Expungement is the legal process where the records of a misdemeanor or a non-violent felony case are sealed, and the conviction is removed from a person’s record. After an expungement is awarded, a person can legally say “no” when asked if ever been convicted of a crime.
Expungement reform took effect in November 2018. This new law allows for the elimination of the pardon requirement and reduces the waiting period for eligibility. However, it must be understood that this reform law only extends to those individuals convicted of not more than one non-violent felony offense.
Prior to the enactment of the reform law, an expungement required a full pardon and there could not be any other misdemeanor or felony convictions on a person’s record. A person could not be eligible to seek an expungement until after the required 10-year wait period.
Now, the waiting period is 5 years after completion of the sentence for the conviction, and the full pardon requirement is removed.
The expungement law of 2018 also reduces the waiting period for those convicted of a separate misdemeanor charge, in addition to a non-violent felony charge. The eligibility to seek an expungement of the non-violent felony charge is 7 years after the misdemeanor conviction.
Prior to the reform, a person with both a misdemeanor and a non-violent felony conviction would not be eligible for an expungement.
In Oklahoma, any misdemeanor charge with a fine of less than $500 can be immediately expunged.
When court records are sealed, no person outside of law enforcement can inspect the records without a court order. The expunged records must remain sealed for 10 years and, after 10 years, the records may be destroyed.
This post is an overview of the expungement laws in Oklahoma and the benefits of seeking and obtaining an expungement. The process is technical, and it is important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you would like a free consultation for further information on the process and your eligibility to seek an expungement, then please contact Aaron Bruner, Attorney at Law. Mr. Bruner is proud of his boutique practice specializing in criminal defense in the Tulsa and the Oklahoma City areas.
Mr. Bruner prides himself on his timely and efficient responses to all clients.