A clear criminal record in Okmulgee helps you move on with your life.
You serve your time, comply with all the court’s orders, pay your fines and costs, and are finally free to move on with your life. Or so you think. You apply for a job, and one of the questions on the application asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime. Your prior conviction can follow you for years after you complete your sentence. It can interfere with your ability to get a job, adequate housing, and even interfere in your relationships.
Oklahoma has come to understand that there is a correlation between getting a good job, good housing and avoiding jail again in the future. As such, the Oklahoma legislature has passed laws on expungement that make it easier than ever to clear a criminal record and move on with your life.
What Records Does Expungement Help Clear?
Expungement is the tool used to clear a criminal record. Technically, expungement seals records. But sealing criminal records hides them from public view. When you clear a criminal record, it is as if the criminal record never existed at all. In fact, once an expungement is granted, if asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, it is legal to answer “no.”
While there are various types of expungement possible, the very best expungement is one that clears all references to the criminal record. This type of expungement clears the arrest record, the court file, and all online websites used for background checks such as On Demand Court Records (ODCR.com) and Oklahoma State Courts Network (OSCN). Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 18
Qualifying to Clear a Criminal Record
Just as there are varying types of expungements, there are varying qualifying criteria for clearing a criminal record. Erasing a complete criminal record via expungement is the most complete type of expungement available, but only certain types of crimes qualify. Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 18
Only misdemeanors and non-violent felonies qualify for this kind of expungement.
In addition, you must wait the prescribed time after completion of your sentence in order to petition the court for this type of clearing of a criminal record in Okmulgee County.
At one time, you had to wait a full 10 years to begin the expungement process. But waiting this long made it really difficult to pick up your life and move on. Oklahoma has shortened the period to five years in most cases.
And while it used to be the case that people with both a non-violent felony and a separate misdemeanor conviction were ineligible to clear a criminal record, Oklahoma now allows expungement of a nonviolent felony after a separate misdemeanor conviction in seven years. And no pardon is required now.
A conviction of a nonviolent felony with a deferred judgment or delayed sentence will qualify after five years after the completion of the sentence. A conviction of a nonviolent felony with a sentence other than a deferred or suspended sentence will also qualify, but the wait will be longer. A misdemeanor conviction resulting in jail time or a fine in excess of $500, will also qualify in five years after the completion of the sentence.
Expungement may be immediate in the case of a misdemeanor that involved no jail time and where the fine was less than $501, or one year after completing a deferred judgment or suspended sentence on a misdemeanor charge. Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 18
Do I Need an Attorney to Clear a Criminal Record in Okmulgee?
Although it is possible to handle an expungement petition on your own, there are specific petition, notice, and hearing requirements that must be met in order for the expungement to be granted. If any of these requirements are not met, the petition will not be granted.
Once the petition is complete and filed, a hearing date will be assigned. All interested parties, including the OSBI (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation), must be given adequate notice of the hearing and they must be given the opportunity to object to the expungement. In addition to the petition itself, the OSBI must receive all the following information: name, Social Security number, date of birth, the crimes you were charged with, your arrest date, and the disposition of the case.
The state may object to expungement if it feels that there is more benefit in keeping the records public and less benefit to you in the expungement of them.
A judge will rule on the matter, and if the judge rules in your favor, your records will be sealed and your criminal record will be cleared.
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