Criminal Record Expungement Lawyer Oklahoma City
Most Americans who are arrested, charged with, or convicted of criminal acts are generally not bad people, yet they are forever branded as such due to their criminal record. Because of modern technology, arrest records are readily available for anyone to view at the click of a button.
Unfortunately, this can have a devastating impact on your life and prevent you from securing employment, receiving further education, or anything that may require someone to check your criminal history.
However, if you have a criminal record in Oklahoma, it might be possible to have it cleared. Oklahoma lawmakers have introduced a process by which you may have your criminal records sealed. This could be life-changing if you have found your criminal record has been holding you back in life.
Expungement can be difficult to obtain, which is why it’s important to get an Oklahoma City expungement lawyer who can provide guidance regarding the process.
Not all law offices handle such procedures, so it’s crucial for you to speak with an Oklahoma City expungement lawyer with extensive knowledge of these legal issues.
This is where Cannon & Associates could help you. Following a free consultation, we can assign you an experienced expungement attorney who can advise you on whether it is possible to have your criminal record expunged in Oklahoma City.
Call us today at 405-591-3935 for a free case evaluation.
WHAT IS AN EXPUNGEMENT?
“Expungement” is a legal term that means sealing a record or documents. If your criminal history is sealed, it will not be available for public access.
The expungement process is beneficial for many people who have an arrest record or felony charges on their record and can help them seek employment and rental agreements. This is because while law enforcement agencies are permitted to access expunged arrest documents for certain reasons, none of your criminal records will be available for any other purpose unless permission is granted by you first.
WHAT ARE THE TWO TYPES OF EXPUNGEMENT IN OKLAHOMA?
There are two types of criminal expungements in Oklahoma: arrest expungement and 991c expungement. Arrest expungements, Section 18 expungements, seal your arrest record from public view. The other type of expungement is a Section 991 (c) expungement. This kind of expungement only applies to individuals who have received a deferred sentence and allows them to expunge their plea. This kind of expungement can only occur if you have completed the terms of your sentence, such as paying fines. It does not, however, remove the arrest record.
Expungement in Oklahoma is synonymous with having the record “sealed”, not erased. After an Oklahoma expungement action is complete, the records will not be visible to the public; however, law enforcement will still be able to see the record of your criminal case or arrest. A Section 18 expungement, arrest expungement, is the only way to have an arrest record or probable cause filing record sealed. The process will never take place automatically and with the prevalence of OSCN and OCDR, it is a process you should consider for the reasons laid out below.
Arrest and Criminal Charge Expungement in Oklahoma
As stated above Section 18 Expungements are the same as arrest expungements. Section 18 expungements seal arrests and other records to everyone, except law enforcement and prosecutors. Section 18 expungements are the most comprehensive expungement type under Oklahoma law. Section 18 expungements are codified at you guessed it, Section 18 of Title 22 of Oklahoma Statutes. This type of expungement is defined as, the sealing of criminal records, as well as any civil public record, involving actions brought by and against the State of Oklahoma arising from the same arrest, transaction, or occurrence.
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR AN EXPUNGEMENT IN OKLAHOMA DISTRICT COURT?
In order to be eligible for any kind of expungement, there are certain requirements that need to be met. Furthermore, if you’ve been convicted of crimes such as murder or violent felony, these records cannot be expunged.
The rules concerning records expungement vary from year to year and so it is vital to get an expungement attorney who understands these procedures and what qualifications an individual must have in order to be eligible.
COMMON QUALIFICATIONS FOR CRIMINAL RECORD EXPUNGEMENT
- Recent DNA evidence proves your innocence.
- If you are a victim of identity theft whereby another individual falsely used your name and accrued felony or misdemeanor charges.
- Sufficient time has passed since your arrest, but no charges have been filed.
- You have had your case dismissed.
- You have a delayed sentence.
- Your conviction has been overturned.
- You have received a pardon.
LESS COMMON QUALIFICATIONS FOR CRIMINAL RECORD EXPUNGEMENT
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor.
- You have completed the terms of your deferred sentence or suspended sentence according to the court order.
- Sufficient time has passed following a conviction for a non-violent felony.
