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Oklahoma Law Allows Prostitution Expungement for Trafficking Victims

16-Nov-2013

A new Oklahoma law pertaining to full expungement of criminal records allows victims of human trafficking to have prostitution arrest records expunged. The new law, which took effect on November 1 of this year, adds a section to the existing expungement laws that could make it easier for human trafficking victims to quickly have their arrest records expunged.

In Oklahoma, there are two types of record expungement. Under 22 O.S.§ 991c, a person may have his or her court records sealed upon completion of a deferred sentence. While this provides some relief, it does leave in place a person's record with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). There are laws in place to allow for a full expungement; however, qualifying for full expungement under 22 O.S.§ 18-19 may be more difficult. It is to this section the new law is added.

There are 12 specific criteria under which a person may qualify for a Section 18 expungement, including acquittal, reversal of conviction, full pardon with finding of actual innocence, an arrest after which no charges were filed, a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony with no subsequent charges within a designated time frame, full pardon of a juvenile conviction, all charges dismissed, and more.

Subsequent sections of the law, in §19a and, now, §19c add two classes of people eligible for full record expungement upon motion of the district attorney or the court itself. Section 19a applies to victims of identity theft, and Section 19c applies to victims of human trafficking.

Section 19c, which was enacted under HB 1058 and which took effect earlier this month, reads in part as follows:

"The court, upon its own motion or upon petition by the defendant and for good cause shown, may enter an order for expungement of law enforcement and court records relating to a charge or conviction for a prostitution-related offense committed as a result of the defendant having been a victim of human trafficking."

This means that in some cases, a victim of human trafficking may not even have to file a petition for expungement--the D.A. or the court will take care of it automatically. This automatic expungement may occur, but it will not necessarily occur. For more information about Oklahoma expungement, visit our website, or click here to contact an attorney who can help you clear your record.



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