Accessing public records used to be a time consuming venture, requiring the searching individual to appear in person at the courthouse or records department, fill out paperwork, and make formal request for copies on any such record. With the internet, public records are only a click away.
Whether requesting an official copy of a person's criminal history for an employment background check or simply satisfying one's curiosity, the internet provides quick and simple access to one's Oklahoma criminal record.
For fathers checking out their daughters' prospective boyfriends, online criminal record checks are a source of reassurance. For individuals with criminal records or arrest records, public online access to these records means one may be continually haunted by a single blemish on an otherwise clean record, or attempts to gain a fresh start may be foiled by a criminal record in the distant past.
Fortunately for those plagued by an arrest, misdemeanor conviction, or criminal charge, Oklahoma expungement laws make it possible in certain circumstances to purge an arrest record or seal a record from public view. While not every conviction is eligible for expungement, there are several common circumstances in which record of an arrest or conviction may be purged or sealed.
Perhaps the most common is an expungement after completion of a deferred sentence. In this situation, a defendant pleads guilty to the offense, but the judge suspends sentencing pending completion of probation. If the defendant successfully complies with the terms of the probation, he or she may withdraw the initial guilty plea and have it expunged.
Other situations for which one may be eligible to clear an arrest record in Oklahoma include:
- Acquittal of charges (found not guilty at trial)
- Juvenile offenses which have received full pardon
- Proven factually innocent (through DNA evidence, for example) subsequent to conviction
- Conviction overturned on appeal
- Arrested but no criminal charges are filed
- Arrested but charges dismissed within one year of the arrest
- Misdemeanor conviction with no subsequent felony or misdemeanor convictions or pending charges after at least 10 years have passed since the initial conviction
- Nonviolent felony conviction with full pardon, no subsequent felony or misdemeanor convictions, and no pending charges after at least 10 years have passed since the initial conviction
The extent of the expungement depends on various circumstances. For example, certain types of expungements seal the record from public view, but the arrest record remains on file with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). If you are troubled by a criminal record or arrest record, contact a lawyer who can help determine your eligibility for expungement. If you qualify for either type of expungement in Oklahoma, the attorney can pursue your quest for a clean record.