Oklahoma Expungement Attorney
Many of the individuals who find themselves convicted of a crime in Oklahoma are generally not bad people. That is why the Oklahoma Legislature has put into place certain procedures to allow individuals previously convicted of a violation of the Oklahoma Statutes the ability to move past the conviction. Retaining an expungement attorney can help assist in this situation. Not ever criminal defense attorney handles expungements, so it is integral that you consult with someone who has a vast background in expungement law and litigation. The laws on expungements commonly change from year to year, so make sure that you hire someone with a complete understanding of the process.
What is an Expungement?
An expungement is the process a Defendant must endure in order to get the record of a criminal conviction or arrest removed by Court Order. Depending on the type of expungement, there are many regulations and rules that must be followed. Moreover, there are multiple governmental agencies that must be contacted and put on notice. Those agencies ultimately will agree to the expungement or object, in which case a contested hearing may have to be held in order to complete the expungement process. Once the expungement is complete, the record is deemed not to exist and the Defendant may deny the existence of the records for most intents and purposes.
Are there different types of expungements?
A Section 18 expungement allows a person to expunge their entire arrest record. This is the expungement that most people have in mind when they think about clearing their respective record. It will wipe the arrest and the criminal disposition clean from your OSBI record, and it will also order the removal of any information related to the criminal charge, and the expungement lawsuit itself, from the internet.
A Section 991(c) expungement allows a person who received a deferred sentence to expunge their plea, and have the disposition of their case updated to show the case has been dismissed. The disposition will say, "pled not guilty, case dismissed". However, a 991(c) expungement will not expunge (remove) the arrest record.
These two types of expungements are not mutually exclusive. That is to say, a person can petition for both a 991(c) expungement when he or she becomes eligible and then petition from a Section 18 expungement when he or she becomes eligible for that relief as well.
What is the difference between an expungement and a pardon?
Expungements and pardons are not the same. An expungement clears your record to one degree or another depending on the particular expungement that you qualify for. A pardon does not clear your record. To the contrary, a pardon only returns some of your civil rights that may have been taken from you once convicted of a felony. Please see our page on Oklahoma pardons for more information.
How do I get an arrest expunged?
In order to have an arrest record expunged you must petition the District Court in the District the arrest was made. In most cases, you have to file an actual civil lawsuit against the state of Oklahoma requesting that your arrest record, and all other records related to the case, be expunged from public access. This is an intricate process with many potential pitfalls. Once the lawsuit is filed, there is quite a bit of legal "red tape" that must be properly navigated in order to achieve a successful result. Consequently, you will be well advised to hire an Oklahoma expungement attorney to assist you in filing your lawsuit.
Do I need a lawyer?
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) generally stresses that you hire a lawyer. However, the language describing the method of obtaining an expungement is in Title 22 Section 18, and Title 22 991(c) of the Oklahoma Statutes. As such, it is possible to try and attempt an expungement on your own, but why take the risk? Moreover, Oklahoma expungement laws changed in November of 2012, November of 2014, and new Oklahoma expungement laws will again be added and modified in November of 2016.
With so much fluctuation in the expungement laws, you need someone who regularly handles expungements and has the legal knowledge to adequately assist you. The laws are constantly changing, and it is important that you do not waist valuable time and money when you need to get something removed from your record. An expungement petition should be viewed the same as any other legal proceeding: if you are going to appear in court or initiate a lawsuit, you should hire counsel that can protect your interests and make sure that you get the exact relief you are requesting.
Does it matter that the arrest occurred more than 10-20-30 years ago?
The only requirement is that you meet the qualifications of the expungement statutes before an expungement can be granted. To be fair, time periods can come into play depending on when the conviction or arrest actually occurred. Depending on what you are trying to expunge, and how much time has passed since the record was created, you may or may not meet the qualifications of the expungement statutes. This is another reason why it is so important to consult with, and hire, an experienced expungement attorney.
Do I automatically get an expungement if I qualify under the statutes?
Many people feel that their criminal convictions or arrest records should simply disappear from their records after some period of time. Sadly, this is not the case. Even if a petition for expungement is filed, there are some very rare occasions in which either the arresting agency, the District Attorney's office, or OSBI may object to the expungement of certain records.
The OSBI will object to an expungement petition if it feels that the public interest in retaining the record outweighs the adverse consequences of keeping the record. Even if a person qualifies, both OSBI and the District Attorney's office can object on policy grounds.
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime in Oklahoma, you may be eligible to have the record of your conviction expunged. You need an Oklahoma expungement attorney, and you need one right now. Call the Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C., and retain an accomplished attorney ready to fight for your rights. Call us today at (405) 778-4800 for a free consultation.