- You were under 18 at the time of the misdemeanor conviction.
- Your misdemeanor sentence was a $500 fine or less.
Who is Eligible for an Arrest Expungement in Oklahoma?
By statute and from our expungement attorneys’ experience, the following circumstances make you eligible to seek an arrest or OKLA. STAT. tit. 22 §18 expungement:
- You were acquittal of your charges;
- Your 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;
- Your factual innocence was established by the use of DNA evidence subsequent to conviction, including if you were released from prison at the time innocence was established;
- You received a full pardon by the Governor for the crime for which you were sentenced;
- You were arrested and no charges of any type, including charges for an offense different than your original arrest, are filed and the statute of limitations has expired or the prosecuting agency has declined to file charges;
- You were under eighteen (18) years of age at the time the offense was committed and you have received a full pardon for the offense;
- You were charged with one or more misdemeanor or felony crimes, all charges have been dismissed, you have never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against you and the statute of limitations for refiling the charge or charges has expired or the prosecuting agency confirms 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;
- You were charged with a misdemeanor, the charge was dismissed following the successful completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, you have never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against you and at least one (1) year has passed since your charge was dismissed;
- You were charged with a nonviolent felony offense not listed in OKLA. STAT. tit. 57 § 571, the charge was dismissed following the successful completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, you have never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against you and at least five (5) years have passed since the charge was dismissed;
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor offense, you were sentenced to a fine of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or less, without a term of imprisonment or a suspended sentence, the fine has been paid or satisfied by time served in lieu of the fine, you have not been convicted of a felony and no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against you;
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor offense, you were sentenced to a term of imprisonment, a suspended sentence or a fine in an amount greater than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), you have not been convicted of a felony, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against you and at least five (5) years have passed since the end of your last misdemeanor sentence;
- You were convicted of a nonviolent felony offense, not a felony listed in the Violent Offender list, OKLA. STAT. tit. 57 § 572, you have not been convicted of any other felony, you have not been convicted of a separate misdemeanor in the last seven (7) years, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against you and at least five (5) years have passed since the completion of the sentence for the felony conviction;
- You were convicted of not more than two felony offenses, none of which is a felony offense, requiring Sex Offender Registration, as listed in OKLA. STAT. tit. 21 § 13.1, or any offense that would require you to register pursuant to the provisions of the Sex Offenders Registration Act, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against you, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the completion of the sentence for the felony conviction;
- You were charged, arrested or are the subject of an arrest warrant for a crime that was committed by another person who has appropriated or used your name or other identification without your consent or authorization; or
- You were convicted of a nonviolent felony offense not listed in the Violent Offender list, OKLA. STAT. tit. 57 § 572, which was subsequently reclassified as a misdemeanor under Oklahoma law, you are 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 your sentence for the crime reclassified as a misdemeanor, any restitution ordered by the court to be paid by you has been satisfied in full, and you have successfully completed any treatment program ordered by the court, including a failed treatment program, which resulted in an accelerated or revoked sentence, which has now been successfully completed by you or you can show successful completion of a treatment program at a later date.
- Your 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;
What is the Process to Expunge an Arrest or Charge with an Oklahoma Expungement Attorney?
1st Step: Investigation. We will conduct a background check through OSBI, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and other research tools, such as the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network (“OSCN”) and On Demand Court Records (“ODCR”). The background check through OSBI will assist our expungement attorneys in identifying any and all arrests and offenses that are or are not eligible for expungement.
2nd Step: We will review your information. Our expungement lawyers will review the information obtained from OSBI and OSCN research. We will do legal research and apply the existing expungement statutes to ensure you are eligible for expungement. We will research your history on OSCN and ODCR for a complete picture of your criminal history.
3rd Step: We will contact you. Our team of Fierce Advocates will contact you to discuss the result of our research into the current expungement laws and their applicability to your criminal history, arrests, prosecution, and prior charges.
4th Step: Strategy Session. We will conduct a strategy session with you over the phone, by video, or in person, whichever is most convenient for you and discuss what our research into your criminal history and study of the current expungement laws mean for your case. Certain arrests may be eligible for expungement. Section 18 expungement, “Arrest expungements” are complex and have many conditions or “If This, Then That” conditions for eligibility for expungements. During your strategy session, we will discuss the process of seeking an expungement in detail from filing to a contested hearing to obtaining and serving a final expungement order from district court. We are dedicated to ensuring every client understands the process they are facing and all questions are answered. When do we File for Expungement?
