A criminal record can prevent you from getting a job, obtaining an education or building your future. You may have been told that nothing can be done to clear your criminal history, however, you don’t have to let past mistakes prevent you from enjoying a fresh start in life. In 2012, changes to Oklahoma law made it easier to expunge your criminal record. This article discusses why you should expunge your criminal record in Oklahoma.
A conviction can haunt you long after you have paid your debt to society. Mistakes in judgment that you made early on in life may needlessly stigmatize you for the rest of your life. Expunging your criminal record can give you the fresh start you desire.
What is An Expungement?
An expungement is court order that seals your criminal record so that it is no longer available to the public. It essentially clears any record of you ever having been arrested or prosecuted. In Oklahoma, the following offenses may be eligible for expungement:
Juvenile offense – if you were convicted when you were under the age of eighteen and you have since stayed out of trouble with the law
Non-violent felony offenses – if your crime was non-violent as defined by Oklahoma Statutes and you have receive a pardon after ten years without committing any further crimes
Misdemeanors – if after ten years you are not facing new criminal charges and have not been convicted of any other criminal charges.
Deferred or Suspended sentences – after the successful completion of the terms and conditions of your sentence
Who is Eligible for an Expungement?
You may be eligible for expungement in Oklahoma if you:
- Were arrested but never eventually charged with a crime
- Have successfully completed the terms of a suspended or deferred sentence
- Have been acquitted of the charges brought against you
- Were convicted when you were a juvenile
- Have had your conviction overturned or received a pardon
- Were convicted of a misdemeanor or non-violent felony and meet certain eligibility requirements
Not all crime however are eligible for expungement, in particular particularly following types of offenses may not be expunged:
- Violent felonies
- Sex offenses that require compliance under the Oklahoma sex offender registration act
Why Should You Expunge Your Criminal Record
Expungement holds many advantages for those who have criminal record. Here are some common reasons why you should expunge your criminal record in Oklahoma.
- Federal and most state laws do not forbid people from discriminating against you based on criminal past. Employers can legally choose to not hire you have a criminal record. An expungement will prevent your criminal record from coming up in a background search.
- Having your criminal record expunged can even be an advantage to you if you are self-employed. Past criminal charges can be a red flag to future business partners and associates, who may research your background before entering into business with. In addition, your record may be taken into consideration while negotiating government contracts and the like.
- Most housing laws do not forbid people from discriminating against you based on prior criminal records. Therefore, landlords can legally refuse to rent to you if you have been convicted of crime, and even if you were charged and later found not guilty. This can limit your housing option s and have a serious impact on your quality of life.
- In many case a second or subsequent arrest for a particular crime, may result in you receiving hasher penalties if you are convicted. In addition, if you were previously charged with an offense, then later charged with a new offense, you will be prevented from filing for an expungement until the new charge is resolved. The result of the new charge may then cause you to be ineligible for expungement altogether. So, expunging your criminal record before you receive another charge will seal your current records and minimize the impact of any future charges you may receive.
Free Consultation: Oklahoma Expungement Attorney
If you believe that you are eligible for expungement of a non-violent felony, misdemeanor, crime committed as juvenile or suspended sentence you should consult with an Oklahoma City expungement lawyer to have your case evaluated. Call Criminal Defense Law Office of Oklahoma City at (405) 588-4529 (588-4LAW). If you prefer, you may send your question using the contact form at the top right side of this page.