Being arrested, charged with, or convicted of a crime can have a devastating impact on your life. Your criminal records can be viewed by anyone with an internet connection – and can also be used against you. Fortunately, there is a process by which you may be able to have your criminal records sealed.
If you have a criminal record in Oklahoma, there are steps that you may be able to take to have it cleared. The process of expungement will remove arrest records, court records, and related records from public view. Getting your record cleared can be incredibly beneficial, particularly when it comes to applying for a job or doing anything that may require a criminal background check.
An Oklahoma City expungement lawyer will advise you about the possibility of having your records expunged, then put together the necessary paperwork and legal forms to get it done. From there, you can move forward with your life – secure in knowing that your criminal record is no longer publicly available.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement is a legal term that means that a particular record or records are sealed. If you have your criminal record sealed, it is removed from public view. While law enforcement agencies can still access your expunged arrest records for limited purposes, no one else can see or find out about your expunged criminal record unless you give them permission.
There are two types of expungements that you may be eligible for under Oklahoma law. A Section 18 expungement allows you to expunge your entire arrest record. By contract, a Section 991(c) expungement allows you to expunge your plea if you received a deferred sentence, and have the case updated to state “pled not guilty, case dismissed.” A 991c expungement will not seal your arrest record.
There are specific eligibility requirements for each type of expungement. If you have been convicted of certain crimes, including violent felonies such as murder, then these records can never be removed from your record.
Section 18 expungements are only possible if you were charged with or convicted of certain crimes – primarily nonviolent misdemeanor and felony offenses. In addition, you must meet the criteria set forth in Oklahoma law for eligibility, such as being pardoned by the governor or a specific amount of time has passed since your conviction. A skilled expungement lawyer OKC can advise you about your eligibility for a Section 18 sealing based on your specific situation.
If you don’t qualify for a Section 18 expungement, you may still qualify under Section 991c. This type of expungement is only available to people who were given a delayed (deferred) sentence, with some exceptions. Before these records can be expunged, you must have completed all terms of your sentence, which may include paying fines and court costs and successfully finishing the terms of your probation.
Finally, if a court issued a victim protective order (VPO) against you, you may be able to expunge that record in limited circumstances. Under Section 60.18, you can have a record of a protective order removed if:
- The person who asked for the order died;
- The protective order was vacated or canceled by the court; or
- It was a temporary, emergency, or ex parte order that was later withdrawn, denied, or dismissed.
If it has been more than 90 days since the last hearing on a protective order, then you may file a petition to have this record expunged.
The rules surrounding expungement are complex. If you have questions about whether you are eligible for expungement or what you need to do to qualify, schedule a free consultation with an Oklahoma City expungement lawyer.
What Are the Benefits of Getting My Criminal Record Expunged?
When you are arrested for or convicted of a crime, this information is considered a public record. These records are held by a number of government agencies, including the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), the Department of Corrections, the Oklahoma State Courts Network, the Pardon & Parole Board, and local courts and law enforcement agencies. The records may also be available through third-party websites.
Having a criminal record – and particularly one that is publicly available – can have a negative effect on your life in a number of ways. It may make it harder to get a job and reach educational goals. It can also impact your personal life.
An expungement allows you to seal these records and remove them from public view. It also gives you the ability to deny that a criminal incident ever occurred. While law enforcement agencies can still access your arrest records after expungement, they will not otherwise be available to the public – including employers doing background checks.
In short, an expungement can give you a fresh start in life, allowing you to move forward without the shadow of a criminal history hanging over you. A skilled Oklahoma City expungement lawyer can help you with the process.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Your Record Expunged in Oklahoma?
There are certain administrative fees that must be paid to have your record expunged in Oklahoma. While expunging your court record is free, you must pay a $150 processing fee to have your arrest record expunged. You may also be required to pay fees to local law enforcement agencies to have your record expunged.
If you hire an expungement lawyer OKC, you will also pay attorney’s fees. While it is possible to represent yourself in an expungement, it can be a complicated process. For this reason, it is generally recommended that you hire a skilled attorney to represent you.
Can a Violent Felony Be Expunged in Oklahoma?
No. If you were convicted of a violent felony, then you are not eligible for expungement under Oklahoma law. Violent felonies include charges such as murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, aggravated assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, burglary in the first degree, child abuse, and a number of sex crimes, including rape.
If you have any questions about whether you qualify for expungement, your best bet is to contact an Oklahoma City expungement lawyer. They can review your situation, and advise you on whether it makes sense to pursue an expungement.
Will My Expunged Record Show Up on a Background Check?
As a general rule, sealed and expunged records will not show up during a background check in Oklahoma. However, keep in mind that other online records of a criminal conviction may still be available, such as newspaper articles. In addition, law enforcement agencies will still have access to your arrest records.
One of the main benefits of getting an expungement is that an employer won’t be able to hold your criminal history against you. For this reason, it may be worth your time to pursue an expungement and clear your criminal record.
Considering Expungement? We Can Help.
Having a criminal record can make life much harder. If you have been convicted of a crime and completed your sentence, then you may be able to have those records sealed with an expungement.
Singleton Defense represents people in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas who have been charged with all types of crimes, from DUI to drug charges to assault and battery. We aggressively advocate for our client’s rights and freedom. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with an OKC criminal defense attorney, give us a call at 405-510-0345 or fill out our online contact form.