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Oklahoma Expungement Bills Die in Adjournment

15-Sep-2015

In recent years, Oklahoma has had some significant changes to its expungement law. Notably, last November 1, several changes took effect that would allow more people to become eligible to have their records sealed under 22 O.S. §18, and it changed when they may become eligible:

Under last year's SB 2140, several significant changes occurred:

  • The waiting period for expungement following successful completion of a deferred sentence was reduced from two years to one year.
  • For those convicted of a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony, the amendment removed other misdemeanor convictions as a disqualifier for record expungement. 
  • In the case of expungement of a misdemeanor record, the waiting period was changed from 10 years following the conviction to 10 years following completion of the sentence.
  • In the case of expungement of nonviolent felony records, the person seeking expungement could not have any misdemeanor convictions in the past 15 years.

View last year's changes under SB 2140 here

Although both 2012 and 2014 saw big changes to Oklahoma expungement laws, 2015 sees nothing more than minor text changes--for example changing "as set forth" to "not listed" in reference to the state statute defining violent and nonviolent felonies.

In February, we looked at several proposed measures that, if passed, would have had an impact on expungements in Oklahoma. However, each of those bills was adjourned sine die. In other words, postponed indefinitely. They died along with the end of the 2015 legislative session.

It is unfortunate that none of those bills was able to get more consideration. We were especially excited about SB 442, which would have allowed record expungement for people convicted of 

We discussed SB 442 in depth here, but the bill never got beyond a second hearing referred to the judiciary committee.

If it had passed, SB 442 would add the following language to Section 18's list of expungement qualifiers:

13. The person was convicted of a drug offense other than aggravated drug trafficking or of a nonviolent misdemeanor offense, the person has not been convicted of an additional offense other than a misdemeanor punishable by thirty (30) days or less in jail, the person has not been revoked from probation or parole, and at least five (5) years have passed since the completion of the execution of the sentence.

The change would have been welcome in a state known for unnecessarily harsh drug laws and penalties. Perhaps the proposal will be resurrected next year for Oklahoma's 2016 legislative session.



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