If you are given a deferred sentence in Oklahoma, you may have your court record sealed if you successfully complete your probation. Your name will be stricken from court records, and the records are updated to reflect that you pleaded not guilty and your case was dismissed. While this removes your name from the online Oklahoma State Courts Network Case Search and On Demand Court Records, your arrest record remains on file with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). For some people, expungement of a deferred sentence under Title 22 Section 991c of the Oklahoma statutes does not provide enough relief. Fortunately, certain individuals are eligible for a "full expungement" if they meet the criteria specified under Section 18 of that title.
Receiving a Full Expungement in Oklahoma
Section 18 provides twelve specific categories that allow a person to file a petition for expungement:
- The person was acquitted, or received a verdict of not guilty
- An appellate court reversed the conviction and ordered the lower court to dismiss, or the case was reversed and the prosecutor dismissed charges;
- DNA evidence proves the person to be factually innocent;
- The governor issues a full pardon on the basis of factual innocence;
- The person was arrested and no charges were filed and the statute of limitations has expired;
- The person was a juvenile under the age of 18 when the offense was committed, and he or she has since received a full pardon;
- All charges against the person were dismissed and the person has not been convicted of any crime, there are no pending charges against the person, and the statute of limitations for refiling has expired or the prosecutor confirms that charges will not be refiled;
- The person was charged with a misdemeanor and the charge was dismissed after successful completion of a deferred sentence and at least two years have passed without any convictions or pending criminal cases;
- The person was charged with a nonviolent felony and the charge was dismissed after successful completion of a deferred sentence and at least ten years have passed without any convictions or pending criminal cases;
- At least ten years have passed following a misdemeanor conviction with no criminal convictions or pending charges;
- At least ten years have passed following a nonviolent felony conviction, and the person has received a full pardon and has no criminal convictions or pending criminal charges; or
- The person was arrested and charged or subject to an arrest warrant for a crime committed by someone else who unlawfully appropriated the person's name or identification.
In some cases, the sealed court record may be available to law enforcement and may be used without a court order in subsequent criminal proceedings; however, for most people, record expungement will allow the person to be free of his or her criminal record and the stigma and difficulties it brings. State law allows a person who has received a full expungement of the record to "properly reply, upon any inquiry in the matter, that no such action ever occurred and that no such record exists with respect to such person." In other words, if someone is asked on an employment application if he or she has ever been convicted of a crime, he or she may legally reply, "No." The law says that the "official actions shall be deemed never to have occurred"--for the person wishing to be shed of a criminal past, it is as if it never happened.
More Information on Expunctions
Read more about record expungement on The Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C. website or click here to submit a free, confidential case evaluation form.