $2500, or both. Carrying of concealed weapons is a Class B misdemeanor in Oregon (ORS 166.240)
- Class C misdemeanor: the least serious misdemeanors are class C misdemeanors. They are offenses punishable by up to 30 days in county jail, fines of up to $1250, or both jail term and fine. In Oregon, offensive littering is a Class C misdemeanor. (ORS 164.805)
- Unclassified misdemeanors: these misdemeanors are punishable by different possible jail terms and fines. The applicable punishment is provided in the statute that defines the offense.
What are some examples of Misdemeanors in Oregon?
Some examples of misdemeanors in Oregon are:
Class A Misdemeanor:
- Unlawful entry into a motor vehicle
- Unlawful direction of light from a laser pointer
- Endangering the welfare of a minor
- Initiating a false report
- Possession of a false law enforcement ID
- Possession of a burglary tool
Class B Misdemeanor:
- Unsworn falsification
- Misuse of confidential information
- Unlawful sound recording
- Animal abandonment
- Unlawful legislative lobbying
- Intentional violation of restraining order
Class C Misdemeanor:
- Third-degree theft
- Abuse of venerated objects
- Encouraging animal abuse
- Misrepresentation of age by a minor
Can I Get a Misdemeanor Removed from a Record in Oregon?
- Have completed all the requirements of their sentence, including probation, incarceration, and any legal fines
- Do not have any pending criminal charges against them
- Have not been convicted of other crimes (excluding traffic violations) in the 10 years prior to application
- Have not set aside another crime in the past 10 years
Can a DUI Be Expunged in Oregon?
Driving Under the Influence of intoxicants (DUI) is a Class A misdemeanor that cannot be set aside in Oregon. A DUI is a Class C Felony if:
- The offense was committed in a motor vehicle
- The person has been convicted of a DUI three previous times in the last 10 years
In addition to other penalties specified by the state’s DUI statute (ORS 813.010),, first-offense DUIs are punishable by a minimum fine of $1000. Second-offense DUIs are punishable by a minimum fine of $1500, and where there is no jail term, third and subsequent offenses are punishable by a minimum of $2000.
What constitutes a Violation in Oregon?
Violations in Oregon are offenses so designated by the state statutes. Violations are not punishable by imprisonment terms but by fines. Other penalties, such as community service, may also be applied as part of a sentence, an alternative to fines or incarceration, or as a condition for probation. Common examples of violations in Oregon are traffic violations, fish and wildlife violations, and boating violations. For violation cases that require court appearances, Oregon courts do not appoint attorneys or cover legal fees. However, persons charged with violations may hire legal representation at their own expense.
There are four classes of violations in Oregon:
- Class A violations: the presumptive fine for Class A violations is $440, and the maximum fine for Class A violations committed by individuals is $2,000 (ORS 153.058)
- Class B violations: Class B violations are punishable by a presumptive fine of $265, and a maximum fine of $1000
- Class C violations: the presumptive fine for Class C violations is $165, and the maximum fine is $500
- Class D violations: Class D violations are punishable by a presumptive fine of $115 and a maximum fine of $250
For specific fines, the maximum fine is $2,000 or the maximum amount specified in the statute that defines the violation.
What are some examples of Violations in Oregon?
Examples of violations in Oregon include:
Class A Violations
- Failing to supervise a child
- Unlawfully applying graffiti
- Sale of educational assignments
- Engine braking
Class B Violations
- Failure to obey traffic control device
- Violating basic speed rule
- Use of marijuana in motor vehicle
- Failure to obey one-way designation
- Refusing to assist a peace officer
Class C Violations
- Unlawfully possessing a graffiti instrument
- Illegal U-turn
Class D Violations
- Dragging objects on the highway
- Unlawful or unsignaled turn
- Illegal backing
- Operation in violation of a variance permit
- Obstructing cross traffic
Can Violations be Expunged from an Oregon Criminal Record?
Most violations are eligible for expunction in Oregon. Expunction is the motion to set aside or seal a record of criminal convictions, charges, and arrests (ORS 137.225).. Traffic violations, such as violation of basic speed limit, and DUIs cannot be set aside.
If a person was arrested but not charged, the arrest record may be set aside after a waiting period of one year. If there was a charge that ended in a dismissal or an acquittal, the concerned person may apply to have the charges set aside immediately after the dismissal or acquittal. To be eligible for expunction, the following requirements must be met:
- The applicant must not be convicted of another crime at the time of filing the motion to set aside
- The applicant should not have had another conviction set aside in the 10 years prior to filing the motion
- For violations that qualify, a three-year wait period is required. A motion for application may be filed after the wait period.