Having a felony on your record can have a major impact on many different aspects of your life. It can really throw a wrench in things, so to speak, affecting your ability to get a job, secure a place to live, and even have personal relationships with people. Unfortunately, if you have been convicted of a felony or another serious crime, being a convicted felon or ex-offender is something you will have to carry with you for the rest of your life – or so you may think. In reality, there are actually ways in which you can get a felony taken off your record. Keep in mind this is not a solution for all convicted felons, but it is for some.
The first step when it comes to expunging a criminal record is figuring out if you qualify. In Oklahoma, there are certain crimes that can be expunged, whereas others must remain on your record forever. In order to have a felony expunged, you must file a petition with your state’s court system – once you have determined if the felony qualifies, of course. In Oklahoma, there are actually two ways to expunge your criminal record:
- You can seal your name from court records
- You can erase your criminal history with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
Each approach has both pros and cons. In order to determine which is best for your particular case, we recommend hiring a criminal defense attorney.
What is Felony Expungement?
Before we look at the various types of felonies that can be expunged from your record in Oklahoma, let’s go over what, exactly, an expungement is. Expungements vary from state to state; in some states you can have the criminal record expunged, in others it will be sealed. It is important to note that it does not really matter whether your record is expunged or sealed, unless you are looking to get a government job. When a record is sealed, it cannot be accessed by most people. In some states, law enforcement agents, judges, and other government personnel can access your sealed record. However, your record will not show up in employment background checks, rental checks, or other similar investigations. On the other hand, when a misdemeanor or felony is expunged, it is completely wiped from your record. When this happens, you will be able to truthfully – and legally – state that you have never been convicted of a crime.
Types of Crimes Eligible for Expungement in Oklahoma
According to Oklahoma law, the following crimes can be expunged from your criminal record:
- Juvenile offenses – Crimes committed when under the age of 18
- Non-violent felony offenses – Crimes that are non-violent according to Oklahoma state law that have been pardoned after 10 years (as long as no other crimes have been committed)
- Misdemeanors – As long as you have never been convicted of a felony
- Deferred judgements in non-violent felony offenses – Once 10 years have passed and you have successfully met the terms and conditions of your deferred judgement
- Deferred judgements in misdemeanor offenses – After one year of successful completion of the terms and conditions of your judgement. And as long as you have not been convicted of any other crimes – either misdemeanor or felony
So the answer to whether or not you can have a felony taken off your record is yes, depending on the situation. To learn more about expungements and sealed records in Oklahoma, please contact Atkins & Markoff today.