Expunging your criminal record in Oklahoma can be challenging and is not always available, but the many benefits of having your criminal records removed are often worth the effort in seeking the expungement. Below we take a brief look at the benefits of expungement, who is eligible for expungement, and how to go about getting your criminal record expunged in Oklahoma.
Why Seek an Expungement?
If you have been convicted of a crime and already paid a penalty through jail time and/or a fine, expunging a record will not reverse those consequences. But by expunging your criminal record from public sight, you will be able to prevent employers and others from finding your records through public searches, and you will not to have say that you have a criminal record, even when asked. Furthermore, you cannot be denied housing or employment based on a refusal to disclose your past conviction. Expungement can therefore be of tremendous benefit in:
- Seeking employment
- Prevent current employers from learning of past crimes
- Renting an apartment, specifically in public housing
- Applying for public benefits, including food stamps and social security
- Protecting your reputation from those who would run a public background check
- Avoiding embarrassing revelations from your past
Law enforcement can still access expunged criminal records, but, importantly, employers and other members of the public cannot.
Who is Eligible for Expungement in Oklahoma
It may be easier to begin with who is not eligible for expungement in Oklahoma. If you have been convicted of a violent offense or sexual offense, or if you have not yet served the terms of a sentence for a crime for which you were guilty, then you will not be eligible. But if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony and meet certain criteria, or if you were convicted as a juvenile or later acquitted or pardoned of a crime, then you may be eligible for expungement. Speaking with an expungement attorney is the best way to determine your eligibility for expungement.
Obtaining Your Oklahoma Expungement
Obtaining an expungement in Oklahoma will generally require you to take the following steps:
- Locating a copy of your complete criminal records
- Speaking with an attorney to evaluate your options for expungement (an attorney can also assist in locating your records)
- Filing a petition with the court where the charges were filed and obtaining a hearing date
- Serving a copy of your petition to the District Attorney, the organization that arrested you (e.g. the local police department), and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
- Attending the hearing at which your attorney will present the case for why the benefit of your expungement would outweigh the harm to the public
- If successful, obtain your expungement from the judge
Work With a Former Oklahoma District Attorney in Seeking Your Expungement
Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney Patrick Quillian is former Oklahoma district attorney who understands the ins and outs of the expungement process and will advise you on the likelihood of a successful expungement and will take the steps to obtain your expungement if you are eligible. Contact the office of J. Patrick Quillian, Attorney at Law, today at 405-896-9768 to schedule a free consultation to see what his team can do for you.