In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a criminal records expungement acts as an erasure. It is a sealing of court documents that prevents the public from seeing your criminal records.
Types of Criminal Records Expungement in Tulsa
There are two types of expungement possible in Oklahoma — expungement of your entire criminal record (Okla. Stat. tit.22 § 18) and expungement of your name from court records (Okla. Stat. tit.22 § 991c).
A Section 18 expungement is more complete. It seals the arrest record, print and online court records, and background checks.
Are You Eligible?
New legislation took effect in November 2016. It loosened the eligibility requirements for those seeking an expungement of their criminal records, making it possible for more people to obtain a criminal records expungement and to obtain it more quickly. This allows people to move forward with their lives.
Under the new legislation you are eligible if:
- you were acquitted; or
- your conviction was reversed and the case was dismissed; or
- DNA evidence proves that you are innocent; or
- you received a full pardon from the Oklahoma governor based on a finding of innocence; or
- you were arrested but never charged and the time has expired for charges to be filed against you; or
- you were under 18 years of age at the time the offense was committed and have received a full pardon.
There are other situations that give rise to criminal records expungement eligibility. You may obtain an immediate expungement of a misdemeanor involving no jail time and a fine of less than $501. You also qualify one year after completing a deferred judgment or suspended sentence on a misdemeanor charge. There must not be any current felony or misdemeanor charges pending against you. (Okla. Stat. tit.22 § 18)
Under the new statute you may become eligible five years after the completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence on a non-violent felony charge, or five years after completing a sentence in a misdemeanor conviction that resulted in jail time or a fine in excess of $500. The previous waiting time was 10 years. Violent felonies are not eligible for a Section 18 expungement.
The Expungement Process is Complicated
If you are eligible, your attorney will prepare a Petition for Expungement to be filed in the district court that contains the records you are seeking to seal. The Petition is filed with the court along with a filing fee of $150. The filing fee may be refunded to you if your Petition is granted.
Once the Petition is filed, the court sets a hearing date. There are notice requirements that must be met. The prosecuting and arresting agencies, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI), and other persons who have information relevant to the sealing of your records are to be given 30 days notice of the hearing. That gives them a chance to respond to the Petition and to appear at the hearing on the Petition.
At the hearing, evidence is presented. If the court finds that the harm to your privacy or the dangers of unwarranted adverse consequences to you outweigh the public’s interest in retaining the records, the court may order those records to be sealed.
If the court finds that neither sealing of the records nor maintaining of the records unsealed by the agency would serve the ends of justice, the court may enter an appropriate order limiting access to such records.
You need the help of an experienced Tulsa expungement attorney at your hearing to help convince the court of your position. Once sealed these records can be unsealed, but only by another petition.
Once sealed, it is as if the records never existed. If asked, you may properly reply that no such action ever occurred and that no such record exists.
In addition, employers, schools, and governmental agencies are prohibited from requiring you to disclose any information contained in the sealed records. Your refusal to disclose those records does not provide any of those organizations grounds to refuse your application. (Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 19)
Free Consultation: Tulsa Expungement Attorney
The skillful, aggressive, and compassionate lawyers at the Tulsa Criminal Defense Law Firm can provide a free, no-hassle, and confidential consultation about expungement questions in your specific case.
Simply call 918-256-3400 today for a free consultation with a Tulsa expungement attorney.
If you prefer, you can use the box in the upper right-hand corner of this page to send a question or brief message.