If you have been arrested in Oklahoma for a crime, then that record is likely available to your current or potential employer, even if you were acquitted of the crime or successfully completed all terms of your criminal sentence. Although some states do not allow employers to search for criminal records of employees where there was not a conviction, Oklahoma does allow employers to do so, and the state maintains arrest records on a publically available database. In order to keep past criminal records (whether you were found guilty or not) a secret from employers and others may require you to go through the expungement process in Oklahoma, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you in the expungement process.
Expunging Past Arrests and Other Criminal Records in Oklahoma
For most people seeking to keep their Oklahoma arrest and other criminal records secret, a Section 18 expungement is the best option. People who have been arrested and later acquitted as well as some people who have been convicted of the crime can use a Section 18 expungement to have their records sealed so that the general public, including employers, cannot access them. Those past records eligible for Section 18 expungements include:
- Acquittals: If you were acquitted at trial, you can have your arrest record expunged.
Reversals on Appeal: If you appealed your criminal conviction and the appellate court reversed the trial court's decision and there was a dismissal, the records may be expunged.
- Factual Innocence: If you were convicted but DNA evidence later proved your innocence, the records may be expunged.
- Misdemeanors: If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you may be eligible for expungement. If prison time was served, you may need to wait five years prior to expungement.
- Nonviolent Felonies: Those convicted of nonviolent offenses may be eligible for expungement if they have served their sentences and a sufficient period of time has passed, e.g. 10 years in the case of a single felony.
Expungement can only be accomplished through a court order, which requires petitioning the court for the expungement. An experienced criminal defense attorney can guide you through the process of successfully obtaining an expungement of past arrest records and conviction records in order to protect your reputation and career by preventing current and future employers from accessing such records.
Experienced Legal Guidance in Your Oklahoma Expungement
J. Patrick Quillian, Attorney at Law, is a criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma City with years of experience in helping his clients rebuild through lives through successful expungements of their criminal records and arrest records. Contact his office today at 405-896-9768 to schedule a consultation to see what his criminal defense team can do for you.