New Year’s Day means putting the old year behind you. The past is past. The new year is in front of you and full of possibilities. Unless you have a criminal record holding you back from getting a good job, finding a decent place to live or obtaining a loan.
If you are living with the effects of an old arrest or conviction, 2023 could be the year you get it expunged to give yourself a fresh start. The expungement process in Oklahoma can be complicated, but if you are approved, the court will seal parts or all of your record. It won’t show up on background checks anymore.
To be eligible for expungement, one of several things must be true of your criminal record. Examples include:
- You were acquitted.
- You were convicted, but the conviction was reversed on appeal.
- Your conviction was later disproven by DNA evidence.
- The governor granted you a full pardon.
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor, sentenced to a fine of less than $501 with no jail time or suspended sentence and paid off the fine. You have not been convicted of a felony and have no charges pending.
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor, served your sentence and have not been convicted of a felony. Five years have passed since completing your sentence and you have no charges pending.
An attorney who regularly helps clients get their records expunged can go over your record with you and explain if you might be eligible. If you are, the process starts with filing a petition in the court in the county where you were arrested or convicted. The court will schedule a hearing before a judge, who will ask you questions and decide whether to grant you an expungement.