You may not realize it, but if you have been arrested, you have a record on file with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The OSBI maintains a record of your "criminal history," even if you were never charged with a crime after your arrest, your case was dismissed, you were acquitted at trial, or your court records were sealed after the expungement of a deferred sentence. This criminal record can cause substantial problems and misunderstandings.
Fortunately, Oklahoma law provides a way for the expungement of your arrest record with the OSBI. Unlike a Section 991(c) expungement, which merely strikes your name from court records, a Section 18/19 expungement is considered a full expungement. It deletes your name from court records and seals your file with the OSBI.
When you have fulfilled your sentence for a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony, you deserve to be able to move on from the errors in your past. If your arrest was a mistake, and you were never formally charged, your case was dismissed, or you were found not guilty, you should not continue to be burdened by a criminal record created because of someone else's rush to judgment. Speak with an expungement lawyer to find out how to have your arrest and conviction record sealed.
As a "full expungement," an expungement as described in 22 O.S. §18-19 is the most desirable method of clearing one's record. However, it is more difficult to obtain than an expungement of a deferred sentence under 22 O.S. § 991(c), which only deletes a defendant's name from court records and updates the file to show that the defendant pleaded not guilty and his or her case was dismissed.
Section 18 lists twelve specific criteria for expungement eligibility. Anyone wishing to file a petition for expungement of the OSBI record must meet at least one of the qualifying standards:
If one or more of these conditions are met, a person plagued by a criminal history can file a petition for expungement to have his or her court records and OSBI records sealed.
According to revisions in the state law taking effect November 1, 2013, sealed records may be still available to law enforcement under certain conditions.
While sealed records may be available to law enforcement in subsequent criminal cases, most people looking to have their records sealed are more concerned with the public having access to those records and the ensuing hardships for employment and other opportunities.
The process for filing for expungement is defined in 22 O.S. § 19. However, this is a process with which your attorney should be intimately familiar. What may be a new and complex procedure to you is routine for an expungement lawyer. By obtaining skillful representation, you afford yourself the opportunity to receive an expungement of your record with minimal hassle.
It is important to note that the OSBI, the District Attorney's Office, and any law enforcement agency that has records have the right to challenge your record expungement. If the agency feels that the public interest in knowing about your criminal history outweighs your right to privacy, they can and will protest the sealing of your records. You must have a competent attorney fighting on your behalf in order to overrule the challenges of the OSBI.
For more information how to seal your record or to schedule a confidential case review, call (405) 418-8888 or submit the provided online case review form. Do not let your record haunt you any longer. Call today.