How Does My Prior Criminal History Impact My Eligibility For An Expungement In Oklahoma?
Thanks to a recent sweeping Oklahoma law, more people than ever are eligible to have their criminal records expunged. Expungement in Oklahoma means the removal of your criminal record from the public sphere, where it can no longer hamper your rehabilitation or general life. This means those who have been accused or convicted of a crime can enjoy normal access to employment opportunities, finance, and avoid the other consequences of a lifelong criminal record.
However, not all people will be eligible for expungement in Oklahoma. Only people in certain situations will be eligible, and your total criminal record is what often decides. For example, in almost all cases, those who have committed a violent felony will not be able to have their records expunged. However, some non-violent felonies are eligible for expungement. This article will run through the legal requirements that surround Oklahoma expungement law and what criminal convictions make a person ineligible.
Successfully achieving an expungement order is not always an easy task. There are administrative complexities involved, and your request may be denied. That is why it is best to have an experienced attorney by your side, to help you navigate the Oklahoma expungement process.
Let us free you from the burden of your past. Call Cannon & Associates today for a free consultation at 405-591-3935 to find out how you could get a clean slate.
What Is Record Expungement And Who Is Eligible For It?
Expungement in Oklahoma is the process of getting your criminal records removed from public view. If you are successful, only legal entities can see your records if you are arrested again in the future, and only then.
This means public records will not reflect your past indiscretions, allowing you better employment, a cleaner background check, and all the other benefits that come with this.
Now, thanks to new Oklahoma statutes, the list of people potentially eligible for criminal record expungement is larger than ever. Unfortunately, Oklahoma law surrounding who is eligible for the expungement process is complex.
We will discuss the categories, starting with those typically most likely to be accepted for expungement.
People With Factual Innocence
If you have been accused or convicted of a crime, no matter what it was, and have since had your factual innocence proven, you are more than likely looking at a successful expungement.
It may be that you were a victim of identity theft. You may have spent time in jail for a violent felony, but DNA evidence has since come to light that proves your innocence.
Similarly to this, people who have been victims of human trafficking, and received a conviction because of their trafficked situation, are very likely to achieve expungement. Often, the charge in this case is prostitution.
Those Who Were Acquitted, Not Charged, Or Received A Full Pardon
If you have received a legal full pardon, especially if you were under eighteen years of age when the criminal charges took place, you are in a good position for expungement.
Similarly, if you have been acquitted of misdemeanor or felony charges, you are likely to be able to get them expunged.
If you have been arrested but there were no charges filed against you, you can have your arrest records expunged. However, to qualify you must have had no other charges filed against you at the same time, the prosecution agency must drop your case or the statute of limitations must expire.
Unfortunately, we cannot say for sure that you will be able to expunge your records. This is because any petition for expungement can be declined. For advice relating directly to your situation, call us today to speak to an Oklahoma expungement lawyer in a free consultation.
If You Had Your Criminal Case Dismissed
Another class of people who are likely to get their charge expunged are those who had their cases dismissed.
This includes situations where your conviction was reversed and subsequently dismissed, or if the appellate court of competent jurisdiction reversed your case. In both of these situations, the prosecuting agency usually must have subsequently dismissed your case or the statute of limitations for getting the charges re-filed must have expired.
Successful completion of a delayed sentence or a deferred sentence may mean you can avoid the necessity of the statute of limitations or the prosecution dismissing your case.
However, there are some complications. If you have been a convicted felon, you will likely be unable to benefit from this situation. Similarly, if you have any pending charges, either felony or misdemeanor.
If Your Conviction Was A Misdemeanor Conviction
Misdemeanor convictions are the easier records, more eligible for expungement in Oklahoma law.
If your misdemeanor conviction was a fine totaling less than $501 and did not include any prison time or a suspended sentence, you are likely to be able to expunge it. However, this is only the case if you have paid the fine in full already and you do not have any active misdemeanor or felony charges currently pending. Being convicted of a felony also disqualifies you here.
If you were convicted for a misdemeanor, you may be eligible for expungement if you completed your sentence five or more years ago. Again, a felony conviction or any pending charges will disqualify you here.
If you were convicted of a nonviolent felony which was then subsequently reclassified as a misdemeanor, you may be eligible to have your criminal records expunged. This does not apply to people currently serving a sentence for a crime, both inside and outside of Oklahoma. You must also have completed your sentence more than 30 days ago – including any treatment programs present, even if the program was the thing that revoked or accelerated your sentence.
If You Have A Criminal Conviction For A Felony
Felonies are the hardest type of criminal record to expunge. Violent felonies are not eligible for legal expungement, apart from in the situations covered in the sections above.
Not every non-violent felony is covered by eligibility for expungement either. If your conviction falls under Oklahoma statute 57 O.S. § 571 or caused you to be placed on the sex offender’s register, the law says it is in the public interest to leave you ineligible for expungement.
For all other non-violent felony convictions, there is still a limit. If you have been convicted of more than two felonies, you will not achieve expungement.
If you have a previous felony conviction on your record, you must wait five years after your sentence has been completed to petition for expungement. If you have two previous felony convictions on your record, you must wait ten years in Oklahoma.
Similarly, if you have pending charges against you of any type, you will be unable to petition for expungement.
Expungement Is Complex So Talk To A Lawyer Directly
We have tried to show you above who is likely to have a chance of expungement under Oklahoma law. However, as you have seen, expungement is complex, it is all too easy to misunderstand your potential to have your slate wiped clean.
That is why we are proud to offer every client seeking the expungement of their criminal record a free consultation. Talk to Cannon & Associates today to get a firm idea of your rights and your potential future legal options.
The Benefits Of Expungement
Having your criminal records, court records, and arrest record removed from the public record can be life-changing and well worth the relatively small filing fees.
Partial expungement, which is what you would be granted for the first ten years after your successful expungement order, removes your files from public access and keeps them out of reach of private entities. Only law enforcement, courts, and other law enforcement agencies will be able to retrieve your records in the case of another arrest.
This can open up many avenues. Background checks after an arrest or conviction can hamper many people’s lives. They can impact your chances of competitive employment, education, housing, finance, and stop you from receiving specialist licenses or permissions.
Furthermore, after a period of ten years is successfully complete following a partial expungement, you may apply for full expungement. Complete expungement is the complete removal of your criminal record and court records, entirely.
Let Us Help With Your Criminal Records and Court Records
If you would like to have your arrest, court, and conviction records removed from public view, we may be able to help. Cannon & Associates have worked with all types of people to wipe the slate clean on their public records and free them from the burden of their past.
Thanks to Oklahoma’s new laws, expungement is within the reach of more people than ever before. However, the process is not without its legal complexities. Let us take care of them, so you do not have to.
Stop worrying about the next background check – let Cannon & Associates work towards your full expungement today. Call 405-591-3935!
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