A criminal record can loom over one’s life – often casting a dark shadow that can limit opportunities along with causing a continual stigma. The attorneys of Fry & Elder understand the predicament that a criminal conviction can bring to one’s life, but there are options to move forward and wipe the past clean so to speak.
On May 2, 2022, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law a comprehensive process making expungement automatic for all otherwise eligible misdemeanors and a range of non-conviction records.
As the Collateral Consequences Resources Center said, “Oklahoma thus becomes the tenth state to join the bipartisan trend toward broadening the availability of record clearing to people with convictions, without requiring them to file a petition and go to court for relief.”
What this means is that individuals with a misdemeanor conviction can have the opportunity to expunge or seal their benefits.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is a legal process that allows an individual to have certain criminal records sealed or destroyed which effectively removes them from public view. The overarching goal of expungement is to give individuals a second chance to move forward with a clean slate.
Some of the more commonly expunged misdemeanors include traffic violations, petty drug offenses, DUI, petty theft, and incidents that disturb the peace.
What Are the Benefits of Expunging a Misdemeanor in Oklahoma?
There benefits of expungement or having your record sealed from misdemeanor charges are numerous. These include:
Employment Opportunities: Having a misdemeanor on your record can often create difficult barriers to employment, particularly within certain professional industries that perform thorough background checks.
Housing: Similarly, many landlords also conduct background checks on prospective tenants. The chances of finding suitable housing can increase exponentially with an expunged record.
Education: Although not always, it is possible that a higher educational institution could deny admission to individuals due to a criminal record. A sealed record is sometimes the key to opening the door to pursuing an education.
What Are the Necessary Steps to Take to Expunge a Misdemeanor in Oklahoma?
The first and most crucial step in the process is to consult with an attorney who is experienced in criminal record expungement. The attorney will be able to assess your eligibility and help navigate you through the process.
Another big step in the process involves filing a petition in the District Court where you were originally charged. Your petition will inform the court that you are eligible for expungement and that you wish to fully expunge and seal your misdemeanor charges.
Your attorney will help you gather documentation and petition the court and make a compelling case as to why your record should be expunged.
Why Experience the Fry & Elder Difference
The Fry & Elder name has been synonymous with Oklahoma legal excellence since 1932. Our team of attorneys are well-versed in the expungement process, and we have successfully defended and fought for our clients for decades.
Our commitment to excellence has not gone unnoticed. The firm has been named to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms List every year since 2014. Preparation and the desire to give our clients the best representation possible are the motivating factors that enable us to be better informed and prepared than other attorneys. Contact Fry & Elder today to set up a personal consultation.