What Can be Expunged?
The sad fact of our criminal justice system is that the “punishment” associated with a criminal conviction doesn’t end when you complete your sentence. If an Oklahoma court convicted you of a crime, you’ve likely experienced the damaging effect a criminal conviction can have on your employment prospects, background checks, and other areas of life long after you have paid your debt to society. Criminal convictions may even impact your ability to get housing or join the military.
If you have completed a criminal sentence or were discharged from probation following a deferred sentence and are ready to move on with your life, it may be time to contact an Oklahoma expungement attorney to find out if you can have your criminal record expunged.
Though sometimes confused, expungement and pardons are different legal concepts. While a pardon is equivalent to state-sponsored forgiveness for a past crime, expungement is having the record of a previous criminal conviction or arrest removed by court order. If successful in the expungement process, the expunged record will no longer exist, with few exceptions. In short, an expungement may mean a fresh start.
Oklahoma law allows for a couple of different types of expungements and several ways to become eligible for an expungement. It may also be possible to clean up an arrest record as well.
Title 22, Section 18 of the Oklahoma Statutes lists 16 different ways an individual convicted of a criminal offense may receive authorization to file a motion for expungement. These range from receiving a pardon from the Governor of Oklahoma to the expungement of a misdemeanor conviction resulting in a fine of $500 or less, and several different circumstances in between. Both felony and misdemeanor convictions are eligible for expungement.
Title 22, Section 991(c) of the Oklahoma Statutes pertains to individuals who received a deferred sentence. After completing all conditions of the deferred judgment, a defendant can have his or her record expunged and its disposition updated to “dismissed.”
To have a criminal record or arrest record expunged, an applicant must petition the District Court where the arrest or conviction occurred to grant the extraordinary relief of an expungement.
When Can Cases Be Expunged?
It is never too soon to consider how to expunge your record when you face a criminal charge. An Oklahoma expungement attorney can advise you about the important steps to take even before your case is closed. When it comes to the actual expungement of records, the timeframe changes dependent upon things such as the severity of the crime (felony vs. misdemeanor) and whether the disposition was as a deferred sentence or you completed the criminal sentence.
Often defendants are eligible for expungement if they have only one criminal conviction and have avoided any further convictions for a statutorily defined period following the completion of the conditions of their conviction. Unfortunately, other crimes may not be eligible for expungement.
Oklahoma City Expungement Attorney
To be successful, it is imperative to complete your petition for expungement and draft your argument convincingly.
Like many legal processes, the expungement process can be confusing and difficult for those unfamiliar with Oklahoma courts. An Oklahoma City expungement attorney can be the advocate you need to carefully review your records and determine if you are eligible for an expungement. If so, we can protect your interests and advocate on your behalf. Call today so we can help you clean your record and repair your reputation.
Don’t let your past get in the way of your future. For a free consultation with an Oklahoma City expungement attorney, call 918-932-2833. You can also submit an email question from the top right corner of this page. We will respond as quickly as possible to all inquiries.