Under Oklahoma law, there are two types of expungements: expungement of arrest records and expungement of conviction records. Expungement is essentially the sealing of either an arrest or conviction record. Many employers use the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s (OSBI) background checks or the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network (OSCN) to screen potential employees. Having either an arrest or conviction record may hinder your ability to find a job. The goal of this article is to explain the various expungement options available under the law.
Expungement under 22 O.S. §99lc is the most common type of expungement in Oklahoma and only applies to individuals who have successfully completed all of the terms of a deferred sentence. If you qualify for an expungement under this section, the record of a guilty or no contest plea will be removed from the public record and the record will be amended to show that your case was dismissed. In addition, the record of your plea will also be removed from OSCN’s website only, which many employers and individuals frequently search while performing background checks. The major drawback to an expungement under this section is that an individual’s arrest record will still show up if an employer requests an OSBI background check.
An expungement under 22 O.S. §18, on the other hand, will expunge arrest records maintained by OSBI. Unfortunately, expungement under this section is much less broad than under 22 O.S. §991c and is only available to individuals who meet one of twelve criteria listed in the statute. If you do not satisfy at least one of the criteria, you are not eligible for expungement of your arrest record. Some common examples or the types of circumstances that must be present for an expungement under this statute include the following: you were acquitted (i.e., found not guilty after trial); you were arrested and either no charges were filed or the charges were dismissed within one year of arrest; the statute of limitations on offense for which you were arrested has run and no charges have been filed; you were charged with a misdemeanor, and have not been subsequently convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and have no pending felony of misdemeanor charges, and at least ten years has passed since the date judgment was entered against you, and; your conviction was reversed on appeal with instructions to dismiss the case, or after reversal of your conviction the district attorney dismissed the charges against you. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of the criteria contained in the statute. Within the last two years the law in this area has been modified making the waiting period only 2 years in some circumstances. Call our office today to receive more details.
Getting the job you want in this difficult economy is hard enough without having to worry about whether old criminal charges or convictions will impact your ability to secure employment. Please contact me immediately to discuss your options. Together, we can determine whether expungement is right for you.