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Proposed Changes to Oklahoma Expungement Laws in 2015

15-Feb-2015

A few days ago, we looked at a few of the bill proposals before the Oklahoma legislature during the 2015 legislative session. Of particular interest to anyone who is burdened by record of a criminal conviction, arrest, or Victim Protective Order are the several bills which would affect the expungement of criminal records in Oklahoma.

On November 1, 2014, changes to the previous expungement laws took effect which made it easier for some people to clear their records. This year, there are four more expungement bills presented for the consideration of the state lawmakers.

SB 384, sponsored by Senators John Sparks (D) and John Bennett (R) would create a new law that would require a $150 fee for expungement orders presented to a county sheriff's office. The expungement would not be processed until the fee is paid, with funds going to the Sheriff's Service Fee Account.

HB 1263, sponsored by Ken Walker (R), would amend 22 O.S. § 19 dealing with expungement procedures. The amendment would make some minor changes to the language of the bill, but more importantly, it would add a provision that allows for the reimbursement of filing fees and court costs for anyone who qualifies for expungement as a result of factual innocence determined by DNA evidence after conviction.

HB 1754, sponsored by Tom Newell (R), would also establish reimbursement of filing fees and court costs for people who qualify for record expungement under certain conditions. While HB 1263 would reimburse filing fees for those who qualify for expungement only as a result of post-conviction DNA evidence proving innocence, HB 1754 would allow reimbursement also to those who have been acquitted.

SB442, sponsored by Kim David (R), would amend 22 O.S. § 18 to expand exungement eligibility to people convicted of certain drug crimes. This amendment would add a thirteenth qualifier to the previously established 12 eligibility standards for a Section 18 expungement: 

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of an additional offense other than a misdemeanor punishable by thirty (30) days or less in jail, the person has not been revoked from probation or parole, and at least five (5) years have passed since the completion of the execution of the sentence.

If SB 442 passes, it could affect a significant number of people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes, allowing freedom from criminal record of past offenses. 

For many people, the lingering impact of a criminal record can seem more detrimental than the initial sentence. A criminal record can negatively impact employment, financial, and educational opportunities, and it can carry a stigma that complicates personal relationships. If you believe you may qualify to clear your record under existing Oklahoma expungement laws, call to speak with an attorney about how to petition for expungement. If you do not yet qualify, follow us to keep up with pending and new legislation related to expungement in Oklahoma.



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