There are a lot of misconceptions about record expungement. All of them are damaging in some way, so it is important to understand what it really takes to clear your criminal record.
Some people believe that, like your driving record, the offense just "drops off" after a certain length of time with "good behavior." That misguided belief can create significant legal problems, as this guy found out. When arrested at an Oklahoma City gun show for being a felon in possession of a firearm, he told police, "Yeah, I was only imprisoned for nine and a half months, and it was so long that I thought they had pardoned it." Unfortunately for him, a pardon is not automatically granted for a short stint decades ago. Regardless of your situation, you must apply for a pardon which can only be granted by the governor after a review and recommendation by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.
Other people believe that only misdemeanors or juvenile crimes are eligible for expungement. While this belief will not get you arrested or in legal hot water, it can prevent you from getting relief from your criminal record if you have been convicted of a non-violent felony.
Can My Felony be expunged?
The short answer is "maybe." While violent felonies cannot be expunged, non-violent felonies may be expunged under certain circumstances identified in 22 O.S. 18, the statute that describes what is commonly known as a Section 18 expungement or a full expungement. Under this statute, the following criteria refer to the expungement of felony records:
- You were arrested and charged with a felony, but the charges were dismissed, you have never been convicted of a felony, and you have no pending misdemeanor or felony charges.
- You were charged with a non-violent felony offense, the charge was dismissed after you successfully completed a deferred sentence, you have no other misdemeanor or felony convictions or pending charges, and at least 10 years have passed since the dismissal of your case.
- You were convicted of a non-violent felony offense, but you have received a full pardon for the offense, and you have no other misdemeanor or felony convictions or pending cases, and at least 10 years have passed since your conviction.
If you believe you meet these criteria or one of the other eligibility requirements listed in Section 18, click here to get in touch with an Oklahoma expungement lawyer who can help you determine the type of expungement for which you qualify, or who can help you secure a pardon to facilitate an expungement of your nonviolent felony conviction.
Keep in mind that the records of violent felony convictions cannot be expunged. Offenses considered "violent felonies" are listed in 57 O.S. 571. Among these 42 listed offenses are the following violent crimes:
- Murder and attempted murder
- Aggravated assault, assault of a police officer, and assault with a dangerous or deadly weapon
- Rape, including statutory rape
- Robbery and armed robbery
- First degree burglary
- and more.
View the full list of inexpugnable violent felonies here.