An expungement can change your life for the better, making your criminal record disappear and giving you access to many work and housing opportunities. Additionally, an expungement could reinstate your voting rights and allow you to run for public office.
What are the Requirements for an Expungement in Oklahoma?
An attorney is not required to get an expungement, however, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) strongly suggests retaining a lawyer to complete your expungement.
If you decide to represent yourself, the court will hold you to the same standards for knowing and following the applicable law as it would an attorney.
Getting an expungement in Oklahoma is a process composed of four main requirements:
1. Qualifications for an Expungement in Oklahoma
The Constitution of Oklahoma allows the Governor to grant pardons to anyone who has been convicted of an offense, provided that a majority of the 5 members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommends the pardon.
Although a pardon is an official acknowledgement that you have turned your life around and are now a law-abiding citizen, your criminal record will remain on file, now with a note that it has been officially pardoned.
If you have received a full pardon for a conviction, you can apply to expunge that offense.
After recieving a full pardon, you can apply for an expungement of up to two felony convictions if:
(1) Neither felony was violent, as defined by Section 571 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes
(2) you have no pending charges, and
(3) The requisite amount of time has passed since your conviction(s).
At Clean Slate Lawyers, we like to make things as easy as possible. For this reason, we have an online app that can determine if you qualify for an expungement by answering a few questions.
2. Court Fees
Expunging your court record is free (i.e., a partial expungement), but expunging your arrest record (i.e., full expungement) requires a $150 processing fee. It’s important to note that OSBI accepts cashier’s checks or money orders, but not personal checks.
Additionally, there are filing fees to consider:
• approximately $150 filing fee per petition (depending on the county)
• $30 in certified mail fees to send the petition
• other fees that may vary by county
3. Expungement Petition
The next step is to submit a petition together with all the relevant paperwork to the all relevant parties. Your Petition for Expungement should state the basis for which you are eligible and exactly what relief you are seeking.
The court clerks do not have forms for full expungements. In fact, there is no form for a petition - you must draft it yourself, which is why it is so highly recommended to engage a lawyer for this.
4. Court Hearing
After you file the petition, the judge’s clerk will set a hearing date at least 30 days out from your filing date. You are required to provide notice of the hearing along with a copy of the peition to all interested parties via certified mail return receipt requested.
This is because the law allows other interested parties 30 days to file an objection to your expungement petition.
It's important to remember, even if a person qualifies for expungement, the State can object to an expungement being granted.
Additional Expungement Information
If you were arrested more than once in the same county, you can request to expunge them all in the same petition. If you have records in more than one county, you must file separately for each one.
You can apply for an expungement yourself, but the process requires specific paperwork and steps (for which there are no forms available at county clerks' offices).