OKLAHOMA EXPUNGEMENT LAWYER
A youthful mistake, a poor decision, and even an arrest that ends in dismissal or acquittal of charges can leave a criminal record that makes it difficult to find a job, gain college admission, secure a loan, or even develop and maintain personal relationships. For many people, serving a sentence of jail or probation is only the beginning of paying penance for a crime. Arrest records, court records, and criminal history records may complicate opportunities for a lifetime. Fortunately, Oklahoma expungement laws provide relief to qualifying individuals, allowing them to clear their record and make a fresh start unhindered by the personal and professional stigma of a criminal record.
Contrary to what many people believe, a juvenile record is not automatically erased, and misdemeanor conviction does not “fall off” of your record after a set period of time. Instead, you must properly request an expungement of your record, and your request may be denied. Additionally, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) can challenge your request. For these reasons, it is important to hire an expungement lawyer who understands the correct procedure for requesting expungement and who can help demonstrate your worthiness in the face of law enforcement challenges. Attorney Ryan Coventon has helped many Oklahomans get a clean slate and a new start without the complications of a criminal record.
Record Expungement in Oklahoma
Oklahoma law allows for the expungement, or removal, of certain records under certain conditions. Not every offense is eligible for expungement, and not every record may be stricken as a result of an expungement. Though some people believe there is a “master record” which holds all arrest and conviction information, there are actually numerous records with the arresting agency, local courts, and the OSBI. The OSBI records are the most comprehensive, but the clearing of your arrest record with the OSBI is subject to strict rules and guidelines, and therefore, fewer people qualify for expungement of these records.
Types of expungements available in Oklahoma include:
- Full record expungement under 22 O.S. §18/19
- Expungement following a deferred sentence under 22 O.S. §991c
- Expungement of a Victim’s Protection Order (VPO) under 22 O.S. §60.18
- Expungement of Juvenile Records under 10A O.S. §2-6-109
House Bill 3091, which took effect November 1, 2012, significantly changed §18/19 of the Oklahoma statutes, making certain individuals who previously qualified for record expungement ineligible while allowing expungements for others who did not previously qualify. If you have any questions about your expungement eligibility, or if you would like to have record of your arrest, nonviolent felony conviction, deferred sentence, VPO, or juvenile offenses expunged, contact Ryan Coventon for help.
Section 18/19 Record Expungement
An expungement under 22 O.S. §18/19 is generally considered the most desirable type of expungement because it purges your record from arresting agencies, the court, and the OSBI. Under this type of expungement, it is as if the incident never occurred, and you are permitted to legally state when asked about your criminal record (such as in employment applications) that “no such action ever occurred and that no such record exists.” Because this type of expungement is so thorough, it is more difficult to obtain than a §991c, the most common type of record expungement in Oklahoma. People who may qualify for a §18/19 expungement fall under the following categories:
- 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 district attorney 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 on the basis of a written finding by the Governor of actual innocence for the crime for which the claimant 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 misdemeanor or felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person, and at least two (2) years have passed since the charge was dismissed;
- The person was charged with a nonviolent felony offense, as set forth in Section 571 of Title 57 of 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 misdemeanor or felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the charge was dismissed;
- The person was convicted of a misdemeanor offense, the person has not been convicted of any other misdemeanor or felony, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the conviction;
- The person was convicted of a nonviolent felony offense, as defined in Section 571 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes, the person has received a full pardon for the offense, the person has not been convicted of any other misdemeanor or felony, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the conviction; or
- 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.
Under this section of the state statutes, individuals who meet the above criteria may have their criminal records sealed. For those who qualify under items 8 through 11, records are sealed from public view only. They are still viewable by law enforcement and are admissible in court.
Section 991(c) Expungement
While most people would prefer a §18/19 expungement because it seals the arrest record as well as court records, an expungement of a deferred sentence under 22 O.S. §991c is a beneficial option for those who do not qualify for full record expungement. Though a person’s arrest record remains, upon successful completion of a deferred sentence, his or her name is removed from court records and the OSBI record is updated to reflect a plea of “Not Guilty” and a disposition of “Case Dismissed.”
To find out more about the types expungements available in Oklahoma or to begin the process of clearing your record, contact Ryan Coventon. He is ready to help you start over.