Do I need a lawyer to apply for an expungement in Oklahoma?
Looking to clear your arrest record in the state of Oklahoma? An expungement may be your best option. The expungement process allows a person convicted of certain crimes to petition the court to have the conviction removed from his or her record. If granted, the court will move forward as though the conviction never took place.
Only certain convictions and certain situations allow for expungement, and the process can be complicated. That’s why securing a dedicated and experienced legal team to help you through the expungement is so important.
Do I need a lawyer for the expungement process?
The short answer is yes.
While it’s not required in Oklahoma to have an attorney for expungement, the process can sometimes seem overwhelming. Hiring an attorney to guide you through the steps will make the process smoother. The petition you’ll file with the Court needs to properly filed with the best argument for your case, and you’ll need to follow all Court rules and procedures to ensure that your time and money are well-spent on this process.
Your petition must be very specific to your case, including many pieces of information for the Judge to review before he or she decides whether to grant your expungement.
You’ll want to convince the Judge of these important points:
- That you qualify for an expungement;
- That you have remorse for the incident/conviction;
- That you have been a law-abiding citizen since the incident;
- That the expungement will grant you relief (in regards to job opportunities, education, housing, etc.);
- And that the benefits of the above relief outweighs the need for the public to know about your incident/conviction.
Having a good attorney by your side for this petition and this process will help you convince the judge that you are qualified for and deserving of a clean slate.
How do I know if I qualify for expungement?
In order to file a petition for expungement, you must make sure you qualify to begin with. Crimes committed by juveniles usually qualify for expungement, for example. There are other reasons, as well, that your case could qualify.
Here are a few of the most common ones:
- You were acquitted;
- The case was dismissed;
- You were arrested, but the charges were dropped;
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor;
- You completed your sentence for a minor crime you plead guilty to.
There are many other reasons you might qualify for expungement. Be sure to do all of your research before filing a petition with the court.
What are the steps of the expungement process?
So perhaps you’ve determined that you qualify for expungement, but what does the expungement process look like?
- First, you need to make sure you qualify for expungement (more information below).
- Then, you’ll need to write a petition and file it with the Court district where your indictment occurred. (The petition must be drafted for your particular case. That’s why it’s so helpful to have an expungement attorney working with you through this process.)
- The Court will set a hearing within 30 days of your petition being filed.
- All agencies involved in your original charges must be notified of this hearing in writing.
- At your hearing, the Judge will decide whether or not you will be granted an expungement.
The cost for an expungement may vary depending on the district where petition. Here are the approximate costs for Oklahoma:
- Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) Criminal History Report: $15.00
- OSBI Processing Fee: $150.00
- Approximate Court Costs: $175.00
- Petition Fee: $30.00
(It’s important to consider attorney fees, as well, although many attorneys throughout Oklahoma charge very affordable flat rates.)
Get the Process Started
At Jacqui Ford Law, we have an experienced legal team who have helped many clients through their expungement process. If you or someone you love is interested in getting a conviction expunged from their record, contact us today for your free consultation.