On November 1, 2012 a large group of people suddenly become eligible to have their criminal records expunged. Though many of them probably do not even know it.
Prior to November 1, 2012, to be eligible for an expungement usually meant a person had received a deferred or continued sentence for a period of less than a year. Technically not all receiving these “expungeable deferreds” were eligible, but a majority were. On November 1, 2012 this category of eligibility was eliminated by the legislature. Now almost anybody receiving a deferred sentence on a misdemeanor could have that charge expunged once two (2) years had passed since their probation was successfully completed. This is good news and bad news.
It is bad news for anybody wanting to quickly put the embarrassment of a misdemeanor behind them as quickly as possible. Now people must live with their mistakes for at least two years after they have served their probation time.
It is good news for anybody in the past who received deferred sentences in the past and have never been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. If you do not have a conviction or pending charges but have a deferred sentence hanging around in your past then you are eligible as long as that deferred was successfully completed at least two (2) years ago. As of this writing that means anybody whose deferred sentence ended on or before February 25, 2011 is eligible to have their record expunged (assuming the person has no convictions or pending charges).
After November 1, 2012 the legislature provided even better news for those with Felony deferred sentences. Previously, these were nearly impossible to expunge without a pardon and even after receiving a pardon that did not always work. Now anybody who has successfully completed a deferred sentence on a non-violent felony (see my previous post for that list), has no convictions or pending charges, and ten (10) years have passed since the deferred sentence ended can petition the court for a expungement of his or her records. As of this writing that means anybody whose felony deferred ended on or before February 25, 2003 (assuming again the person has no convictions or pending charges).
The most interesting addition to the expungement statute would have to be the provision for misdemeanor convictions. Now those with a single misdemeanor conviction from at least ten (10) years ago can petition the court for expungement. The person cannot have any other convictions and no charges can be pending against the person. It is unclear whether the ten years begins running from the time of conviction or the completion of the sentence.
In closing, anybody with a deferred sentence on a misdemeanor or a felony, or who has a single misdemeanor conviction, would be wise to contact an attorney at this office for a free consultation regarding expunging their criminal records. Once eligibility has been determined, the process takes around 45-55 days and can be easily completed in any County in Oklahoma.