Expungement vs. Sealing: How Can You Clear Your Criminal Record in Oklahoma?

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What is Expungement in Oklahoma?

Do you have a criminal record? Having a criminal record in Oklahoma can have long-lasting negative effects on an individual’s life, potentially impacting their opportunities for employment, education, housing, disability income, privacy, public benefits, and other possibilities. While we encourage those facing criminal charges to retain professional legal representation for the opportunity to defend their legal rights and limit the vulnerabilities of having a criminal record in their future, for some of our clients, it is already too late for that. You may already have a criminal record, and you’re feeling the impact it has on your life. Thankfully, there is a means by which certain individuals can have their records effectively cleaned up and criminal convictions hidden from public view.

For certain eligible individuals with criminal records, it is possible to have their criminal record expunged. Expungement prevents any trace of an individual’s criminal record from showing up to any prying eyes in background checks (other than law enforcement). This could open up several opportunities for those who previously suffered under the burden of having a criminal record in the past.

For those looking to have their criminal record expunged, it is highly recommended that they retain professional legal counsel from criminal defense attorneys. Our law firm has years of experience representing clients in complex criminal defense legal matters, including the expungement of criminal records. To learn more about our respectful, attentive, and communicative legal services, please contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation.

What Are the Requirements for Expunging Your Criminal Record in Oklahoma?

The requirements for criminal record expungement in Oklahoma can be fairly complex. The majority of legal requirements for qualifying for record expungement require a certain length of time to have transpired since the resolution of your criminal case. This waiting period will go along with other requirements that go into qualifying for Oklahoma record expungement.

Additionally, those who meet the basic criteria for record expungement in Oklahoma must also obtain the consent of interested parties or prevail at a courtroom hearing in District Court for their request for criminal record expungement.

To make sure that you qualify for criminal record expungement, please contact our Tulsa, Oklahoma, law office to schedule your free initial consultation with our highly skilled legal team.

What Records Can Be Expunged?

Not all types of criminal records can be expunged in Oklahoma.

Misdemeanor and felony charges could potentially be expunged from your Oklahoma criminal records if the following circumstances apply:

  •  Deferred sentencing. The individual received a deferred judgment or delayed sentence for a misdemeanor criminal offense and then successfully completed their sentence. You may be able to apply for record expungement one year after the sentence has passed. Additionally, you must have no prior convictions as well as no pending felony criminal charges.
  • Dismissed charges for misdemeanor and for felony offenses. In order to file for expungement, you must have no pending criminal charges and no prior felony convictions, and the statute of limitations for refiling criminal charges for your case must have expired.
  • Nonviolent felony offense. If you received a deferred or delayed sentence for a nonviolent felony and successfully completed your sentence, you may apply for expungement five years after the dismissal of charges. Additionally, you must have no prior felony or misdemeanor convictions and no pending criminal charges.

How is Expungement Different from Sealing a Criminal Record in OK?

In Oklahoma, the terms expungement and record sealing are often used interchangeably.

In most states, record sealing involves shielding a criminal record from public view. This would prevent anyone, such as potential future employers or landlords, from finding your criminal record in a standard background check. In other states, expungement refers to the complete destruction of a criminal conviction. In the eyes of the court, it is as though that conviction never existed in the first place.

What Oklahoma law commonly refers to as expungement is typically called record sealing in other states. This is because the state of Oklahoma does not allow the courts to order the physical destruction of any expunged records. By expunging your records, they are effectively sealed from public access. The public cannot gain access to expunged records via a subpoena or the Open Records Act.

What Are Common Qualifications for Record Expungement?

The following are the most common qualifications for expungement:

  • DNA evidence proved your innocence.
  • You received a juvenile conviction.
  • You were acquitted at trial.
  • You were arrested. However, no charges were ever filed, and sufficient time has passed since the arrest.
  • You were charged with a criminal offense, but those charges were eventually dismissed or dropped, and a sufficient amount of time has passed.
  • You were convicted of a misdemeanor offense.
  • You were exonerated.
  • You were pardoned.
  • Your conviction was overturned.

Can You Legally Say You Were Never Arrested if Your Record is Expunged?

If you’ve had your record expunged, you can say that you do not have a criminal record. Nobody can force you to reveal what is in any potentially expunged records. Additionally, no one can deny you a job or housing opportunity because you refused to reveal any expunged records.

However, remember that law enforcement has the ability to see expunged records. If you are ever in court on another legal matter, law enforcement may use your expunged records to discredit your testimony, and the prosecution may use your expunged records against your case.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today

Our legal practice has extensive experience representing clients in complex legal issues related to criminal records and the possibility of expunging those records. We pride ourselves on providing dedicated legal representation to clients in need of our help.

To learn more about the criminal record expungement process and whether or not you qualify, please contact our Tulsa law offices to schedule your free case review today.

You may contact us by phone at 918-553-5771.

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