Can I Expunge Multiple Charges or Convictions in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma law regarding the sealing and expungement process from criminal records has recently changed. The new law was signed on the 2nd of May, 2022. This new law makes the expungement process possible for all misdemeanors, and a number of non-conviction felony criminal records. Before this point, laws allowing records to be expunged did already exist, but now the total options available under Oklahoma expungement laws have expanded.
This article will explain the concept of expunging a criminal record, as well as show what criminal record types are eligible for expungement. If you need more information, or would like to seek expungement of your records, our experienced team of lawyers is here to help you.
It all starts with a free consultation with one of our attorneys, who will go through the details of your conviction and arrest record and let you know the specifics of your situation and what to expect.
Do not let your past define you. Call Cannon & Associates today at 405-591-3935 for a free consultation.
What Does It Mean To Have A Criminal Record Expunged Or Sealed?
While often used in very similar scenarios, sealing and expungement are two different parts of the same process.
Sealing is what comes first in the expungement process. When records are first expunged they are actually sealed in the legal sense, so both the physical records and their legal existence remains. This means that the criminal record can still be used as evidence for a future criminal conviction by the prosecution, if that person is alleged to have committed another crime.
However, at this stage, the criminal record ceases to be part of the public records. This means that the record is unavailable to scrutiny from any form of public interest. Often, the most important public party it is hidden from is prospective employers – so you can rest assured that your past will no longer impact your future job prospects.
The second stage of the expungement process is the true expungement. This means that all arrest records and conviction records are destroyed entirely. This second stage is only available once a record has been expunged (or, technically, sealed) for ten years. Furthermore, the expungement must be ordered – but, once again, this is something a lawyer can help you with.
Can A Person Expunge Multiple Charges Or Convictions In Oklahoma?
The good news is that it is technically possible to have multiple charges and convictions expunged under the latest Oklahoma statutes – in some cases, it is even possible for a person to get more than one felony conviction expunged.
However, this does not mean that all prior criminal convictions are eligible for expungement. No violent felony conviction may be expunged, and there are also limits on which types of nonviolent felony offense may be expunged. Furthermore, you can only have a maximum of two non-violent felonies expunged in your lifetime. In some cases, a nonviolent felony offense may be downgraded to a misdemeanor charge.
We will cover all of the intricacies of these situations throughout this page.
Reasons To Pursue Record Expungement In Oklahoma
There are many reasons why someone might want to have their misdemeanor or felony charges or arrest history expunged. Depending on the severity of the charges and whether the conviction was successful or not, a criminal record may prevent a person from:
- Entering certain countries for tourism reasons, or moving to another country.
- Entering into gainful employment – the presence of a criminal record is often used as justification for declining an otherwise suitable job candidate.
- Moving into their dream apartment, as criminal background checks are often a part of property checks.
- Accessing certain educational or training programs, thus preventing a person from improving their life.
- Buying or owning a firearm and exercising their second amendment rights.
- Gaining certain professional and leisure licenses.
- Being able to vote.
All of the above can have a considerable impact on the life of someone who was accused or convicted of misdemeanor or felony charges. They can stop that person from exercising their earned freedom, improving their life, and moving away from the weight of the past.
The good news is that, thanks to the latest Oklahoma statutes, the legal requirements for the expungement process are accessible to more people than ever. With the help of one of our attorneys, you may no longer need to be haunted by reminders of the past.
Which Records Are Removed By The Expungement Process?
Expungement means clearing a person’s entire set of records relating to that accusation, case or conviction. This means the arrest warrant and other records relating to the arrest, the plea record, and all court records.
As mentioned earlier, individuals convicted or charged with multiple crimes may be able to have all of their records expunged – as long as those records are all eligible for expungement, they can be filed for expungement in the same petition. However, if the records are spread across different counties, a separate petition must be submitted for each county.
What Records Are Eligible For Oklahoma Expungement?
Oklahoma legislature makes expungement a possibility in a large range of situations, these include:
- If you were acquitted of felony or misdemeanor charges.
- If your conviction got reserved and was instructed to be dismissed, or the appellate court of competent jurisdiction reversed it, and the prosecuting agency subsequently dismissed the case.
- If you had your factual innocence proven through the use of DNA analysis technology or some other route to the truth – even if you have already served your entire sentence and even if it was a violent felony conviction.
- If you received a complete legal pardon.
- If you were arrested and had no charges filed against you, including different charges to when you were originally arrested, and either the prosecuting agency confirms its intention not to file charges or the statute of limitations on your case expires.
- If you were less than 18 years of age when the offense was committed and you have since received a complete legal pardon.
