Even if you have made a mistake in your past, there are ways to clean up your record. An expungement offers convicted citizens the opportunity to make that conviction go away, clearing the path for better job opportunities, more housing options, and a better future.
Many people with convictions do not even know that they are eligible for expungement, but the court process is not always easy to navigate. That’s where our team at Jacqui Ford Law comes in. Read more to learn about the expungement process and how we can help you obtain one.
What is expungement?
And how is it different from a pardon?
Oftentimes during or after court proceedings, people throw around the term “expungement.” But what does it mean to get a conviction expunged?
Having a criminal conviction “expunged” from your record means that, from that point forward, the court will act as if the conviction never happened. The conviction will be removed from the public view. (Law enforcement may still be able to access your record, however.)
An expungement is different from a legal pardon in that a pardon can be ordered by a public official, “forgiving” the convicted person of their act. In contrast, an expungement is ordered by a judge and the conviction instead disappears, so to speak, from the court system.
Benefits of getting expungement
As you probably know, convictions can provide barriers to citizens both inside and outside the prison system. A conviction on your record can be a problem with any of the following:
- Social life
- Public benefits/welfare
- Disability income
But having your conviction expunged from your record can help remove some of these barriers, gaining more access to job and schooling opportunities, as well as more places to live, and more safety measures to fall back on.
How to qualify for expungement
While expungements are possible for many different types of convictions, it can be difficult to actually obtain one. Having a hard-working attorney team is critical, as is ensuring that you qualify for expungement. Expungements may be granted under the following circumstances:
- You were arrested, but the charges were dropped;
- The case was dismissed;
- You were found innocent;
- You were pardoned;
- You were under 18 when the crime was committed;
- You completed your sentence for a minor crime you plead guilty to;
- You completed probation or had a delayed sentence;
- Someone who stole your identity committed the crime;
- You were a victim of human trafficking; etc.
If you were convicted of a violent felony, you do not qualify to have your conviction expunged in the state of Oklahoma (if you were convicted of a NON-violent felony, you may still be eligible).
These types of cases can be lengthy and costly, as you organize documentation and a petition, take part in the hearing, and wait for a ruling. While prices may vary by district, Oklahoma cases typically include the following fees:
- OSBI Criminal History Report: $15.00
- OSBI Processing Fee: $150.00
- Approximate Court Costs: $175.00
- Petition Fee: $30.00
If you’ve determined that you or someone you love is eligible for expungement, you should contact an expungement attorney as soon as possible. Having an experienced and driven expungement attorney who wants to help you clear your record is an important asset in a case like this. Jacqui Ford and her team are ready to fight for you, to prove you have continued your life as a law-abiding citizen, and that you deserve this conviction expunged from your record.