Law helps residents clean up their criminal records

Criminal defense attorney David Slane discusses expungement process.
by Paula Burkes Published: February 13, 2013
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Q&A with David Slane

Law allows people to clear

their record of some mistakes

Q: Since Nov. 1, it's easier for a person to clean up his criminal record through a procedure called expungement. How does the process work?

A: A person files a request with the court to have his records expunged. This involves two things: It erases the arrest record and seals the court records. Currently, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation maintains a record when you're arrested in Oklahoma. So, basically, this seals and erases both the arrest and the probationary term of the charge.

Q: Can anyone with a record have their slates wiped clean?

A: No. Expungements are allowed only under certain circumstance. Typically, if a person were found not guilty by a jury, or if DNA cleared them from a crime, or if they were pardoned, or if the case was dismissed within one year of the arrest, then they are eligible for an expungement.

Now the law has been loosened to allow a person with a misdemeanor who has received a “deferred adjudication,” meaning two years probation without a conviction, to have their records expunged after two years. It also allows for nonviolent felonies to be expunged after 10 years. And it allows for misdemeanor convictions to be expunged after 10 years so long as the person hasn't gotten in any more trouble.

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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