Getting a DUI or DWI charge is a lot more serious than just a few points on your license. A conviction for driving under the influence is a public record that is accessible to anyone – and it can also seriously affect your future. When applying for a job, having a DUI on your criminal record means that you’ll have to “check the box” – and that you might miss out on a great job opportunity as a result.
Fortunately, there is a way to clear your criminal record. Through the process of expungement, you can seal your criminal record – including arrest and criminal case records or a DUI or DWI. Most DUIs are eligible to be sealed, although you must meet specific criteria to be eligible. A skilled Oklahoma expungement attorney can help with the process, starting with a free consultation.
What Is Expungement?
An expungement is a legal process that allows a person arrested or convicted of a crime in Oklahoma to seal that record. If you qualify for expungement, then all related criminal records, including police reports, booking photographs, and fingerprints, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) reports, and all court records will be kept confidential. An expunged record will not be available to anyone other than law enforcement agencies.
There are two types of expungements available in Oklahoma:
- Section 18: allows an individual to expunge or seal their entire record
- Section 991(c): allows a person who received a deferred sentence to expunge their plea, without the arrest record being sealed, so that the record will show that “case dismissed.”
There are specific criteria for each type of expungement. A skilled Oklahoma expungement attorney can help you determine if you qualify for a Section 18 or Section 991c expungement for your DUI.
Sealing your criminal record can be incredibly beneficial, particularly for background checks. If your record is fully expunged, then you can legally deny that the arrest or conviction ever happened, such as during a job interview.
How to Get Your DUI Expunged
If you have a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), you may be able to have the record of that arrest or conviction sealed through the expungement process. The question of whether you can have your DUI/DWI expunged depends on the type of charge (felony or misdemeanor), whether you have previously had a DUI expunged, and how long it has been since your conviction.
Misdemeanor convictions for DUI or DWI can be expunged, although you may have to wait to do so. If you were given a deferred sentence, then you can expunge your misdemeanor DUI/DWI exactly one year after the deferred sentence was complete. You must also have paid all court costs and fines imposed as part of your sentence. For example, if you were given a 2-year deferred sentence on January 15, 2020, then you are eligible to have this conviction sealed on January 15, 2022.
If your DUI/DWI sentence was just a fine, then your eligibility for expungement is based on the amount of the fine. If it was $500 or less, then you can get the record sealed immediately. If it was $501 or greater, then you will have to wait 5 years after paying that fine to petition for expungement, and not be convicted of any other misdemeanors within the past 7 years.
If you were given a suspended sentence for your DUI or DWI, then you can file for expungement 5 years after the completion of your sentence. Using the example above, if the judge gave you a 6 month suspended sentence on January 15, 2020, then you could seek expungement on July 15, 2025. Similarly, if you served time for a misdemeanor DUI, you will have to wait 5 years from the date that the sentence ended to apply for expungement.
Felony DUIs are much more serious charges. As such, it is more difficult to get a felony DUI conviction expunged – although it is still possible unless you already had a felony DUI expunged.
If you received a deferred sentence for a felony DUI, then you will be eligible for expungement 5 years after the sentence ends. However, if you have other felony convictions, then you may not be eligible for expungement. Because the rules surrounding the expungement of felony DUIs in Oklahoma are much more complex, you should reach out to a skilled Oklahoma expungement attorney to schedule a free consultation.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Oklahoma?
A DUI or DWI conviction will stay on your driving record with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) for a period of 10 years. This conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently unless you take action to have it sealed.
Getting your DUI conviction expunged will remove arrest and court records from your public record. However, law enforcement agencies will still have access to this information. If you have a prior DUI case, reach out to an Oklahoma expungement attorney to learn whether you may qualify to have the record sealed.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Your Record Expunged in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, getting your court record expunged may involve a fee for filing an expungement case. Further, expunging your arrest record involves paying a $150 fee. In addition, local law enforcement agencies may request a fee for sealing your criminal records. If you choose to hire a lawyer, there will be an additional cost for their fees.
While you are not required to get a lawyer for a DUI expungement, it is generally considered a good idea, as there are specific paperwork, legal, and notice requirements that must be followed to have your record expunged. Given how important expungement is for your future, you should strongly consider working with a top Oklahoma expungement attorney to have your DUI record sealed.
How Long Does an Expungement Take in Oklahoma?
The expungement process can take some time, between gathering the correct paperwork and filing the proper forms. Once the OSBI receives a certified copy of your expungement order, its court and arrest records will be sealed in about one month.
In many cases, working with an attorney can help to ensure that your expungement is completed in a timely manner. Your lawyer will examine the facts of your case, advise you of your eligibility for a DUI expungement, and then put together the necessary paperwork to get your records sealed.
Ready to Move Your Life Forward? We Can Help.
Having a DUI/DWI conviction on your record can seriously affect your life. Getting the records of your DUI arrest and conviction sealed can allow you to move beyond your past and get a fresh start.
Angela Singleton, Attorney at Law, is dedicated to fighting for her client’s rights and freedom. Her proactive approach includes helping clients have their criminal records expunged whenever possible. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with an Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney, give us a call at 405-510-0345 or fill out our online contact form.