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Oklahoma Expungement Update; Law Change Effective November 1

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Our attorneys have experience handling Criminal Record Expungements, and can help individuals throughout Eastern Oklahoma. Call our office for a consultation.

Oklahoma Expungement Update; Law Change Effective November 1

The term “expungement” means that a person’s arrest or conviction is “sealed” or erased from their criminal record.[1] Once an expungement is granted, a person does not need to reveal or answer any question concerning the arrest, conviction, or any part of their criminal record. However, this does not mean that an arrest or a conviction is completely erased from the record; an expungement remains an integral part of an individual’s criminal record and readily accessible by criminal courts, government agencies, and law enforcement. It also refers to instances when a potential employer or landlord conducts a background check of a person’s criminal record.

Under current Oklahoma law, the expungement of a person’s record would occur when:

The individual received an acquittal;

  1. The appellate court [] reversed the conviction with instructions to dismiss the charge, or an appellate court [] reversed the conviction and the district attorney subsequently dismissed the
    charge;
  2. DNA established factual innocence of the person after conviction, including persons released from prison at the time their innocence was established;
  3. The person received a full [Governor’s] pardon based on a written finding of actual innocence by the Governor for the crime that the [individual] was sentenced for;
  4. The person was arrested and no charges of any type, including charges for an offense different than what the person was originally arrested for, are filed, as well as, the statute of limitations expiring; OR the prosecuting agency declined to file charges;
  5. The person was under eighteen (18) years of age [when] the offense was committed and the person received a full [Governor’s] pardon for the offense;
  6. 7.      The person was charged with one or more misdemeanor or felony crimes, all charges have been dismissed, the person has never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person, and the statute of limitations for refiling the charge or charges has expired, OR the prosecuting agency confirms that the charge[s] will not be refiled; provided, however, [that] this category shall not apply to [dismissed] charges after following the completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence;

The person was charged with a misdemeanor, the charge was dismissed followed by a successful completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, the person has never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person, and at least one (1) year passed since the charge was dismissed;

The person was charged with a nonviolent felony offense, not listed in Okla. Stat. tit. 57 § 571, the charge was dismissed following the successful completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, the person has never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, there are no misdemeanor or felony charges pending against the person, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the charge was dismissed;

The person was convicted of a misdemeanor offense, the person has not been convicted of a felony, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the end of the last misdemeanor sentence;

The person was convicted of a nonviolent felony offense, not listed in Okla. Stat. tit. 57 § 571, the person received a full [Governor’s] pardon for the offense, the person has not been convicted of any other felony, the person has not been convicted of a separate misdemeanor in the last fifteen (15) years, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the felony conviction; or

The person has been charged, arrested, or the subject of an arrest warrant for a crime that was committed by another person who [] used the person’s name or other identification without the person’s consent or authorization.[2]

Oklahoma Expungement Reform Bill in Effect on November 1, 2016

However, in June 2016, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2397, which amended several sections of this Expungement of Criminal Records statute. These new amendments primarily focus on changing the wait times for expungement records (which depend on the sentence), separating out misdemeanor fines from misdemeanor suspended and jail sentences, and removing misdemeanor convictions from the expungement analysis regarding deferred sentences. This House Bill comes into effect on November 1, 2016.

The amendments will do the following:

  • Allow expungement for a person convicted of a misdemeanor, if the offense/fine was less than $501 and the person served no term of imprisonment or suspended sentence.
  • Allow expungement for two felony convictions, after a Governor’s pardon and 20 years has passed;
  • Allow expungement of civil records relating to the underlying criminal arrest;
    Prospectively, limit the listing of date of birth records and social security numbers on court documents;
  • Will make expunged DNA records inadmissible in future prosecutions;
  • Notify the “Prosecuting Agency” instead of the “District Attorney;”
  • No longer disqualify deferred sentence expungements for misdemeanor convictions

The changes above are not an exhaustive list of amendments to the law, but the most relevant, in our opinion. For a final version of the bill signed by the Governor, please view it here

If you have questions about how the Oklahoma expungement update impacts your ability to seek an expungement in Oklahoma, please contact our office for a consultation. Our Tulsa criminal defense attorneys are available to serve clients throughout Northeastern Oklahoma.

[1] Okla. Stat. tit. 22, § 18(B).

[2] Id.

Carlos L. Williams

About the Author Carlos Williams & Associates, PLLC is a firm that services the Oklahoma
community. Over the years, we have demonstrated our skills and expertise
as a leading single source for legal support throughout Oklahoma.

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