One of the most common types of arrest in Oklahoma is a DUI arrest. For many people, a DUI conviction is the only mark on an otherwise unblemished record, and having record of this criminal conviction can be both embarrassing and problematic. If you have a DUI arrest or conviction on your criminal record, you will likely be relieved to know that the state of Oklahoma allows DUI convictions to be expunged, or cleared from your record, if you meet certain eligibility requirements.
Often, a DUI arrest is a person's first and only run-in with the criminal justice system in Oklahoma. Frequently, a first-offense DUI will lead to a deferred sentence rather than a criminal conviction. This means that the defendant would plead guilty to DUI, but rather than accepting the plea and convicting and sentencing the defendant, the judge delays judgment and sentencing. Instead, the judge orders the defendant to serve probation, with the judgment and sentencing to take place after the defendant has had time to serve his or her probation. If the defendant does not fulfill his or her probationary terms (court costs, fines, fees, drug and alcohol treatment, community service, etc.) then the judge will likely accelerate judgement and sentence the defendant to jail. If the person does successfully complete probation, the plea is changed to "not guilty" and the DUI is dismissed.
A dismissal after a deferred sentence is called a Section 991c expungement. The court records are updated as described above (not guilty, dismissed), and the defendant's name is stricken from the court records.
However, a 991c does not erase the arrest record on file with the OSBI, so often, a 991c expungement is insufficient for people wishing to truly clear their records. Also, if you were convicted of DUI, then the deferred sentence expungement does not apply to your situation.
Fortunately, there is still another way--a more thorough way--to clear a DUI from your record:
- Your misdemeanor DUI was dismissed after a deferred sentence, you have never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, have no pending misdemeanor or felony charges, and at least one (1) year has passed since your DUI charge was dismissed;
- Your felony DUI charge was dismissed after a deferred sentence, you have never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, you have no pending misdemeanor or felony charges and at least ten (10) years have passed since your DUI charge was dismissed;
- You were convicted of misdemeanor DUI, you have not been convicted of a felony, you have no pending misdemeanor or felony charges, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the end of your DUI sentence;
- You were convicted of felony DUI, you received a full pardon for the offense, you have not been convicted of any other felony, you have not been convicted of a separate misdemeanor in the last fifteen (15) years, you have no pending felony or misdemeanor charges, and at least ten (10) years have passed since your DUI conviction.
To learn more about DUI expungement, or to find out if you qualify for expungement of another misdemeanor or felony offense, call 405-778-4800 to speak with an Oklahoma criminal lawyer about your case.