The expungement process differs based on whether it is a § 991c or § 18 expungement. The procedure for expunging a record under § 18 is outlined in 22 O.S. § 19.
Section 18 Expungement Process
The first step in seeking a § 18 expungement is to get a copy of your criminal history report from the OSBI. This can be done by filling out their criminal history report request and delivering it to them. You can hand-deliver it, mail it in, or fax it in. It costs $15 to get a copy of your report. As a courtesy, I have provided a link to the OSBI criminal history request form in the resources section on my website. That report will tell you exactly what OSBI’s records reflect. That will give you a good idea of what you may or may not be eligible for.
If you qualify under § 18, then you will petition the district court of the district in which the arrest information pertaining to your arrest is located. Upon the filing of a petition or entering of a court order, the court will set a date for a hearing and provide thirty days of notice of the hearing to the prosecuting agency, the arresting agency, the OSBI, and any other person or agency whom the court has reason to believe may have relevant information related to the sealing of such record. The clerk will provide a hearing date. Between the time that the clerk gives you the hearing date and the hearing, a copy of the petition to expunge must be served to District Attorney, the arresting agency, and the OSBI. You will bring that form to the hearing after receiving signatures from all those agencies.
After all necessary parties have been notified, you will attend a hearing in front of a judge. You will answer questions from the judge at the hearing. The judge may also decide to remove only some of your records, and/or limit who can access your records. Upon a finding that the harm to your privacy or dangers of unwarranted adverse consequences outweigh the public interest in retaining the records, the court may order such records, or any part them except basic identification information, to be sealed. If the court finds that neither sealing of the records nor maintaining of the records unsealed by the agency would serve the ends of justice, the court may enter an appropriate order limiting access to such records. Any order entered will specify those agencies to which the order applies.
If you have multiple arrests to be expunged, then you may not have to file a petition for each arrest separately. Multiple arrests in the same county can be filed for in one petition. However, a separate petition must be filed for each county where you have records that you want expunged. The OSBI can object to your request, even if you qualify for an expungement. The state can object to your request, even if you are qualified to get an expungement.
How Long Does The Section 18 Expungement Process Typically Take?
It takes about a month for the paperwork to get processed for expungement. This includes delivering copies of the petition to the law enforcement agency or the arresting law enforcement agency, the prosecutor, and OSBI. There is about a month between the time when a hearing is requested and the hearing occurs. After receiving a certified copy of the expungement order, the expungement of court records takes about one month after the clerk receives the order. Expungement of arrest record usually takes about a month after receipt of the order and required fee. Therefore, total time can be as short as a couple of months; however, it’s best to give it more time, due to the numerous agencies that must approve of the expungement.
You won’t be notified when your record has been expunged. You can check to see if your record has been expunged by sending a request to OSBI.
How Much Does A Section 18 Expungement Cost?
In addition to the attorney’s fees for expunging a record, the actual expungement costs money. The OSBI’s fee for the expungement is $150. The court fees will cost approximately $175. Some municipalities will also charge about $150 for expungements. There are increased fees for postage, because certified mail is required to send the petition.
Section 991c Expungement
The first step in securing a § 991c expungement is ensuring that you have completed all the requirements for your deferred sentence. This includes completing all probation requirements to include paying all court costs, probation supervision fees, and DA prosecution reimbursement fees. Next, you have to make sure the case is dismissed or follow the required procedures to get your case dismissed. This usually involves an agreed order between the prosecutor and defense attorney that is signed by the judge. This order directs the clerk to expunge the public records for that case.
Once that the judge signs the order, it must be taken to the court clerk so they can begin the process for removing that case’s information from the public record. All references to the name of the defendant will be deleted from the docket sheet. The public index of the filing of the charge will be expunged by deletion, mark-out, or obliteration. Upon expungement, the court clerk will keep a separate confidential index of case numbers and names of defendants that have been obliterated pursuant to the § 991c. No information concerning the confidential file will be revealed or released, except upon written order of a judge of the district court or upon written request by the named defendant to the court clerk for the purpose of updating the criminal history record of the defendant with the OSBI. Defendants qualifying under § 18 may petition the court to have the filing of the indictment and the dismissal expunged from the public index and docket sheet.
A certified copy of the judgment must be taken to the OSBI. The OSBI will use that to update their records to reflect the dismissal.
If some time has passed since your deferred probation ended, then the court may have already processed your § 991c expungement. Try to pull up your case on OSCN. This only applies to cases filed in a district court. If you are unable to see your case on OSCN, then it is very likely that your dismissal and § 991c expungement were already processed through the court clerk. However, this is only half of what a § 991c expungement does. If you want your record updated with the OSBI, then you will need to get the certified copy of your dismissal from the court clerk and take it to the OSBI.
What If Am I Not Eligible To Have My Record Expunged?
There are several things that you can do if you are not eligible to have your record expunged at the current time. The first is to wait more time. Several categories of expungements require there be a certain amount of time in order to expunge a record. For instance, you can get your arrest expunged one year after completion of a deferred sentence. Therefore, you will have to wait at least one year after your deferred probation ends to get that deferred sentence expunged. If you received a misdemeanor conviction, or if you received a misdemeanor conviction and received any time in jail, a suspended sentence, or a fine greater than $500, then you must wait at least 5 years since the end of the last misdemeanor sentence. If you have two misdemeanors, then you must wait five years since the end of the last misdemeanor sentence to get the first one expunged.
A second thing that you should do if you are currently not eligible for expungement is to not get into any more trouble. There are multiple categories of expungement that require the person seeking an expungement to not have any criminal charges pending. Therefore, even if you waited the required amount of time, you won’t be able to have your record expunged if you have pending charges.
A third thing that can be done while waiting for the time required to expunge your case is to get a pardon from the governor. If you have one or two non-violent felony convictions, then it is still possible to get those convictions expunged; however, it will not be possible to get those expunged without a pardon from the governor. Therefore, it would be wise to begin working on a pardon prior to the minimum time to expunge your case if you want to have your felony or felonies expunged as soon as possible.
A final thing that you may be able to do is to wait for the laws to change. The current climate in Oklahoma is very pro criminal justice reform. The expungement laws changed in 2015 and 2016. They will not be changing in 2017; however, it is likely they could be changed again in the future. Somebody who is ineligible for an expungement under the current law may become eligible for an expungement the next time the law is amended.
For more information on Expungement Process In Oklahoma, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (405) 633-3420 today.
Current as of October 31, 2017.