Can I Have My DUI Expunged?
In Oklahoma, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited under criminal law. If an individual is convicted of a DUI offense, they will have a criminal record, which can last for a long time. A criminal record can have severe consequences and can negatively impact the rest of your life. You may face difficulties applying to jobs, getting loans with banks, and applying for public housing, and your record will be looked at when applying to an educational institution.
Luckily, it is possible to get your DUI records expunged in Oklahoma, provided that you can meet certain requirements. The expungement process is often quite complicated and can take a lot of time, which is why we recommend getting help from an experienced DUI lawyer.
At Cannon & Associates, we have over 30 years of experience handling DUI cases, and we have helped many of our clients get their records expunged. Our law firm has seen how having a permanent record can seriously impact your life, and we want to help you start fresh and get a clean record. We offer a free consultation for you to speak with our lawyers about your case with no strings attached.
Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation at 405-591-3935.
What Is DUI Expungement?
As previously noted, when you get are convicted of a criminal offense in Oklahoma, you automatically get a criminal record. This means that when a potential employer, government official, or law enforcement looks at your record, they can see that you have committed a crime.
Expungement is essentially the process of making this record clean. When you meet certain requirements, you are eligible to get your criminal convictions expunged, or cleaned, from your criminal record. This means that all evidence relating to your case, court records, police records, and documents will all be sealed by the court. As a result, when someone conducts a background check, such as an employer or a college, they will be unable to see your previous drunk driving conviction.
Although expungement cleans your record, law enforcement officers or government bodies conducting an investigation may still be able to see your DUI conviction upon official request. It is important to note that your driving record is separate from your criminal record, and a DUI will remain on this record for a period of ten years.
How Are DUI Convictions Expunged?
In Oklahoma, there are two main types of expungement, Section 991 (c) Expungement and Section 18 Expungement. The type of expungement you are entitled to will depend on your particular circumstances and the type of DUI conviction that you have received.
Section 991(c) Expungement
A section 991(c) expungement or a partial expungement seals your criminal record and prevents any members of the public from accessing it, such as employers and educational institutes. However, it does not seal your record completely and it will still be visible to law enforcement agencies, courts, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). Your drunk driving offense will appear on your record as a criminal case that was dismissed.
This type of expungement only applies to individuals that have received a deferred sentence for their DUI offense, which is essentially a probation period in which the judge holds off on giving a judgment for a certain period of time. This period is typically twelve-eighteen months for a misdemeanor conviction. For a felony DUI, the period is much longer. If you adhere to the DUI probation rules, the court will write on your record that you were found not guilty and your case will be removed from online databases.
Section 18 Expungement
Section 18 expungement is a full expungement of your criminal record for driving under the influence. With a section 18 expungement, your criminal arrest, charge, guilty plea, court proceedings, and anything related to your DUI case will be cleared from the record.
Section 18 DUI expungement cases are the most desirable type of expungement, as the DUI conviction will no longer appear on your criminal record and you can honestly say to a prospective employer or state agency that you do not have any DUI convictions on your record.
Who Can Get a DUI Conviction Expunged?
For a partially expunged conviction, or section 991(c), a person must have completed a deferred sentence to qualify for this type of expungement. Most people then try to get a full expungement of their record, as this almost completely erases the criminal charge. In order to qualify for a full DUI expungement (section 18 expungement), you must meet certain requirements and wait for a specified period of time before filing an expungement petition.
Those who are entitled to file an expungement petition include:
- DUI convictions with a deferred sentence.
- First-time offenders with misdemeanor convictions.
- Misdemeanor convictions with jail time and/or fines.
- Felony DUI conviction with no prior conviction for a felony.
- In some cases, a felony DUI conviction with a prior conviction for a felony, provided the felony conviction was not a violent crime.
How Long Does DUI Expungement Take in Oklahoma?
The waiting period for expungement cases depends mostly on the type of DUI conviction you received and your previous criminal history. In order to qualify for expungement, you must have paid off all court costs and paid the relevant fines. You must also have no previous felony convictions, and the length of time will be increased if you have subsequent convictions. By not paying fines or court costs, you will be unable to get your DUI record expunged.
