Any individual who is convicted of a criminal offense will have that conviction recorded on their criminal record. Long after penalties are paid – including fines and even terms of imprisonment – these criminal records can create profound limitations and obstacles. In fact, many individuals who turn over a new leaf and make the effort to put their past behind them find that criminal records are often the most difficult aspect of a conviction to overcome. For example, criminal records can be viewed by:
Potential employers as part of the application / hiring process
Schools, colleges, and vocational programs
In many ways, having a criminal conviction on one’s record can be a barrier to growth and one’s future well-being. At times when competition for jobs is stiff, employers will commonly rely on background checks to weed out applicants. As such, this can cost individuals with a criminal conviction their professional, financial, and personal well-being. Fortunately for those who wish to gain a fresh start free from the barriers created by a past conviction, the state of Oklahoma permits certain individuals to expunge – or seal – their criminal record.
What is an expungement?
Simply put, an expungement is a sealing of criminal records. For qualified individuals, an expungement can essentially “erase” criminal convictions and even arrest records. Once expunged, a conviction will not be visible on a background check. There are certain situations, including background checks for government jobs, in which past convictions may still be seen. Our Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyers can help explain your particular situation.
How do I get an expungement in Oklahoma?
In order to obtain an expungement, you must file a petition with the District Court in the District your arrest was made. In Oklahoma, there are two differing types of expungement:
Section 18 Expungement – allows individuals to expunge entire arrest record
Section 991(c) Expungement – allows individuals who received deferred sentences to expunge their pleas and have disposition changed to dismissed.
Individuals must also qualify for an expungement by meeting the various requirements of the chosen action. You can learn more about qualifying on our Oklahoma expungement procedures and fees page. An Oklahoma criminal lawyer from our firm can also review your case to help you determine your eligibility and explain each step of the process.
Expungements are a prime example of the American judicial system’s focus on rehabilitating individuals, not unfairly punishing them. Just because you have been convicted of a criminal offense does not mean that a past mistake has to haunt you for the rest of your life. While expungements are excellent for allowing convicted individuals to gain a second chance and new opportunities in life, the procedure is quite complex.
As your future depends on successfully navigating and completing the expungement process it is strongly encouraged – and even stressed by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations – that individuals who wish to petition for an expungement obtain the assistance of an experienced Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney. Allow a member of our legal team to clearly explain where you stand, your eligibility to obtain an expungement, and how we can handle all matters on your behalf.
If you or your loved one would like more information about getting a conviction or arrest expunged, do not hesitate to contact an Oklahoma criminal attorney from Atkins & Markoff. Call 405-256-2606 or request a free case evaluation. We serve residents throughout the state of Oklahoma from several office locations, including our offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, Altus, Bartlesville, and Norman.