5th Step: Expungement Petition. After your in-depth strategy session, we will draft the appropriate Petition for Expungement and other necessary pleadings to initiate your case with the district court and seek a hearing on the merits of your petition for expungement. Prior to filing anything in your case, we will send you complete copies by your preferred method, secure encrypted messaging, email, or postal mail. Once we have your approval of all drafts, we will file the pleadings in district court and seek a hearing on the merits.
6th Step. Advocating for Agreement. Once your expungement petition is filed a hearing date will be set and we will be required to serve all interested parties and notify them of the hearing. There are multiple necessary parties to an expungement action, including OSBI (yes the same office that we seek your criminal background information from), the arresting agency/agencies, the prosecuting office, and other interested parties. A contested hearing is not required, if your expungement attorney is able to obtain the agreement and signature of the expungement order
from all interested parties. We use our Fierce Advocacy to seek the agreement of all parties for two reasons: expedite your expungement and save you from the stress, hassle, and public exposure of a contested expungement hearing in district court.
7th Step: Finalize your expungement. We will submit an agreed order to the district court judge for signature and file the expungement order, if all interested parties to the expungement agree. However, if any interested party will not agree to the expungement, we will fight for your expungement at a contested hearing in district court. Once, we obtain an expungement order for you by agreement or through Fierce Advocacy, the final order will be filed and certified copies will be sent to all interested parties to ensure they seal/expunge all records that fall under the court’s order.
Within the 30 days between the hearing date being scheduled and the actual hearing, your expungement lawyer will seek the agreement of all parties to an Order for expungement, i.e. the District Attorney, arresting agency/police department, OSBI, and other interested parties. The order can be signed and filed without the necessity of a contested hearing if your expungement attorney is able to obtain the agreement of all interested parties.
At the contested hearing or upon the signature of all interested parties, the judge will determine, if your proposed expungement order will be signed, granted, or not signed, denied. If a contested hearing is held, you will be asked questions by the assigned judge. The judge will seek input from your attorney and the other parties that appear to contest the expungement and will decide to seal all, some, or none of the records. Additionally, the judge can limit access to your records.
Your expungement attorney should advocate that harm to your privacy and other dangers warrant the sealing of the records and that those interests outweigh the public interest. The court has the authority to limit access to the record or seal them completely if the court finds any other action would not serve the ends of justice.
Multiple arrests can be expunged in one petition if they occurred within the same County in Oklahoma. Any interested party can object and contest your expungement, which will require your expungement attorney to fight for your expungement in a contested hearing.
How Long Does an Arrest Expungement Take in Oklahoma?
Arrest expungement from filing to sealing takes two to three months in Oklahoma. As stated above, the paperwork in an expungement case takes roughly 30 days from filing to the hearing date, which allows for all interested parties, including OSBI, the District Attorney, and arresting agency, to be served. Once the expungement order is signed, your expungement lawyer will file the order and serve every party with a certified copy of the expungement order. The court clerk and interested parties will likely be able to complete the expungement process within 30 days. You may verify the completion of the arrest expungement by sending a second request to OSBI.
What can I do, if I’m Not Eligible for an Arrest Expungement in Oklahoma?
In most instances, you can simply wait until you become eligible for expungement. As stated above, many categories of arrest expungements simply require the necessary time frame to run prior to obtaining an expungement:
- One (1) year after completion of a deferred sentence;
- Five (5) years for a misdemeanor conviction, misdemeanor jail time, or fine over $500;
- Five (5) years after completion of multiple misdemeanors; or
- Five (5) years since the completion of a non-violent felony deferred sentence.
Additionally, most arrest expungements require you to not have any pending criminal charges; therefore, you must stay out of criminal trouble and avoid criminal charges of any kind. You will likely have to wait even longer if you have new pending criminal charges or were arrested.