- Deferred sentence – If you have already received a deferred sentence, you can expunge a DUI conviction completely after one year. You must have no previous felony convictions and no pending misdemeanor or felony charges.
- Misdemeanor – For a misdemeanor with a suspended sentence or jail time, you must wait five years before you can apply for a DUI expungement. If your penalty was a fine of less than $500, you can apply for an expungement as soon as you pay the fines and court fees.
- Felony with a suspended sentence – After five years, you can expunge a felony DUI with a suspended sentence. However, you must not have any prior convictions within the past 7 years, including misdemeanors.
- Felony with jail time – If you were sentenced to time in state prison because of your felony DUI, you can get your conviction expunged 5 years after your sentence is completed.
- Felony with a previous felony conviction – It may be possible to get your DUI record expunged if you have a felony DUI and a previous felony conviction, provided that the previous felony was not for a violent or serious criminal offense, and did not require you to register as a sex offender. You can apply for an expungement in this situation after ten years have passed.
It is important to note that once you have filed the petition for expungement, it can take up to six weeks to be processed by the court. If you are trying to expunge a felony DUI, this process can take even longer. We recommend that you seek professional help when trying to get your DUI record expunged. Call our law firm today to discuss your options with one of our DUI lawyers.
Consequences Of a DUI Conviction
Being convicted of DUI in Oklahoma can have serious consequences. The state takes a tough approach to those who are found driving under the influence due to the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents caused each year by drunk driving. For a first DUI conviction, you may face the following penalties:
- Fees of up to $1,000.
- License-related consequences, such as losing your driving privileges or having an ignition interlock device installed on your steering wheel.
- Jail time of up to one year.
For your second DUI conviction in a ten-year period, you may face the following penalties:
- Fines of up to $2,5000.
- Prison time from one to five years.
- Automatic license suspension.
- Community service and court-mandated alcohol rehabilitation programs.
For any subsequent drunk driving convictions, the penalties are much more severe:
- Up to twenty years in jail.
- Fines of up to $5,000.
- Suspension of your license for more than three years.
- Community service and court-mandated alcohol rehabilitation programs.
Being convicted of a DUI can also make it much more difficult to get registered with an insurance company after. If your current insurance company continues to provide its services, you will likely pay higher insurance rates. If you have to find another company, you will be faced with much higher insurance premiums than before.
What About My Driving Record?
It is important to note that your criminal record is completely separate from your driving record, or DMV record. With DUI arrests, law enforcement will automatically confiscate your driver’s license and report it to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.
To get your license back, state laws require you to request an administrative license hearing within the first fifteen days after your arrest. If you do not request a hearing within these first fifteen days, you will face automatic license suspension for six months.
The administrative license hearing will be similar to a court hearing in which the deciding officer will listen to submissions by the police officer that arrested you and any witnesses to the scene. Your DUI attorney will argue and put forward evidence on your behalf to convince the officer that your license should not be suspended and to demonstrate that you are a safe driver. The decision about the restoration of your license will be made by the hearing officer.
Can I Have My DUI Expunged in Oklahoma?
Being convicted of driving under the influence in Oklahoma can have a huge impact on your life. With a criminal conviction, your life can be massively impacted. You could face difficulty getting hired, applying for education, applying for public housing, and much more. In addition, you may have your license suspended for an indefinite amount of time and have a permanent driving record.
By getting a DUI expungement, you can clear your DUI offense off your criminal record and start a new chapter. Nobody wants to have a one-time mistake engrained on their record for the rest of their life, which is why we are here to help you get your record expunged.
At Cannon & Associates, we have helped many clients get their criminal DUI offenses expunged from their records. Our lawyers are highly skilled in criminal law and we have handled many DUI expungement cases. We have also helped clients expunge their records for related offenses such as reckless driving and similar traffic offenses.
Our priority is to ensure that your life is not ruined by a criminal record and we want to help you move on. Our law firm offers a free consultation for you to discuss your case with our lawyers with no strings attached. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 405-591-3935.
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