New laws regarding the expungement of Tulsa court records took effect in November 2016, thanks to the Oklahoma legislature. (Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 18)
The expungement of Tulsa criminal records makes it possible for people convicted of certain crimes to effectively seal their criminal records from public view. This makes it easier to obtain employment and housing after being released from jail. No longer do you have to disclose your past to prospective employers and landlords.
Section 18 and Tulsa Court Records
A Section 18 expungement in Oklahoma seals the arrest record, court records, and online court records. It erases your criminal history on background checks. The law allows you to legally answer that the incident never happened if you are asked. It is only available in certain cases, and never for a violent felon.
Expungement also requires a lengthy and complicated application process. There are specific timelines and eligibility requirements that hinge directly on the type of infraction you seek to erase from your Tulsa court records.
In general, you are eligible for expungement as soon as one of the following occurs:
- you were acquitted; or
- the conviction was reversed by a higher court and the matter was dismissed; or
- DNA evidence proves that you are innocent after you have already been convicted; or
- you received a full pardon from the Oklahoma Governor based on a finding of innocence; or
- you were arrested but not 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 you have received a full pardon.
Violent crimes are never eligible. Only non-violent crimes are eligible for a criminal records expungement in Tulsa. In that regard, the rules for certain misdemeanors and felonies are different.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor for which you served no jail time and the fine was less than $501, you may be able to file a petition for expungement immediately.
If you have completed a deferred judgment or suspended sentence on a misdemeanor charge, you can file for expungement one year after completion.
The waiting period is longer for other crimes. If you are seeking to expunge records related to the completion of a deferred judgment or a delayed sentence on a non-violent felony, the waiting period is five years. While this may seem like a long time, it was 10 years under the old law.
The waiting period is also five years after completing a sentence in a misdemeanor conviction that resulted in jail time or a fine in excess of $500.
In all of these circumstances, it is important that there are no felony or misdemeanor charges pending against you when you petition the court for expungement. (Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 18)
Process Time for Expungement
In comparison to the long waiting time, the process for actually obtaining a court order in Oklahoma, while complicated, is relatively short. The petition must be prepared and filed, and all interested parties must be given at least 30 days notice of the hearing date. 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. (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.
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