What to Expect When Expunging
Allen & Mills ensures that your past mistakes and indiscretions stay in the past and do not haunt you for the rest of your life. Oklahoma law has provided a method to make many peoples criminal charges go away forever.
A plea of guilty, and the subsequent consequences of that plea can leave anyone feeling embarrassed and uncertain about how their future will be affected. Life by itself can be stressful, but coupled with a laundry list of probation requirements, the stress can seem insurmountable. Luckily, for those who have had a bad run in with the law, Oklahoma Statutes have a built-in relief system, Expungements.
There are two types of expungements available for a prior conviction in Oklahoma. The first is governed under Title 22 Section 991.C of Oklahoma Statutes and is triggered upon a successful completion of a deferred sentence. The second is governed by Title 22 Section 18 of Oklahoma Statutes, and is a more comprehensive expungement, with additional requirements.
22 O.S. 991.C
Expungements under this statute are only available to those who have successfully completed a deferred sentence and the probation requirements under the plea. Under this section, a Defendant is allowed to withdraw their prior plea of guilty, and the case is Ordered dismissed by the Court. It is important to note, although dismissed, the prior record of conviction will only be sealed to the public, and will still be visible to law enforcement agencies; meaning the prior charge can be used by District Attorney’s to heighten the severity of a subsequent charge to a Felony.
22 O.S. 18
Section 18 Expungements require addition steps to be completed before a Defendant can be eligible. In many situations the additional step, besides successful probation, is a passage of time prior to filing. Unlike Section 991.C, this section requires a Motion to the Court, and notices to all interested parties. The interested parties include: County District Attorney, County Court Clerk, County Sheriff, Arresting Agency, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations. Section 18 expungements provide for the sealing of a prior criminal conviction from not only the public, but also law enforcement. Successful Section 18 expungements essentially erase all records of the charge. Due to the nature of these expungements, the interested parties are given opportunity to object to the request by the Defendant. Objections can be based on criminal history of the Defendant, or the severity of the crime itself. These objections must be raised within thirty (30) days of service of the Defendant’s Motion; and absent any objections, it is very likely that the Court will issue the Defendant’s Order to Expungement.
The expungement statutes are meant alleviate the stigma of a criminal conviction. Many people with past criminal charges fail to use these laws to their advantage, and upon a subsequent arrest, are often left facing more severe criminal charges, despite the successful completion of probation. After a plea deal is negotiated, the Defendant’s first priority should be the successful completion of the probation period, and second should be the expungement of that charge.
At Allen & Mills we are here to help our clients experience the relief and expungement can provide.
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