FAQ: Expungements in Oklahoma
An expungement in Oklahoma allows you to seal the records of your arrest and criminal case, if you are eligible. The records will be “erased” from public view and the information will not be accessible to the public. After a successful expungement, the public will not be able to obtain your criminal records with a background check, by examining oscn.net, or by contacting the court clerk’s office.
Yes, Oklahoma has two basic types of expungements: Section 18 and Section 991(c) expungements. Section 18 Expungements in Oklahoma are a complete removal of your entire arrest record, i.e. the best type of expungement available in Oklahoma. Alternatively, Section 991(c) Expungements in Oklahoma only allow a person that received a deferred sentence, i.e. not a conviction, to expunge their plea and have all court records reflect that the case was dismissed. The disposition in the court clerk’s office and oscn will reflect “case dismissed, pled not guilty”; however, the records, including the arrest record will remain with a Section 991(c) expungement in Oklahoma.
Unfortunately, it is slightly complex to determine whether or not you qualify for an expungement; however, the specific criteria is found at Oklahoma Statutes Title 22 Section 18, Subsection A. The categories making someone eligible for expungement are as follows:
- The person has been acquitted;
- The conviction was reversed with instructions to dismiss by an appellate court of competent jurisdiction, or an appellate court of competent jurisdiction reversed the conviction and the prosecuting agency subsequently dismissed the charge;
- The factual innocence of the person was established by the use of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence subsequent to conviction, including a person who has been released from prison at the time innocence was established;
- The person has received a full pardon by the Governor for the crime for which the person was sentenced;
- The person was arrested and no charges of any type, including charges for an offense different than that for which the person was originally arrested, are filed and the statute of limitations has expired or the prosecuting agency has declined to file charges;
- The person was under eighteen (18) years of age at the time the offense was committed and the person has received a full pardon for the offense;
- The person was charged with one or more misdemeanor or felony crimes, all charges have been dismissed, the person has never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person and the statute of limitations for refiling the charge or charges has expired or the prosecuting agency confirms that the charge or charges will not be refiled; provided, however, this category shall not apply to charges that have been dismissed following the completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence;
- The person was charged with a misdemeanor, the charge was dismissed following the successful completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, the person has never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person and at least one (1) year has passed since the charge was dismissed;
- The person was charged with a nonviolent felony offense not listed in Section 571 of Title 57of the Oklahoma Statutes, the charge was dismissed following the successful completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, the person has never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person and at least five (5) years have passed since the charge was dismissed;
- The person was convicted of a misdemeanor offense, the person was sentenced to a fine of less than Five Hundred One Dollars ($501.00) without a term of imprisonment or a suspended sentence, the fine has been paid or satisfied by time served in lieu of the fine, the person has not been convicted of a felony and no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person;
- The person was convicted of a misdemeanor offense, the person was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, a suspended sentence or a fine in an amount greater than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), the person has not been convicted of a felony, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person and at least five (5) years have passed since the end of the last misdemeanor sentence;
- The person was convicted of a nonviolent felony offense not listed in Section 571 of Title 57of the Oklahoma Statutes, the person has not been convicted of any other felony, the person has not been convicted of a separate misdemeanor in the last seven (7) years, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person and at least five (5) years have passed since the completion of the sentence for the felony conviction;
- The person was convicted of not more than two felony offenses, none of which is a felony offense listed in Section 13.1 of Title 21of the Oklahoma Statutes or any offense that would require the person to register pursuant to the provisions of the Sex Offenders Registration Act, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the completion of the sentence for the felony conviction;
- The person has been charged or arrested or is the subject of an arrest warrant for a crime that was committed by another person who has appropriated or used the person's name or other identification without the person's consent or authorization; or
- The person was convicted of a nonviolent felony offense not listed in Section 571 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes which was subsequently reclassified as a misdemeanor under Oklahoma law, the person is not currently serving a sentence for a crime in this state or another state, at least thirty (30) days have passed since the completion or commutation of the sentence for the crime that was reclassified as a misdemeanor, any restitution ordered by the court to be paid by the person has been satisfied in full, and any treatment program ordered by the court has been successfully completed by the person, including any person who failed a treatment program which resulted in an accelerated or revoked sentence that has since been successfully completed by the person or the person can show successful completion of a treatment program at a later date. Persons seeking an expungement of records under the provisions of this paragraph may utilize the expungement forms provided in Section 2 of this act.
Yes, any interested party is entitled to file an objection to your expungement petition or appear and contest your request at the hearing. OSBI, local law enforcement, the family of a victim or the victim themselves, the municipal attorney where the events occurred, and the District Attorney are the most common parties that will appear and object to your expungement request.When an interested party objects to your expungement petition, the court will hold a hearing and determine whether your personal interests in seeking the expungement outweigh the public interest presented objecting to your expungement request. The Court’s decision is final; however, it is an appealable order.
OSBI will object to your expungement petition, if their legal counsel believes the public interest in maintaining your arrest or criminal record outweighs your interests, i.e. the adverse consequences of your criminal record remaining unsealed. Interested parties are entitled to object to your expungement request, even when you meet all the qualifications for an expungement, under the policy argument of public interest in the information.
