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5 Reasons Why Governor Fallin Needs to Sign A New Expungement Bill Into Law

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5 Reasons Why Governor Fallin Needs to Sign A New Expungement Bill Into Law

House Bill 2397 would make some tremendous changes to Oklahoma’s Expungement Law. It was sent to Governor Fallin on May 26, 2016, but has not been signed by her as of June 6, 2016. HB 2397 has huge bipartisan support in both branches of the Oklahoma Legislature. In the House, it passed with 82 yeas, 9 nays & 10 abstentions. HB 2397 passed the senate with 42 yeas, 0 nays & 6 abstentions. Still, that's only one reason Mary Fallin should sign it. 

 UPDATE: GOVERNOR FALLIN HAS SIGNED HB 2397 INTO LAW. IT WILL GO INTO EFFECT  NOVEMBER 1, 2016. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE GUIDE TO OKLAHOMA'S NEW EXPUNGEMENT LAW. 

If the bill on expungements in Oklahoma passes the Oklahoma Legislature during the final 5 days of the legislative session (such as HB 2397), the Governor has 15 days to sign or veto it. If the Governor does not sign or veto the bill within 15 days, it does not become law. This is known as a “pocket veto.” No reasons for the pocket veto are required, and no override is possible. Consequently, if the Governor does not sign HB 2397 by approximately Friday June 10, 2016 (depending on how the days are counted), it will not become law and there is nothing the Legislature can do to override the pocket veto.

If the Governor Mary Fallin signs HB 2397, there are 5 amazing changes expungement lawyers are excited about. It would bring to the Oklahoma Expungement eligibility statute:

1. Misdemeanors disposed as deferred sentences would be eligible for an expungement 1 year after the deferred sentence.

Section 18(8) is the subsection dealing with misdemeanor deferred sentence expungements. Changes to this section would now allow a person to still be eligible one year after the end of their deferred sentence even if they have a previous misdemeanor conviction. Some would be ineligible if they have a previous felony conviction. Still, this is a significant improvement! Currently, a person has to wait 10 years from the end of the last misdemeanor conviction, before they can apply for an expungement. That saves you 9 years you could spend working at a much better job with a clean record, free from OSBI searches and background checks!

2. Felony deferred charges would be eligible for an expungement.

An adjustment to Section 18(9) would now allow someone seeking to expunge a felony deferred charge to be eligible even if they have a misdemeanor conviction. Furthermore, the new law would shorten the length of time a person would have to wait from the end of the felony deferred sentence being dismissed to five years from ten years.

3. Some misdemeanor convictions would be eligible for expungement immediately.

Section 18(10) would be a completely new section that would greatly benefit many people. HB 2397 would now allow for the immediate expungement of a misdemeanor conviction if: the person’s sentence/punishment only included a fine under $501 without a term of imprisonment or suspended sentence, the fine is paid in full, the person has no felony convictions and no pending misdemeanor or felony charges. 

4. Misdemeanors with fines over $500 and/or suspended sentence would be eligible for expungements 5 years after completion. 

Section 18(11) (formerly subsection 10) deals with misdemeanor convictions in which the punishment included a fine in excess of $500, imprisonment and/or or a suspended sentence. HB 2397 would shorten the eligibility time from the end of a person’s last misdemeanor sentence to five years from ten years.

5. Two non-violent felonies could be eligible for expungement after a pardon.

Lastly, Section 18(13) would create a new category of eligibility in which a person who has been convicted of two non-violent felony crimes would become eligible for expungement of both felony convictions after receiving a full pardon for both offenses, have no pending charges and at least twenty years has passed since the person’s last misdemeanor or felony conviction. Felony expungements can be complicated and difficult, but HB 2397 could certainly make a big difference.

Expungement Law FAQs

These are a few of even more expansions and improvements to expungement law in Oklahoma thanks to HB 2397! Getting your life on track after an arrest, a long court case, and county criminal records can be difficult, but it's definitely worthwhile to expunge your record for a clean slate! 

What does "expunged" mean? We've got all the details on pardons and expungements. In short, an Oklahoma conviction record is not the end. You can have a clean record and legally say you have not been convicted of a crime with an expungement. 

Support HB 2397!

Let Governor Fallin know that you want her to sign HB 2397 by either calling (405) 521-2342 or emailing her office by clicking here.

If you call, first press extension 1 (“to voice your opinion on state issues or legislative issues”) & then you’ll press extension 4 (“specific legislation”) to leave a message asking the Governor to sign HB 2397. It would be a shame if she decided to pocket veto this bill because if HB 2397 becomes law, thousands of Oklahomans who are currently ineligible will become eligible for Expungement!

 

 UPDATE: GOVERNOR FALLIN HAS SIGNED HB 2397 INTO LAW. IT WILL GO INTO EFFECT  NOVEMBER 1, 2016. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE GUIDE TO OKLAHOMA'S NEW EXPUNGEMENT LAW. 

 

Want to know if you're eligible? Find out now!

 

Riley W. Mulinix

Written by Riley W. Mulinix

Riley is a member of Mulinix, Edwards, Rosell & Goerke, PLLC, at its Oklahoma City office, but practices all over the State of Oklahoma. He focuses on Expungement & Pardon Advocacy and Criminal Defense, while also effectively assisting clients in Civil Litigation and Business Law matters. He is a member of the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers & the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD).




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