Not every arrest leads to a conviction in court. In fact, not every arrest leads to a prosecutor filing charges in court. Sometimes the police make an arrest but there is not enough evidence for a conviction, so the case does not proceed to a trial. However, even if you avoid a conviction or a trial at all, your previous arrest could still come back to haunt you.
If you apply for a job, the employer may conduct a background check on you and discover your arrest. This might cause the employer to refuse to hire you. It does not seem fair, but even an arrest without a conviction can cause people to look at you with suspicion. That is why you should consider expunging the record of your arrest.
Dismissed charges and acquittals
According to the Oregon State Bar, it is possible to expunge your record if an arrest did not result in your conviction. After an arrest, you may have gone to trial where a jury had acquitted you of the charges. Alternatively, a judge may have dismissed the case, or the police may have arrested you but a prosecutor did not file charges against you.
In all of these cases, you may seek an expunction of your arrest. In just about all of these instances, you may pursue an expunction immediately. However, if a prosecutor did not file charges against you in court following an arrest, you will have to wait for one year before trying for an expunction.
Conditions for expunction
To qualify for expunction, you must meet certain conditions. You cannot have other criminal charges pending against you. You should not have received a conviction for a non-traffic offense in the previous 10 years. The police cannot arrest you on a non-traffic offense within a three year period of the date you file for expunction.
Previous expunctions can also be a problem. If you had successfully expunged your record of a conviction from the past ten years, state law will not allow you to expunge a more recent arrest. In this case, it may take longer for you to pursue an expunction.