Oklahoma’s expungement law allows qualified persons to seal their criminal records. By sealing this criminal record, the information becomes unavailable to the public, therefore, increasing the person’s chances of applying to get better job opportunities, securing better housing, enroll in higher education, and more. The legal process requires the attention and expertise of experienced expungement lawyers like the Oklahoma expungement attorneys at Cannon & Associates who have handled several similar cases for clients seeking expungement of old criminal cases.
Expungement of criminal records is not automatic in Oklahoma. Persons who wish to pursue the process of criminal records expungement must also know that the type of expungement that is appropriate for each criminal case will vary. The choice of expungement will depend on whether the crime was a felony or a misdemeanor, whether the offender was a minor at the time of the offense or an adult, whether a protective order was issued against the offender and the time between the conviction and sentence completion, and other important expungement factors.
Criminal record expungements in Oklahoma, differ from pardons or clemency; however, they are still complicated. Obtaining a criminal expungement in Oklahoma can be a tough process, especially as the landscape is always changing. Offenders who wish to take advantage of this legal pathway to clearing their records must seek advice from experienced expungement lawyers.
The Oklahoma Expungement Effect
An Oklahoma expungement is an order that seals the record of your criminal charges and/or arrest. Alternatively, an Oklahoma expungement may seal your record, removing the existence of a criminal conviction or prior arrest from public access. This means the expunged record will remain sealed from public access but can be accessed by law enforcement authorities. In essence, the records are archived by law enforcement databases, but not destroyed. When needed, the sealed records can be petitioned for and this may lead to unsealing of the records if valid reasons are presented by the government.
There are many advantages related to having your criminal records sealed, i.e. expunged in Oklahoma. Following an expungement of criminal record, the criminal activity is deemed to have never existed which means that the offender’s employers, state and local government agencies, educational institutions, property management companies, and others will have no access to it. In addition, the offender will be under no legal obligation to disclose the information contained in the sealed records to anyone. In all practical application, once your record is expunged, you can honestly answer that you were never arrested, charged, or convicted of the prior offenses.
The Provisions for Expungements
Deferred Sentence 991c
A person is entitled to a 991c expungement at the end of successful probation if he/she was sentenced to a deferred sentence pursuant to the Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 991c or Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 2-410. This also includes DUI cases where the defendant was sentenced to a deferred sentence. This type of expungement does not seal the records, instead, it modifies the arrest and conviction record to read that the case was dismissed. In essence, the arrest and jail records remain intact but the outcome of the case is modified to dismissed.
Felony and Misdemeanor Expungement
This type of expungement is aimed at sealing the criminal record completely from public access. This type is hardest to pursue and is only available to persons who meet certain criteria including:
- Individuals that have been acquitted of a criminal charge
- Individuals whose convictions were reversed by an appellate court with instructions that their criminal case be dismissed
- Innocent individuals who have been convicted but cleared through the use of DNA evidence after conviction
- Individuals who have received full pardon as contained in a written document by the Governor
- Individuals who had been arrested but no charges were filed against them during the statute of limitations for the specific offense
- Individuals who were below the age of 18 at the time the offense was committed and have received a full pardon for the offense
- Individuals charged with one or more misdemeanor or felony crimes but all charges have been dismissed and the individual was never convicted, has no pending misdemeanor or felony charges, and the statute of limitations for re-filing the charges against them has expired or the prosecutor agreed to drop the charges.
- Individuals charged with a misdemeanor and the charges were dismissed at the completion of a deferred judgment or a delayed sentence, the individual has no prior criminal records, no pending misdemeanor or felony charge, and charges have been dismissed for at least 1 year.
- Individuals charged with nonviolent felony offenses as prescribed by Section 571 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes, charges were dismissed at the end of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, have no prior criminal convictions for a felony or misdemeanor offense, and at least 5 years have passed since the dismissal of the charges.
- Individuals who had been convicted of a misdemeanor offense (suspended sentence), have no prior criminal history, no pending misdemeanor or felony charges, and have completed the sentence for at least 5 years.
- Individuals who were convicted of nonviolent felony offenses as contained in Section 571 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes. The individual has no other felony conviction or pending misdemeanor or felony charges, or if with a misdemeanor conviction, the sentence was completed and at least 7 years have passed since the completion. The individual has no pending criminal case and at least 10 years have passed since the conviction. OR
- Individuals with two felonies or less with nonviolent crimes that are not contained in Section 571 of Title 57, the individual is not required to register as a sex offender, and at least 10 years have passed since the completion of the sentence.
- Individuals who have been charged or arrested or are subjects of an arrest warrant for a crime committed by another person who has stolen their identity without permission, consent, or authorization.
Contact Cannon & Associates to protect your rights and obtain an expungement of your record in Oklahoma. Complete the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation concerning your rights to seek expungement of your criminal record in Oklahoma.