Oregon law allows a Court to reduce Class C felony crimes to a misdemeanor. This can be done at the time of sentencing or later, after completion of probation. For many years, Courts in Oregon have held that people who reduce their felony to a misdemeanor after completion of probation do not have their gun rights restored. This was based on an interpretation of the Oregon law that forbids convicted felons from owning firearms. That law forbids anyone who “has been convicted of a felony” from owning a firearm. The Courts reasoned that a person who received a misdemeanor reduction after completion of probation had still “been convicted of a felony” for the time between the initial sentencing and the time the felony was reduced to a misdemeanor.
The Oregon Supreme Court disagreed with that reasoning in State v. Stark, decided on August 15, 2013. In that case, Mr. Stark had been convicted of a Class C Felony drug crime. After he completed his probation he asked the Court to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor. The Court granted the request and issued an order reducing the crime to a misdemeanor. Two years later Mr. Stark was found in possession of a firearm. He was prosecuted for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Mr. Stark went back to the Judge who reduced his felony to a misdemeanor and asked the Judge to enter an Amended Judgment (rather than an Order) reducing his felony to a misdemeanor and asked that the Judge make it retroactive to the date of his first sentencing, which the Judge did. Mr. Stark was convicted of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm and he appealed argued that he was innocent because his felony conviction had been reduced to a misdemeanor.
The State cited older cases which held that people who have received a misdemeanor reduction after probation are still convicted felons under Oregon Law. The Oregon Supreme Court rejected that argument, holding that when a Court enters an Amended Judgment reducing a person’s felony to a misdemeanor that person is no longer a felon under Oregon law. This is a substantial change in Oregon law.
However, there is a catch. The Oregon Supreme Court affirmed Mr. Stark’s conviction because no Amended Judgment reducing his felony to a misdemeanor had been entered, only an Order, which was not enough. The Court noted that the Amended Judgment that was deemed “retroactive” by the prior Judge was not valid.
If you have had a felony reduced to a misdemeanor, we can now file an Amended Judgment and restore your gun rights. If you have an eligible felony conviction, we can take you through the reduction process and have it reduced to a misdemeanor conviction.
We have great success in misdemeanor reduction hearings. As an Oregon Gun Rights Lawyer, I help many people regain their Second Amendment Rights through a variety of different processes.
By James F. O’Rourke Jr.
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