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Section 18 Expungement Attorney in Oklahoma

If you have been arrested, there are plenty of reasons you might want your arrest kept private. Potential employers and landlords frequently review criminal background checks, and an old arrest could cost you the employment or housing of your dreams. Thankfully, in certain circumstances, Oklahoma law allows you to expunge your criminal record.

Generally speaking, an expungement seals the records of your arrest and conviction. The question of who will still have access to your complete criminal history will depend on the type of expungement you are granted. 

Section 18 vs. Section 991(c) Expungements

The legal and practical effects of a Section 18 expungement and a Section 991(c) expungement are not the same. Section 991(c) expungements apply in fewer circumstances, they leave traces of your criminal case, and they are only available to you if you received a deferred sentence as part of your plea agreement. 

Section 18 expungements are broader than Section 991(c) expungements. Also known as “full record expungement,” a Section 18 expungement will erase your court records and seal your file with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI).  You also can legally deny the arrest occurred.

 

Section 18 Expungement Criteria

Oklahoma law sets out 15 specific circumstances under which you may qualify for a Section 18 expungement. They include

1. The person has been acquitted;

2. The conviction was reversed with instructions to dismiss by an appellate court of competent jurisdiction, or an appellate court of competent jurisdiction reversed the conviction and the prosecuting agency subsequently dismissed the charge;

3. The factual innocence of the person was established by the use of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence subsequent to conviction, including a person who has been released from prison at the time innocence was established;

4. The person has received a full pardon by the Governor for the crime for which the person was sentenced;

5. The person was arrested and no charges of any type, including charges for an offense different than that for which the person was originally arrested, are filed and the statute of limitations has expired or the prosecuting agency has declined to file charges;

6. The person was under eighteen (18) years of age at the time the offense was committed and the person has received a full pardon for the offense;

7. The person was charged with one or more misdemeanor or felony crimes, all charges have been dismissed, the person has never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person and the statute of limitations for refiling the charge or charges has expired or the prosecuting agency confirms that the charge or charges will not be refiled; provided, however, this category shall not apply to charges that have been dismissed following the completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence;

8. The person was charged with a misdemeanor, the charge was dismissed following the successful completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, the person has never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person and at least one (1) year has passed since the charge was dismissed;

9. The person was charged with a nonviolent felony offense not listed in Section 571 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes, the charge was dismissed following the successful completion of a deferred judgment or delayed sentence, the person has never been convicted of a felony, no misdemeanor or felony charges are pending against the person and at least five (5) years have passed since the charge was dismissed;

10. The person was convicted of a misdemeanor offense, the person was sentenced to a fine of less than Five Hundred One Dollars ($501.00) without a term of imprisonment or a suspended sentence, the fine has been paid or satisfied by time served in lieu of the fine, the person has not been convicted of a felony and no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person;

11. The person was convicted of a misdemeanor offense, the person was sentenced to a term of imprisonment, a suspended sentence or a fine in an amount greater than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), the person has not been convicted of a felony, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person and at least five (5) years have passed since the end of the last misdemeanor sentence;

12. The person was convicted of a nonviolent felony offense not listed in Section 571 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes, the person has not been convicted of any other felony, the person has not been convicted of a separate misdemeanor in the last seven (7) years, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person and at least five (5) years have passed since the completion of the sentence for the felony conviction;

13. The person was convicted of not more than two felony offenses, none of which is a felony offense listed in Section 13.1 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes or any offense that would require the person to register pursuant to the provisions of the Sex Offenders Registration Act, no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending against the person, and at least ten (10) years have passed since the completion of the sentence for the felony conviction;

14. The person has been charged or arrested or is the subject of an arrest warrant for a crime that was committed by another person who has appropriated or used the person's name or other identification without the person's consent or authorization; or

15. The person was convicted of a nonviolent felony offense not listed in Section 571 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes which was subsequently reclassified as a misdemeanor under Oklahoma law, the person is not currently serving a sentence for a crime in this state or another state, at least thirty (30) days have passed since the completion or commutation of the sentence for the crime that was reclassified as a misdemeanor, any restitution ordered by the court to be paid by the person has been satisfied in full, and any treatment program ordered by the court has been successfully completed by the person, including any person who failed a treatment program which resulted in an accelerated or revoked sentence that has since been successfully completed by the person or the person can show successful completion of a treatment program at a later date. Persons seeking an expungement of records under the provisions of this paragraph may utilize the expungement forms provided in Section 2 of this act.

Who can still access my arrest records after expungement?

While the general public will not have access to your arrest or court records following a Section 18 expungement, there are other entities that will. Law enforcement agencies acting in their official capacity will still have access to your arrest and conviction records. Your records can also be used against you in court proceedings if you are charged with a crime after your expungement.

The state won't need a court order to unseal your records when using them to show that you had a prior conviction during your subsequent criminal case. It's important to understand that while the public won't have access to your records, your prior conviction can still affect you if you have been charged with a different crime.

Benefits of Hiring an Oklahoma Expungement Attorney

It is not mandatory that you hire an attorney to handle your expungement in Oklahoma. However, the process is complicated and the court system will not cut you any slack if you choose to represent yourself during the process. In fact, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation recommends you hire an attorney:

There are specific paperwork, notice, and legal requirements necessary in order to successfully petition for an expungement of your arrest records. The OSBI strongly suggests you get a lawyer to advise you of the proper actions to take. If you decide to represent yourself, the court will hold you to the same standards for knowing and following the applicable law as it would an attorney.

The process isn't just complicated; it frequently changes. 

The expungement attorneys at the Worden Law Firm understand the impact a criminal arrest can have on your life. We have an extensive background in guiding our clients through the expungement process and are committed to helping you get a fresh start. A consultation with our expungement attorneys is free; contact the Worden Law Firm today to discuss if you are eligible for a Section 18 expungement.

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