If you have a criminal record, life is often difficult. Employers, lenders, universities, and medical boards do not accept people with a criminal record and will take preventative measures to remove applicants with a criminal history. However, there is a legal pathway to opportunity thanks to expungement.
So, what is expungement in Oklahoma? Keep reading to find out.
What Is a Criminal Record?
To understand expungement, it is important to first look at criminal records. A criminal record or history is a list of a person’s contact with the justice system. In other words, every time a person interacts with the justice system, it is recorded on their criminal record. This includes arrests, convictions, detentions, and investigations.
There are several types of criminal record keeping systems including:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation RAP sheet: This record keeps track of any contact with the criminal justice system in any state and includes federal crimes
- State RAP sheet: This includes contacts within the state. Some employers may not be able to access this, but it will show up on most background checks.
- Criminal History: Companies may sell criminal history reports to employers or property owners and the report is accessible to the general public. While these records include a wealth of information, they are not as comprehensive as an FBI RAP sheet.
It is important to remember that criminal records include all contacts with law enforcement and the court system. This means that an arrest without a conviction could be on your record along with actual criminal convictions.
Expungement is the erasure or removal of a crime from a person’s criminal record. Once a crime has been expunged, it is no longer accessible to the general public. In Oklahoma, there are two types of expungements.
- Section 18: Allows a person to expunge their entire arrest record
- Section 991(c): A person who received a deferred sentence for a specific crime is eligible for expungement, but they must provide proof that their case was deferred or dismissed.
The Expungement Process
To apply for expungement, you need to file a Petition for Expungement or an Order of Dismissal with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). Petitions must include identifying information like your name, date of birth, crimes to be expunged, date of arrest, and the final verdict in your case. You may file for expungement of multiple arrests, but the petition must be filed in the county where the arrest occurred.
Once the OSBI reviews your petition, it can take anywhere between a few weeks to a little over a month for their final decision. Only after you have submitted all of the necessary paperwork, fees, and records can the OSBI begin its review.
Thankfully, there is no statute of limitations on crimes or arrests you would like to expunge. You may petition for expunction of any arrest/crime and the age of the record will not disqualify you. However, the OSBI may reject your request even if you qualify.
Not only does expungement apply to state and local crimes and arrests, but it also seals the FBI RAP Sheet. This means that the crime expunged will not show up on any records state or federal.
Take Back Your Future
Criminal records can be devastating and hold you back from seeking out opportunities. Expungement can reopen those doors so you can take back your future with confidence. While the process is somewhat simple, you should always consult an attorney.
The OSBI can and will reject petitions at any time for a multitude of reasons. An attorney not only helps you prepare the petition, but they can also advocate for you every step of the way. When your future hangs in the balance, you need an experienced guide to help.
Contact Nichols Dixon PLLC about filing for expungement today.