We all make mistakes. Unfortunately, mistakes can haunt us for a very long time by staying on records that are available to the public. Criminal arrests or convictions that remain on your record can be very costly, especially if your record is being looked at by a potential employer. "Expungement" is the term that lawyers use for sealing or erasing different types of records. There are two main types of expungement in Oklahoma that one can obtain to start cleaning up blemishes on his or her record.
The first type of expungement is listed in 22 O.S. §991(c) and is for the sealing of COURT RECORDS upon the successful completion of a deferred sentence. It is important to understand that your court records are not sealed and your OSBI record is not changed automatically once you've completed your deferred sentence and had your case dismissed. You'll still need to get your record cleaned up. Once you've gotten an expungement under 22 O.S. 991(c) your court records will be sealed to the public and your OSBI arrest record will read "Pled not guilty - Case dismissed"
The second type of expungement is listed in 22 O.S. §18 and provides for the total erasure of an offense from publicly available arrest records. Oklahoma law spells out different categories of people that are eligible for this type of expungement. In general, a person charged with a more serious offense or multiple offenses will have to wait longer than a person with a less serious or single offense to qualify for an expungement under 22 O.S. §18.
Once you've completed a deferred sentence or have qualified for expungement under 22 O.S. §18, it is extremely important to get your record cleaned up to minimize the damage done to your future. If you have any questions as to whether or not you qualify for either type of expungement, please don't hesitate to contact me as soon as possible for a free consultation.