It can be easy to confuse getting a pardon with getting an expungement Tulsa Oklahoma. Both make it easier to move on with your life after a scrape with the law.
However, they are different, and it is important to understand how each of these function.
What is a Pardon in Oklahoma?
A pardon is an “act of grace and mercy bestowed by state through chief executive, upon offenders against its laws.” (Ex parte Jones, 25 Okl. Cr. 347, 220 P. 978 (1923)). It is issued by the Governor of Oklahoma, and acts as an official statement of forgiveness. It is a tool to welcome a convicted felon back into society as a full citizen. It does not act a commutation of a sentence.
It is not a statement of innocence in and of itself. It does not erase or seal your criminal records. If you have been pardoned, your court records still show the conviction, but they also show the pardon.
However, a pardon is a strong and official recognition that you have turned your life around and are now a law-abiding citizen. In that sense, a pardon can act as a mitigating factor to some of the ill effects that a criminal record carries.
Although it does not erase a criminal record, you can use a pardon with potential employers and landlords. It can restore your right to vote and can help you obtain or keep certain professional licenses.
The process to obtain a pardon in Oklahoma is a long and complicated one. In some cases, it can also be a first step toward expungement.
Getting an Expungement Tulsa Oklahoma
There are two types of expungement possible in Oklahoma, expungement of your entire criminal record — a more complete erasure of records (Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 18) and expungement of your name from court records — a less complete erasure of records. (Okla. Stat. tit. 22 § 991c)
These expungements are different and it is helpful to understand these differences. The sealing and erasure of records allows a person to move on with their life.
Section 991c — a Deferred Sentence Expungement
A Section 991c expungement Tulsa Oklahoma allows a person who has received a deferred sentence to expunge their plea. Once the expungement is complete, the case record shows that you pled “not guilty” and that the charge was dismissed.
It will not expunge or remove the arrest record. That remains intact. It is a less complete erasure of records than is a Section 18 expungement, but far easier to qualify for and obtain.
It is common to obtain a Section 991c expungement while you are waiting to qualify for the more complete criminal records expungement (Section 18), or if you do not qualify for a Section 18 expungement.
In order to qualify for a deferred sentence expungement, you must have completed all the terms of your probation, including the completion of everything the court has ordered. This may include community service hours, counseling, drug treatment, anger management classes, and the like. You must also have paid all fines, court costs, and restitution ordered by the court, and you must have served the entire term of your deferred sentence.
Section 18 Expungement
A Section 18 expungement seals all of your criminal records, including court and arrest files. It is also more difficult to obtain. It often takes longer to qualify for, and only certain crimes are eligible.
New laws in Oklahoma have shortened the waiting time for eligibility from 10 years to 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.
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)
Violent felonies are not eligible for a Section 18 expungement Tulsa Oklahoma.
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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