Oklahoma House Bill 3091 is scheduled to take effect on November 1, 2012, and it will change certain aspects of criminal record expungement in Oklahoma. Most notably, HB 3091 will allow certain expunged records to be used in criminal proceedings without a court order to unseal the record. This means, for example, that an expunged juvenile court record may be admissible in subsequent criminal proceedings in order to demonstrate prior convictions or deferred sentences, and judges, district attorneys, defense attorneys, the Office of Juvenile Affairs, and the Department of Corrections do not need a court order to obtain these records. HB 3091 may also change certain eligibility requirements for obtaining an expungement of the criminal record. Certain individuals who do not currently qualify for record expungement may be able to successfully clear their record after November 2012. However, certain individuals who currently qualify may become ineligible for expungement after HB 3091 takes effect. For this reason, it is imperative that anyone wishing to have their criminal record purged quickly contact an experienced Oklahoma expungement lawyer for an evaluation of their case.
What is an expungement?
When a person is arrested in Oklahoma, there are a number of documents that record the arrest and any subsequent criminal charges. Criminal records may include:
- Records by the arresting agency, such as police reports
- Court records
- OSBI (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations) records
- DOC (Department of Corrections) records, if a person was incarcerated
In Oklahoma, there are essentially two types of record expungement. The most desirable is defined under Title 22 O.S. § 18. A Section 18 expungement removes the criminal record from the arresting agency, court records, and the OSBI. With this type of expungement, a record is completely purged and no longer appears in criminal background checks, such as those used in employment checks. Unfortunately for many Oklahomans, a Section 18 expungement may be difficult to obtain as a result of narrowly defined eligibility requirements. However, if a person does not qualify for a full expungement of the record, relief may still be available through a 991c expungement. This type of expungement improves the criminal record by changing the court record after a deferred sentence. Rather than the court document reading that a person pleaded guilty to a crime and served probation, the record may be changed to show a plea of not guilty with the case dismissed. Though court records still exist, they do not demonstrate criminal conviction. If a criminal record has complicated your employment, educational, and personal opportunities, you may be able to find relief through an expungement of the record. To find out more, about clearing your criminal record, contact us to speak with an expungement lawyer in Oklahoma City.