In previous blog posts, the Oklahoma Criminal Defense blog has discussed how an Oklahoma City expungement lawyer can help those who have past convictions to clear their juvenile record or to seal their record following completion of a deferred sentence.
What is an Expungement?
The most common type of record expungement in Oklahoma is described in Title 22 O.S. §991c of the Oklahoma statutes. This type of expungement may be granted to defendants who have successfully completed a deferred sentence.
Essentially, a §991c expungement seals the court record, changing a plea of guilt or no contest to a plea of not guilty, and striking the defendant's name from the court record. However, the arrest record and record of the criminal charge is still documented in OSBI records and is still available to law enforcement agents.
There is, however, a type of expungement that allows someone's arrest record to be cleared. This type of record expungement, defined under Title 22 O.S. § 18 of the Oklahoma Statutes, is more difficult to obtain, but it is preferable because it completely eradicates the criminal record.
A §18 expungement can be granted to those who were convicted of non-violent felonies, but more commonly, it is awarded to those who were acquitted of charges, found to be factually innocent of the crime after a conviction, those who were arrested but never charged, and those whose charges were dismissed within a year of the arrest.
Those last two examples show that even people who were wrongfully arrested or falsely charged can be plagued by a criminal record. A local Oklahoma newspaper this week describes the case of a woman who was misidentified and criminally charged as part of a drug ring. Though the charges against her were dropped and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control admits a mistake in filing charges, her criminal charge still shows up in the OSBI database and in the On Demand Court Record website for Oklahoma.
Getting an Expungement in Oklahoma
Her Oklahoma expungement attorney is working to get her record cleared, but he told reporters that he believes in cases of mistaken criminal charges, law enforcement should be able to clear the record without requiring a defendant to take care of it himself or herself.
Whether looking to clear a record after a juvenile conviction, a deferred sentence, or a false charge, it is important to seek counsel from an experienced Oklahoma expungement attorney. Law enforcement has the right to challenge any petition for expungement; it is imperative that a petitioner be prepared and equipped to handle any challenges. To find an expungement lawyer in Oklahoma City, contact us at (405) 418-8888.