Further, one or two non-violent felony convictions require a governor’s pardon. You must first obtain a pardon in order to have felony convictions expunged in Oklahoma. Therefore, prior to seeking an expungement of a felony conviction, you will need to complete the pardon application process.
What Happens After My Arrest or Conviction is Expunged?
Once a Section 18 expungement is entered your arrest and/or conviction will be sealed by OSBI and the district court clerk. Anyone, including employers that seek information from OSBI will receive a notice that no records exist when OSBI sends a return.
The district court record on OSCN, ODCR, or in person will not be available to the public after a Section 18 expungement. The attorney general, the district attorney, the prosecution office, or law enforcement agency will be the only parties with access to the records after a Section 18 expungement. Any records sealed by a Section 19 expungement can be destroyed at the end of a ten-year waiting period if unsealed.
Records sealed by a OKLA. STAT. tit. 22 § 19 expungement may be unsealed upon a successful petition by OSBI, the prosecution office, or arresting agency if the Court enters an Order unsealing the expungement; however, you would have an opportunity to appear and contest these orders as well.
What are your Rights After your Expungement?
With very few exceptions, you do not have to admit to having had an arrest or criminal case expunged after the fact. The law governing what you can and cannot deny having your record expunged is contained in the section following Section 18 expungements, OKLA. STAT. tit. 22 §19. You cannot be denied a job or application for a lease or mortgage based on an expunged case. Additionally, you will not be required to include an expunged arrest on a Self-Defense Application.
Under Oklahoma law, once the order to seal the records has been entered, it is deemed the action never occurred, except for prosecution, law enforcement, and very few other circumstances. The following entities cannot require your disclosure of sealed expunged records:
- Higher Education Institutions/Universities;
- State and municipal agencies;
- State and municipal officials; and
- Other many application processes.
It is important to remember that the Oklahoma expungement statutes have authority over Oklahoma state officials/agencies and municipal or other officials/agencies within the confines or authority of the state of Oklahoma, i.e. NOT the federal government, which is not subject ot Oklahoma law. The federal government has authority based on federal law and federal administrative authority, not state law. Therefore, Oklahoma expungement laws do not bind federal agencies, including the military.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO GET MISDEMEANOR OR FELONY CHARGES EXPUNGED WITH AN EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY IN OKLAHOMA CITY?
Applying for an expungement involves paying some administrative fees on top of paying for an Oklahoma district attorney to fight your corner. Although this may be an inconvenience, you should see having your criminal record expunged as an investment, one that will improve your financial situation over time.
The first cost to consider when applying for expungement is the filing fees, which will cost approximately $100. This is because when applying for an expungement, you must file a civil case instead of filing against the original criminal case.
The OSBI will also claim a fee of roughly $15 for a criminal history report and $150 for their processing fee. The good news is that expunging your court records is free of charge, besides the $150 processing fee required for court costs to have your arrest records expunged. The figures provided are only a rough guide, as costs will vary depending on the district court.
It might be tempting to try to cut down on costs by not hiring an expungement lawyer and attempting to take on the arduous task of clearing your court record alone. However, this is a stressful process to take on independently and we would highly recommend having a qualified expungement attorney who understands Oklahoma City law to give you the best chance of winning your case.
Here at Cannon & Associates, we know this can be a costly endeavor, which is why we try to ease your financial burden by first offering you a free case evaluation with one of our experienced expungement attorneys before you decide whether you would like to proceed with the process.
CAN VIOLENT FELONIES OR MISDEMEANOR OFFENSES BE ERASED FROM CRIMINAL RECORDS?
If you have a violent felony conviction on your record, unfortunately, Oklahoma law does not allow for you to apply for expungement. Violent felonies such as the following cannot be expunged:
- Aggravated assault.
- Burglary in the first degree.
- Child abuse.
- The battery of a law enforcement officer.
However, if you are unsure whether you are eligible for expungement, it’s worth contacting an Oklahoma City criminal record expungement lawyer at Cannon & Associates for a no-obligation free consultation. Our expungement attorneys know the applicable law statutes inside out and can give you advice regarding your specific case.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ONCE EXPUNGED, WILL MY RECORD SHOW UP IN A BACKGROUND CHECK?
