Expungement is a legal process that offers individuals a chance for a clean slate by erasing or sealing past convictions. By making it easier to reintegrate into society, this process opens up opportunities for employment, housing and other aspects of life.
In Oklahoma, specific rules govern this process, determining who qualifies and how to navigate the steps involved.
Check your eligibility
Before diving into the expungement process, you need to figure out if you are eligible. Not all offenses qualify. It depends on factors like the type of offense, the sentence given and how much time has passed since completing your sentence or probation. Misdemeanors, non-violent felonies and juvenile offenses are more likely to meet the criteria for expungement.
Additionally, there are two types of expungement in Oklahoma. A section 18 expungement will clear your entire arrest record. A section 991c expungement leaves the record of the arrest and charge in place but shows that the court dismissed the case.
File your request
To start the expungement process, you must file a request with the local district court where the conviction occurred. Your request should include details about the charges, your conviction date and the sentence you received. You might also need to show evidence of your efforts to rehabilitate and meet post-conviction requirements.
Get a review by the court
The court carefully reviews your request, considering factors like the seriousness of the offense, your criminal history and the time that has passed since your conviction. If the court grants your expungement, your criminal record is either sealed or completely erased, making it private. However, law enforcement, state or federal investigative agencies and the court may still have access to sealed records if the police accuse you of another crime in the future, if you are pursuing a career in law enforcement or as part of a background check for a firearms purchase.
Expungement laws can change, so staying informed about any updates that might affect your eligibility or the process is important.