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Criminal charges, especially a conviction, can have a lasting effect on your life and career. Fortunately, Oklahoma allows for the expungement or removal of criminal records from your history, if certain conditions are met. An experienced Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer may be able to have your criminal charges erased or expunged permanently, if you meet the Oklahoma statutory criteria. The first step to seek an expungement of criminal charges on your record is to contact an experienced Oklahoma criminal defense attorney. CANNON & ASSOCIATES is dedicated to Fierce Advocacy for those seeking to erase past mistakes and obtain an expungement. Once you have hired an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney, you can begin the detailed process of seeking an expungement through the court system.

Overview of Criminal Expungement in Oklahoma

There are two types of expungements in Oklahoma: § 18 and § 991c expungements. Both types are found within Title 22, Criminal Procedure, of the Oklahoma Statutes. Both types of expungements will result in your public record being erased or expunged; however, neither type of expungement will prohibit law enforcement from identifying your prior record.

  • 18: Complete Expungement: this action completely removes charge(s) from your record. Your arrest record is sealed and not visible anyone, except law enforcement or those will access to law enforcement records. It is more difficult to obtain, but more beneficial to your future as well. It includes sealing civil public records from the same transaction. “Expungement” for § 18 purposes means:

The sealing of criminal records, as well as any public civil record, involving actions brought by and against the State of Oklahoma arising from the same arrest, transaction or occurrence.

  • 991c Expungement: this action removes charge(s) from your record; however, it does not remove or expunged as much information from your record as a Section 18 expungement. This type of expungement does not affect your arrest record; however, it removes or changes the information available publicly on you case. §991 expungements only apply to deferred sentences that have been dismissed.

The court clerk will remove the record of your case from public view when you receive a Section 991c expungement. Although not as powerful as a Section 18 expungement; a Section 991c expungement will stop anyone from viewing your record at the courthouse or more importantly on OSCN. The Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation (“OSBI”) will also amend their paperwork to reflect a not guilty plea and dismissal of your charge(s) or case.

What is the difference between a Sealed Record and an Expunged Record?

Surprisingly, these two terms mean the same thing under Oklahoma criminal law. A criminal expungement in Oklahoma is really a sealing of the record from public view/access. Therefore, your Section 18 or Section 991c expungement erases public access to your charge(s), not the charge(s) itself.

Will my record be Expunged Automatically?

No, your record will not be automatically expunged. This is an unfortunately common misconception under Oklahoma criminal expungement law. Many individuals wrongly believe their case will be expunged after their deferred sentence is over; however, it is not that simple. Even cases taken off the OSCN website are not necessarily removed/expunged from the OSBI records. Although, the record may not be visible online; it is still maintained by OSBI and available when someone digs for information.

Can police see my arrest or charges after an expungement?

Yes, criminal “expungements” in Oklahoma are actually the sealing of your record. The record is sealed to everyone, except law enforcement. Even complete expungement under Section 18, removing an arrest record, are still visible to law enforcement. However, Section 18 expungements will remove the ability of someone conducting a civilian background check to see the arrest record.

What are the Requirements for Expungement?

You must meet at least one of the listed requirements in OKLA. STAT. tit. 22 § 18 to qualify for an expungement in Oklahoma:

  • First offense;
  • Non-violent offense and 10 years have passed without new charges;
  • Acquitted of charges;
  • Conviction was reversed;
  • Pardon granted;
  • Under 18 at the time of the offense;
  • The charges were dismissed

Can any Records never be Expunged?

In addition to the requirements stated above, some offenses do not allow for expungement. Violent felonies cannot be expunged under most circumstances. You may qualify for an expungement for a felony conviction, if the charge was non-violent and you received a pardon.

All charges ineligible for expungement will forever appear on your record. Traffic offenses are not eligible for expungement; however, they are automatically removed from your driving record after three (3) years.

Evidence of the commission or conviction of a former offense can be used as credibility or impeachment evidence in a later case.

Fingerprint cards collected by law enforcement are not eligible for expungement or destruction, as Oklahoma criminal expungement laws do not allow for the destruction of any type of evidence.  OSBI may maintain this type of evidence; however, it will not be accessible to the public.


When your case is concluded and you desire to seek an expungement; contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES in Oklahoma City.


Our firm will do everything possible to seek an expungement of your arrest and charges, if you are eligible for an expungement. You may have a statutory right to seek an expungement after the completion of your case. Our firm will help you identify if you qualify and walk you through the process of obtaining an expungement.

John has been recognized as a Top 40 under 40 in Criminal Defense by the National Trial Lawyers Association. Additionally, he has an outstanding record of reaching the best possible outcome for hundreds of clients accused of the wide variety of criminal charges, as evidenced by receiving the highest possible AVVO rating – 10 (superb). Contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES today for a free confidential consultation.

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