- If you have been charged with one or more misdemeanor or felony charges and had all these charges dismissed. In this situation, you must never have been a convicted felon, not have any misdemeanor or felony charges pending, the statute of limitations for re-filing the charges must have expired or the prosecuting agency must declare their intention not to re-file – this does not count if your charges have been dismissed after the successful completion of a delayed sentence or deferred judgment.
- If you received a misdemeanor charge and this charge was dismissed after the successful completion of a delayed sentence or deferred judgment more than one year ago. You must also never have been convicted of a felony nor can you have any pending felony or misdemeanor charges against you.
- If you got charged with a nonviolent felony offense that is not covered by 57 O.S. § 571. The charge must have been dismissed after the successful completion of a delayed sentence or deferred judgment at least five years ago, you must never have been convicted of a felony, and have no misdemeanor or felony charges pending against you.
- If you were convicted on a misdemeanor charge, but your misdemeanor sentence was simply a fine of less than $501 without any additional prison time or a suspended sentence. You must have paid the fine in full, never been convicted of a felony, and have no active felony or misdemeanor charges pending against you.
- If you were convicted for at least one misdemeanor offense and have completed your last misdemeanor sentence at least five years ago. You must not be a convicted felon or have any felony or misdemeanor charges pending against you.
- If you have been convicted of the maximum of two nonviolent felony crimes, with the most recent felony sentence having finished at least ten years ago. These non-violent felony convictions must not have caused you to be placed on the sex offender’s register. You must also not have any felony or misdemeanor charges pending against you.
- If you have been convicted of a single nonviolent felony and the sentence finished at least five years ago, and it was your first felony conviction, and you have not been convicted of separate misdemeanor charges in the past seven years. You must also not have any felony or misdemeanor charges pending against you.
- If you have been convicted of a nonviolent felony that was then reclassified and became a misdemeanor. You must not be serving a sentence for any other crime (both inside Oklahoma and in any other state). 30 days must have passed since your sentence was completed – including treatment programs, even if they resulted in an accelerated or revoked sentence.
- If you were the victim of identity theft or mistaken identity on the part of law enforcement agencies.
- If you received a prostitution charge as a result of human trafficking activity.
As you can see, there are many situations that could lead to your eligibility for an expunged record. Unfortunately, many of these are complex and can sometimes be difficult to understand.
Fortunately, you do not have to wonder whether you might be eligible for expungement. You can simply pick up the phone and call us for a free consultation today, and we will go through the specifics of your situation and let you know if you stand a chance of having your criminal past erased.
Your Expungement Request May Be Rejected
Unfortunately, even if you do fulfill the criteria listed in the section above, you are not guaranteed to have your records expunged.
Both the Oklahoma State Bureau (OBSI) and the state can object to your request for expungement and prevent it from happening. They do not have to provide justification for why they are doing this.
The Process Of Getting Your Records Expunged In Oklahoma
If you want to get your criminal records expunged, this is the process you will need to follow:
- Obtain a copy of your criminal history from the Oklahoma State Bureau by completing a criminal history report request form and mailing, faxing, or hand delivering it. You must also pay the required fee of $15.
- If any of your records qualify for expungement, you will then need to petition the district attorney of the area where your arrest record is located.
- After receiving your hearing date, you will need to give a copy of the petition to the district attorney, the Oklahoma State Bureau, the arresting agency, and anyone else involved in your case. You will need to collect all their signatures and bring them to your hearing.
- Attend the hearing date, which may be attended by the arresting agency, the prosecuting agency, the Oklahoma State Bureau, and anyone else who the court deems may have vital information pertaining to the expungement of your record.
How Long Does The Process Of Getting Your Records Expunged Take?
The paperwork for the expungement petition process takes around a month or so to be completed, on average. This time frame includes the time taken for the copies to be delivered to the arresting law enforcement agency, the OBSI, and the prosecution.
There will then be a month’s delay between the hearing request and the hearing itself. Then allow another month for the clerk to receive the order of expungement. Then, finally, the actual expungement process takes around a month.
However, please be aware these are best-case estimates. There are numerous things that can slow down the process. Your lawyer may be able to hurry the process along and remove blockers from your path more quickly.
Hire A Lawyer To Help With Your Record Expungement
If you have a prior conviction or have been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor, there is a good chance that you may be able to get your court record and other such records expunged. Your sealed arrest information and other criminal records will no longer be available to the public, and will be unable to weigh your future life down.
Free yourself from the shackles of your past record. Call an experienced lawyer today for a free consultation at 405-591-3935.
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