Can I Seal My Oklahoma Records?
A young man called and expressed a concern he had about his Oklahoma arrest record and the possibility it could and would stop him from getting a new higher paying job that he had applied for. “Can you erase my record?” he asked. “Do criminal records expire after a certain amount of time? Is there a statute of limitations or something?” The young man was excited to find out that yes, we could help him with his record in Oklahoma. The process is called expungement. If you have your Oklahoma record expunged, employers, landlords, and colleges can no longer discriminate against you for having a criminal record. Without an expungement, these institutions may legally discriminate against you because of a past criminal record. Even if you were merely arrested and no charges were filed, an employer may legally discriminate against you for that reason and deny you the job.
The same goes for landlords and apartment complexes. They may legally deny you housing if they do not approve of the information on your background check. Colleges and universities may also eliminate your application if you have a criminal record. You can also lose out on grant money if you have a drug charge. By getting an expungement, you seal all of this information away, and you can legally deny it ever happened. So when you fill out that job application or that college application, you can check the box “NO” when it asks “have you ever been arrested?” Remeber that an expungement in Oklahoma does not physically destroy the records, but merely prevents the public from accessing them.
What is an Oklahoma Expungement?
An expungement is a legal process in Oklahoma that seals criminal records from public access. Once your criminal record has been court-ordered expunged, you can legally deny that it ever happened. So let’s be clear on just what information Jones Brown PLLC is capable of helping a person expunge. The types of records which are eligible for expungement fall into these categories:
- Arrest only
- Misdemeanor case
- Non-violent felony case
- Victim Protective Order
Expunging Arrest-Only Records in Oklahoma
You can expunge an arrest record if you were arrested, but no charges were ever filed, and the statute of limitations to file those charges has now expired. The limitations period for the District Attorney to field charges varies depending on what type of crime. But most crimes have a three-year statute of limitations. So if you were arrested, but released, and they never did file a criminal court case against you, we can expunge that arrest record if 3 or more years have passed.
Any Case that was Dismissed by the State of Oklahoma
If criminal charges were filed against you, but the charges were dismissed, you may have your case expunged (including arrest records, booking information, and court documents) if:
- You’ve never been convicted of a felony
- You currently have no cases pending (misdemeanor or felony)
- The time period for the State to re-file the charges has passed.
If you meet these three criteria, then we can seal and expunge from public access the entirety of your case.
Expunging Misdemeanors in Oklahoma
Misdemeanor expungements fall into three categories:
- You were charged with a misdemeanor case, but the judge threw it out
- You pleaded guilty and received a deferred sentence
- You pleaded guilty and paid a fine
If you pleaded guilty and received a deferred, did you complete the probation requirements? If your deferred was successful, all costs were paid, and the court dismissed your case following completion of the deferred, then we can expunge your case. The eligibility begins one year after completion of the deferred.
If you simply paid a fine, that is considered a conviction. Here, the law divides it up into two categories: above and below $500.
If the fine was $500 or less, we can immediately expunge your case. As in, the day after you paid the fine.
If the fine was $501 or more than you must wait five years. This goes for suspended sentences and time served on misdemeanors, as well. If you were given ten days in jail, then it’s five years after that sentence was completed.
Expunging Non-Violent Felony Cases
Non-violent felonies can be expunged if the case went to trial and you were acquitted, the case was dismissed, or you received a deferred. For the vast majority of people seeking an expungement, it will be because they pleaded guilty to the crime. In that case, you must have received a deferred to be eligible. The eligibility begins five years after the deferred was completed.
Contact Jones Brown Law
At Jones Brown, we know that even good people may have a criminal history in their past. The good news is that a person who may have made a misguided decision, or a person who has genuinely learned their lesson has a chance in the justice system for a new start.
Expungement is the established system of sealing arrest and conviction records. There are different levels of expungement, meaning that it could simply be removed from online searches, all the way up to removal from the court system altogether. To find out if you’re eligible for expungement of your records, contact the law offices of Jones Brown.
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