How do I expunge my conviction for violating a restraining order?

Violation Is Contempt of Court, Not a Criminal Conviction

Violation of a restraining order, under the Family Abuse Prevention Act (ORS 107.718), actually is not a crime. Violation of a restraining order is contempt of court. This is important because violating a restraining order is not a criminal conviction, but rather a finding of contempt of court.

In a contempt of court sanction (ORS 33.105) proceeding, a judge has the authority to impose jail time or a fine (a maximum of 6 months jail and a maximum fine equaling $500 or one percent of annual gross income, whichever is greater). Punishment is a punitive sanction, not a sentence based upon a conviction. 

Only Criminal Convictions Can Be Expunged

Only criminal convictions are eligible to be expunged under ORS 137.225. Thus, because violating a restraining order is not a criminal conviction, it is not eligible for expungement.

Remember: Since violating a restraining order is not a crime, you should not list it as a criminal conviction if faced with that question on applications for jobs, housing, etc.

Rob Crow
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Licensed to practice law in all State & Federal Courts in Oregon.
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