Expungement is a magic word that anyone in legal trouble wants to hear. Also called expunction, Oklahoma expungement is a court-ordered process where the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is gone from your record and erased in the eyes of the law. If a conviction is expunged, it can also be legally referred to as “setting aside a criminal conviction.”
For example, after a person’s criminal record has gone through the expungement process, the person does not need to disclose ever again that they were arrested or had a criminal conviction. Sometimes, the criminal record will not even show up in a background check, only by certain government agencies. Filling out an application for a job or an apartment just got a lot easier for that person!
As is usual with the law, the availability of expungement varies according to the state in which it occurred. In some states, it is not even possible to get an expungement in the first place. Luckily, Oklahoma still has an expungement process that almost anyone can apply to. It is important to know what is the situation at hand, and to have a lawyer that knows how to make sure the problem is solved. Call William R. Pierce, Oklahoma expungement lawyer is ready to help you erase your past and live your life!
Expungement Process in Oklahoma
As per usual, every state has their own qualifications for what kind of record can be completely expunged. In Oklahoma, the expungement process means that no one from the public can see or even find out about your expunged criminal record. However, there are only two exceptions to that rule. Your records will not be expunged because law enforcement will always have access to your records and because you also have a right to give permission to someone to see your expunged records.
In Oklahoma, not every criminal act can go through the expungement process. The following are the most common situations where a person in Oklahoma can expunge their records:
- If a misdemeanor or felony charges that were dismissed will not be filed again, or the statute of limitations has expired
- If you were arrested, but there were no charges filed and the statutes of limitations has passed
- If you were under the age of 18 when the offense was committed and the individual received full pardon
- If the misdemeanor conviction was less than a $501 fine, there was no jail or prison time, no felony convictions, and all fines were paid
- If the misdemeanor conviction was more than a $500 fine, all fines were paid, there was no felony conviction, and it has been five years since the end of the last misdemeanor sentence
- If you were given a 'not guilty' decision at your trial or appeal
There are two more reasons why a person would be granted an expungement. The first is because of identity theft. If you were arrested or charged because of the actions of someone who stole your identity, you could expunge the records caused by the identity theft. The second is if you were arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime related to prostitution when you were a victim of human trafficking. Sometimes the courts will automatically expunge your record if this is your case, but ask the court if they have not done so themselves.
Once you have decided you want to undergo the expungement process, you must petition the District Court in the District where the arrest was made. Afterwards, there will be a hearing where a judge decides the fate of your criminal record.
What Happens If My Record is Expunged?
Imagine if you have gone through the expungement process and now you are thinking, what happens next? What happens now or what do I say regarding my past?
If you have been expunged, you are allowed to say that you do not have a criminal record. Additionally, no one can force you to reveal what is in your expunged records (unless you give them permission). Finally, no one is allowed to deny you a job or housing because you refuse to reveal your records.
It is important to know what you can and cannot do in terms of your expungement so that no one can force you into revealing information you do not want to reveal. Having a lawyer on your side can educate you on what the process and the aftermath of your expungement process will look like.
What Cannot Be Expunged in Oklahoma
Although many criminal convictions can be expunged, there is one reason why you would not get your criminal record expunged: if you committed a violent felony. In Oklahoma, a violent felony includes, but is not limited to, crimes such as murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, robbery, and manslaughter.
However, in Oklahoma, if you receive a pardon from the Governor, you have a greater chance of going through the expungement process. If you are in this situation, speak to a lawyer and see if it is possible to even get a pardon in the first place. Then, let the expungement process begin.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you think you qualify for an expungement, that is reason enough to talk to a lawyer. They can help you understand the ins and outs of Oklahoma law regarding the expungement process. Additionally, they can also help maneuver you through the process and make sure you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need for Oklahoma Expungement ?
Due to the complicated matter at hand, it is important to choose the right lawyer that will best help your case. It is also important to have a lawyer that is experienced and updated with the current laws, since Oklahoma laws continuously change as the years pass by. Additionally, it is important to have someone who is well-versed in Oklahoma laws, since the law and their qualifications vary from state to state.
It is important to have a lawyer like William R. Pierce in your corner. As a highly accomplished former prosecutor and trial attorney, William R. Pierce has seen it all. His expertise in criminal charges and other legal matters will help you navigate the tricky waters of the law. He understands the law inside out and is committed to making sure your case is a priority.
When you need a lawyer’s help with a legal matter, you deserve more than just anyone with a law degree. You need a lawyer who is experienced and familiar with the law and the Oklahoma court system.
Call (405) 633-0064 to schedule a consultation with William R. Pierce Oklahoma expungement attorney.