In short, a partial expungement is a great way to reduce or minimize the harm of having a criminal record while you wait to become eligible for a full expungement.
What is a Partial Expungement in Oklahoma?
Partial expungements in Oklahoma (sometimes also referred to as “991c expungements”) only apply to defendants who have received a deferred sentence. They apply to both misdemeanor and felony deferred sentences and one becomes eligible immediately once the deferral period ends and all requirements of the deferred sentence have been met.
A Partial Expungement Means Your Court Case is Dismissed
After receiving a partial expungement, your court case is officially dismissed. Most people assume their case will automatically be partially expunged and dismissed, but according to expungement law you have to file a petition for expungement in order for the expungement process to happen.
Partial Expungements Are Retroactive
Here's something interesting: partial expungements are retroactive, which means that even if you have not been able to pay off all fines & county court costs within the originally prescribed time period, but have been able to work out a payment plan with the Court, your date of dismissal of the charges will be dated back to the original end of the deferred sentence. This is important because it shortens the time for which you will become eligible for a full expungement. Complicated, right? This is one of the reasons why you want an attorney who is well-versed in expungement law to assist you with the expungement forms.
How Do You Request a Partial Expungement in Oklahoma?
A partial expungement is requested through a Motion within the existing criminal case.
This is important because it means there is no filing fee - saving you $146.66. You must give the District Attorney’s Office notice and set a hearing not less than two weeks out, and there should be no problem with the DA’s Office as long as you successfully completed and adhered to all of the terms of your deferred sentence.
The Partial Expungement Hearing
At the hearing, your attorney will present a prepared Partial Expungement Order to the Judge who will sign off on it if there are no violations of your terms of deferment. Copies of the signed Order will be mailed to the DA’s Office and the OSBI. Significantly, OSBI does not charge an “expungement processing fee” for partial expungements - saving you another $150.
The Partial Expungement Order
Shortly after the signed Order to expunge felony or misdemeanor is filed, the Court Clerk will remove the criminal case from the state-run online court record database(s): Oklahoma Supreme Court Network (OSCN) and/or On Demand Court Records (ODCR). This is significant because anyone with access to a computer is able to look up criminal records and arrest records on these databases for free.
The Advantages of a Partial Expungement
The other big advantage of receiving a partial criminal expungement, juvenile expungement or misdemeanor expungement is the change it will cause to your criminal case record kept by the OSBI in their OSBI Criminal History. Anyone has access to these records for the cost of just $15. While your arrest and charges will still be publicly available, it will change the court disposition to state “pled not guilty, case dismissed.” Consequently, there will be no public record showing you pled guilty (or no contest) and received a deferred sentence, which sounds much worse on a criminal background check than “pled not guilty, case dismissed.”
Granted, the fact your arrest and charges are still publicly visible is a big drawback of this type of expungement. Nevertheless, partial expungements are a great stop-gap measure to take advantage of while waiting to become eligible for a full expungement.