Once sealed, arrest information will remain safe from public records in Oklahoma County and this includes background checks. However, it’s important to be aware that despite having an expunged record, physical records such as newspaper articles will still be out in the world.
Although this is the case, the chances of an employer getting a hold of your criminal records will be much slimmer, so they won’t be able to hold your past mistakes against you. This is why it’s worthwhile pursuing an expungement to clear your criminal record.
DO I QUALIFY FOR EXPUNGEMENT EVEN IF THE ARREST HAPPENED YEARS AGO?
No matter how long ago the criminal conviction or arrest occurred, you will still be able to file for an expungement. Oklahoma law enforcement agencies only request that you meet the qualifications outlined. Your chances of expungement being successful may depend on the amount of time that has passed since your record has been created and the offense you were arrested or convicted for itself.
The expungement process is a complex one and changes year after year, which is why it’s best to consult with an experienced criminal record expungement lawyer in Oklahoma City who can advise you on the best course of action.
AM I GUARANTEED TO GET AN EXPUNGEMENT IF I QUALIFY?
There is no guarantee that having gone through the arduous processes of petitioning for an expungement of your criminal record, your records will be sealed. Though it is rare, some petitions might be objected to by the arresting agency, OSBI, or district attorney’s office.
One reason that the OSBI might object to expungement is if they believe keeping the record unsealed is in the public interest and outweighs the benefits for the defendant.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO EXPUNGE AN ARREST OR CHARGE IN OKLAHOMA CITY?
The total time for an expungement to be processed can be as short as a few months. It is best to give more time, though, as there are multiple agencies that are involved in the process. It will take roughly one month for expungement paperwork to be processed, which includes time for copies of the petition to reach the law enforcement agencies, OSBI, and the prosecutor.
After this, it will take about a month after the hearing is requested until the hearing is scheduled to occur. Once the court clerk has received a certified copy of the petition, it takes roughly another month on top of that. Arrest record expungement normally takes 4 weeks after the fee and order have been received.
You will then have to check with the OSBI to see if you have been successful, as you will not be notified when your record is expunged.
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;
- The 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.
Considering an Expungement? Contact Cannon & Associates Today!
There are many benefits to expunging your criminal record. Whether you were charged with one or more misdemeanor offenses, it could change your life and prevent you from living a normal life. If you had the opportunity to seal this information and had an expunged criminal record, it could alter your life for the better.
So why not get in touch with Cannon & Associates and see if they can help you take back control of your life. We understand that your life can change for the better if arrest records and convictions are sealed and we will fight tooth and nail for our client’s freedom. If you are located in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Norman, Yukon, Mustang, The Village, Moore, or Midwest City, contact us today by calling 405-591-3935 to schedule a free case evaluation. We look forward to hearing from you.
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"I had a great experience with John. He is very personable and helped me a lot. I’m really grateful I found him. He made me feel confident that he was the right lawyer for my case and that he wasn’t trying to sell me but genuinely just wanted to help me. I would highly recommend John to anyone!"
"Working with Mr. Cannon has been a real life-saving experience for me and my family. He provides the knowledge of the possibilities as soon as he can get them, then works tirelessly to ensure that any concerns or questions are addressed immediately. He has been a great asset to us not only in the face of legal troubles, but in providing a sense of security that is truly reassuring in the face of the uncertain.Mr. Cannon has been a great resource and has been very patient with me. From the start he provided a list of things to do that would help me help him with my case and since the beginning has continued to give advice or suggestions on any matter that has bothered me with my situation, large or small. He is gentle, yet realistic, and this combination really does become a rock in tumultuous times such as these.I would highly recommend Mr. Cannon to anyone who needs a vigilant and committed attorney, especially one that stands by your side until your issue is resolved. He goes above and beyond not only to work, but to care for his clients!"
"John Cannon assisted me through a very difficult time in my military career. He worked tirelessly with me on my case and kept me informed during the entire process. I can't say enough good things about Mr. Cannon. He's incredibly knowledgeable with regards to military justice. The outcome of my case was successful and I attribute that to Mr. Cannon's professionalism and expertise in dealing with military law. I highly recommend Mr. Cannon to anyone with military justice or criminal defense needs."