So, you’ve been arrested and convicted of a crime, but you’ve done your time and even gotten an expungement — or wiping your record clean of said criminal charges. But what does that mean for you going forward?
Expungements can make life easier for you in many ways. Here’s a breakdown of what an expungement means for you.
Who can see my record after an expungement?
Typically, employers, landlords and others in the private sector who run a background check will not be able to see any record of an arrest after an expungement. This is not limited to the records provided by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s background reports. An expungement should also remove your arrest record from FBI records.
This means that you can answer “no” when asked if you have a criminal record, although there are a few exceptions. You cannot be denied housing or a job if your record has been expunged.
But law enforcement will still be able to view your arrest record, even if it was expunged. How does that impact you? Your record could be brought up if you’re accused of another crime or if you ever testify in court. Also, a federal background check for federal employment or immigration issues could include the record that has been expunged.
Who qualifies for expungement in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, you could qualify for expungement under the following circumstances:
- You’ve been acquitted.
- Your conviction was reversed by an appeals court.
- DNA evidence exonerated you.
- The governor pardoned you.
- You were arrested, but prosecutors never filed charges against you.
- The charges were dismissed.
- You were charged with a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony offense and completed a successful deferment program — as long as you don’t have another pending charge against you and one year has passed since your conviction.
There are other circumstances in which you could be eligible for expungement. Visit the state Bureau of Investigations website for more information.
Do I need a lawyer for an expungement?
Although anyone who is eligible for an expungement can file their own paperwork, the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations strongly recommends you get an attorney to file on your behalf. There’s a lot of paperwork, legal notice and other requirements in order to successfully file an expungement. Any misstep could cost you big time.
The team at Jacqui Ford’s law firm has ample experience handling expungements in Oklahoma. Before you decide to pursue an expungement of your record, contact Jacqui Ford’s office for help.