No, the age of the arrest record, i.e. how long ago your arrest or arrests occurred, does not matter in determining whether or not you are eligible for an expungement in Oklahoma.
Expunging your arrest record and court records comes with a variety of costs, including the filing fee for opening a civil case to seek expungement of your criminal record. The law enforcement agency involved and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (“OSBI”) will charge you a filing fee as well.Hiring an experienced Oklahoma City expungement attorney can help expedite the expungement process and help ensure you obtain the outcome you seek; however, experienced expungement counsel does come with a cost as well.
It is possible to complete the expungement process without an attorney; however, keep the following in mind: specific pleadings, notices, and legal documents are required in order to initiate the process, notify the necessary parties, and obtain a hearing before the judge that will decide, if your expungement will be granted or not. In order to be successful in your petition for an expungement of your arrest and criminal record, you must follow all necessary steps and protocol exactly, as if you were represented by counsel. The court is prohibited from giving you legal advice on how to proceed and the court clerk is not competent to do so.OSBI is involved in every expungement in the state of Oklahoma and they strongly advise you to obtain experienced expungement counsel to assist you in ensuring you take the proper steps and notify the proper parties to ensure your expungement is successful.
Anyone qualified under the Oklahoma expungement statutes may file the pleadings necessary to begin the Oklahoma expungement process for you or your loved one. However, again, retaining an experienced Oklahoma expungement attorney is your best chance for successfully obtaining an expungement and streamlines the process for you and your family.
In order to obtain an expungement in Oklahoma you must provide at a minimum the following information for all necessary parties to be on notice of what you are seeking to expungement and your grounds for seeking the relief request:
- First and foremost you must notify the court and all necessary parties of your identity;
- The date of your arrest or arrests;
- The venue of your criminal charges, i.e. the county court your case was prosecuted;
- The disposition of your criminal case or cases, i.e. deferred sentence, suspended sentence, or dismissal;
- The date of the disposition or resolution of your criminal case; and
- The legal, including Oklahoma statutory, authority for your expungement petition.
It depends, you only have to file one expungement petition, if your arrests all took place in the same county; however, you are required to file a separate expungement petition for each county in which you have an arrest record, which you are seeking to expunge. The purpose for this requirement is the parties that have an interest in your petition for expungement are different based on where your criminal case or arrest occurred, except OSBI, which is an interested party in your expungement anywhere in Oklahoma.
Yes, any eligible criminal case that occurred in one county may be expunged through one expungement petition. However, if you have multiple criminal cases in different counties, you will have to file a separate expungement petition in each county.
Unfortunately no, Oklahoma courts only have authority to expunge arrests and criminal charges that occurred in Oklahoma. You will need to retain an experienced expungement attorney in the Texas or any state that your arrest record exists in or handle the process on your own.
Expungements take as long as is required to complete the following required steps; which can take a substantial amount of time, if you do it on your own or a very short amount of time with an experienced expungement attorney.When you retain experienced Oklahoma expungement counsel the process will be expedited. You must complete the following steps in the correct sequence, in order to obtain an expungement in Oklahoma:
- Identify all relevant information;
- Draft and file the expungement petition and pay the filing fee;
- Serve the court and all necessary parties;
- Obtain an expungement hearing date from the court;
- Win at the contested expungement hearing or obtain the consent of all necessary parties to avoid the hearing;
- Present the order for expungement to the court;
- Obtain the judge’s signature on your expungement order;
- File the expungement order; and
- Serve a certified copy of the expungement order on all necessary parties and pay the necessary filing fees with the specific agencies.
No, law enforcement, including OSBI is not obligated to notify you of successful completion of the expungement process on their end. However, your Oklahoma expungement counsel can contact the attorney for each relevant office and ensure that the process is complete. Alternatively, you may submit a background check or record check on yourself to see, if the process has been completed for your expungement.
Yes; the FBI will expunge your record, if you are successful in your expungement petition, i.e. obtain a Court Order expunging your criminal record and arrest record. However, expungement in Oklahoma means “sealing of your records”; therefore, the records are not erased. Rather, when you obtain an expungement the records are sealed from public view; therefore, law enforcement, including the FBI will be able to see your criminal record; however, the public will not be able to see your record after an expungement.
Unfortunately, law enforcement and OSBI are not required to destroy any physical evidence upon your expungement order being granted. Identifying information, including fingerprint cards may be maintained by OSBI under Oklahoma law.
No, an expungement of your criminal record will not restore your gun rights. In order to have your gun rights reestablished you will need to seek a pardon.
Pardons are granted on an objective basis by the governor’s office. Pardons do not seal arrest or court records in Oklahoma. Records can only be sealed by an expungement in Oklahoma. Therefore, you will need to file an expungement petition to seal your records after a successful pardon, in order to have your records sealed.
Yes, an expungement seals both the arrest and court record and under Oklahoma law you may deny the arrest or criminal case ever happened after a successful expungement. Stated another way, you may forever deny your arrest or criminal charges upon a successful expungement. This fact is one of the greatest reasons to consider seeking an expungement of your criminal record as the employment and other benefits cannot be overstated.
Yes, the following Oklahoma Statutes in Title 22 Criminal Procedure provide additional information on the expungement qualifications; however, the language is difficult to process: Section 18, Section 19, and Section 991(c).